WAHOO – Dan Kauble took over as the Saunders County Veterans Services Officer in April 2021, but he informed the Saunders County Board of Supervisors last month of his plans to resign.
Kauble sent a short letter to the board, which was presented at its June 7 meeting. County Clerk Patti Lindgren said the resignation could not be voted on at that time because Kauble’s letter did not include a resignation date.
Two weeks later, Kauble gave the board notice that his last day would be July 5. Lindgren told the supervisors at the June 7 meeting that Kauble was preparing to move to Missouri to be closer to his daughter. Kauble did not respond to an email from the Wahoo Newspaper asking for his reason for resignation.
Kauble’s replacement will be William “Bill” Bonney, who joined the Nebraska Department of Veterans’ Affairs State Service Office in early 2021. After three months there, he became the State Service Office manager in a role that he said brought him to Wahoo and Saunders County often. He said he worked closely with Kauble and attended several of the Veteran of the Month events that Kauble hosted.
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“I look forward to carrying those things on,” Bonney said.
He said he decided to take the role in Saunders County because his job with the state did not allow for frequent interaction with veterans. He said working for the state is similar to being employed at a corporate level.
“You get a chance to help throughout the entire state, but you don’t get a chance to sit down one-on-one with the veterans,” Bonney said.
He said he will have two main priorities as he takes over in Saunders County. The first priority is to identify veterans that are unaware of the benefits that are available to them through the Veterans Services Office and the Nebraska Department of Veterans’ Affairs. He said he was diagnosed several years ago with cancer that could be traced to his time at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. He was unaware at the time of his diagnosis of the benefits and compensation that could be provided to him through the VA.
“I didn’t understand that there’s a lane out there for veterans that are suffering from service-connected disabilities to be cared for,” Bonney said.
His second priority is to promote the VA, which he said has improved greatly since the early 2000s. But he said many veterans don’t have trust that the VA will offer care to them.
“So I need to champion the VA and then provide as much information as I can to find those veterans that may not be stepping out and asking for assistance,” Bonney said.
Bonney joined the Marine Corps in 1983 and served for 23 years in 31 different countries. He worked under Gen. James Mattis, who later became the Secretary of Defense under Presidents Obama and Trump.
“As he moved forces forward, he understood the importance of taking care of those that were left behind,” Bonney said. “So that became a full-time job for me.”
He said in recent years, he has offered outreach to veterans in the Winnebago and Omaha tribes in Thurston County. He also said he spent time returning wounded and killed servicemen to their families.
“I’ve worked with nonprofits, and I traveled this country to make sure that resources were available to those family members,” he said. “So my passion really started there.”
He said there are currently about 1,500 identified veterans in Saunders County, but he estimates that there are a few hundred that have not been identified.
“That’s up to me to get out and do those outreach events and go to towns and have coffee, whether it be Valparaiso or Ashland or Ceresco,” Bonney said.
Bonney will begin his role as the Saunders County Veterans Services Officer on July 5.
Sam Crisler is a reporter for the Wahoo Newspaper. Reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.