AP NEWS

Wincek named county veteran services officer

May 9, 2019

Jim Wincek will be the first Mason County veterans affairs service officer, the county announced Wednesday afternoon.

Wincek, a U.S. Army veteran himself, wasn’t looking for a job.

“I had retired in July 2017 and was living a pretty happy and quiet life with my wife, Jeni, in Eden Township,” Wincek stated in a press release. “But when I learned that Mason County was planning to open a new VA office to serve our local vets, I knew I had to pursue it.”

The role was recently established by the Mason County Board of Commissioners, thanks in part to grant funds.

“We’ve been aware for some time of the needs of our veterans in Mason County,” stated Mason County Administrator Fabian Knizacky, in the release. “The County Board deserves a lot of credit for recognizing these needs and proactively pursuing state funding to support the opening of our new VA office.”

According to Knizacky, Mason County successfully applied for a grant from the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency. The grant was in the amount of $58,836 and awarded in January. Upon receipt of the grant, the board immediately began a search for a qualified person to assume the newly-created position of Mason County veterans services officer.

“We are also very pleased to announce that Jim Wincek has accepted the position,” stated Janet Andersen, chair of the county board. “Jim comes to us with (more than) 30 years of experience as a hospital executive. He knows how to start and operate a new community service organization. Our search committee unanimously felt that he was the right person at the right time.”

Wincek served in the army shortly after the conclusion of the Vietnam War, and he served within the country.

“During my service I was never at risk, never in harm’s way. Because of this, I’ve always felt that I received so much more in return from my military service than I ever gave,” Wincek stated. “During my time in the army, I served as a combat engineer and land surveyor. I learned to build roads, bridges and other infrastructure necessary to move troops and materials wherever they needed to go.

“After leaving the army, I used this knowledge and skill set throughout my career in managing many hospital construction projects. I also learned leadership skills that allowed me to advance in my professional career.”

Wincek said he has taken advantage of veterans’ benefits for his college education and to purchase two homes. He stated that he’s received much more than he gave.

“I have been extremely fortunate in my life, and I owe the United States military and the VA a debt of thanks for much of it,” Wincek stated. “I am really grateful to have this opportunity, at this time in my life, to work with other veterans to insure they receive all of the benefits that they have earned, like I did.”

The county’s VA office is located in the Lakeshore Resource Network building at 920 E. Tinkham Avenue. Initial office hours are Mondays and Wednesdays, noon to 5 p.m., and Tuesdays and Thursdays 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Other hours are available by appointment. Wincek may be reached at 843-2563 x2027. Additional information can soon be found on the Mason County website.