County appoints new veterans’ services officer

Navy veteran and Rifle High School grad David Pruett takes the reins

PRESS RELEASE
July 14, 2020

Garfield County has appointed David Pruett as new veterans’ services officer for a two-year term that began on July 13, 2020. A request for qualifications yielded five interested individuals, of which Pruett was determined to be the best fit for the role.

An honorably discharged Navy veteran (Navy Special Warfare), Pruett was active duty for almost five years before injuries ended his military career prematurely. He works as an appraiser in his hometown of Rifle and has volunteered in the past as a firefighter for the Rifle Fire Protection District, ski patrol at Sunlight Mountain Resort and Garfield County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue.

A Colorado native, Pruett has lived in Garfield County since 1973 and received his degree in criminal justice from Colorado Mesa University (then Mesa State College).

“You’re a longtime resident of Garfield County and exactly what we need for this position,” said Commissioner Tom Jankovsky. “Thank you for applying and I’m going to be very happy voting ‘yes’ on this resolution.”

“We have a lot of veterans that are in need of services who will be coming to you,” added Commissioner John Martin. “There’s a lot of paperwork you’ll need to dig out of the woodwork.”

“I’m excited to have the chance to work with veterans here in Garfield County,” Pruett replied. “I’m very familiar with paperwork, working as an appraiser, and I have the papercuts to show for it.”

He’s long thought about the position and the opportunity was finally available at the right time in his life. Pruett’s old appraiser office in Rifle was a popular spot for local veterans to visit and he enjoyed talking to them about life and service.

“I’d chat with them and learn so much from each of them about their service, both tactically and historically, and I also learned a lot about their frustrations and struggles to connect with needed services,” he said. “My primary focus is on the veterans and communication is key; there are so many veterans in our area and I want them to know that I’m on their side. I’ll do my best to take care of them and their families, and for anyone who may be struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts, remember that we’re all in this together, so let’s stick together.”

A veterans’ services officer must be a U.S. citizen, resident of Colorado and a military veteran who has been honorably discharged from the military or is on inactive duty. The role assists Garfield County veterans, surviving spouses, administrators, executors, guardians, heirs of veterans with filing benefit claims; advisement on available benefits; assistance with application processes; transportation to appointments; maintaining records and files; and reports to the Board of County Commissioners quarterly.

Pruett’s hire is as an independent contractor; he replaces outgoing Veterans Services Officer Lisa Reed-Scott who had been at the post since Jan. 14, 2019. He’ll be working out of the offices in both Glenwood Springs (803 Colorado Avenue) and Rifle (195 West 14th Street, Building A). Contact information can be found online at garfield-county.com/veteran-services.

“David’s a former student of mine and former student body president of Rifle High School,” Commissioner Mike Samson said. “This makes me very happy.”

The resolution to approve the contract was approved by the Board of County Commissioners unanimously, 3-0.

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