Replacing Mel Pitzen, who recently retired from the Marshall County Veterans Commission after serving 11 years, won’t be an easy task, but new appointee Julie Miller is thrilled to have the opportunity to serve. fellow veterans locally.
Tom Lamb, who was already commissioner, will serve as chair and Miller will serve the remaining two years of Pitzen’s three-year term. Marshall County Director of Veterans Affairs Kevin Huseboe said Pitzen did a “tremendous job” during his tenure as the commission’s chairman.
“He’s a great person. He’s a Korean War veteran and a great person. I’ve known Mel for a few years, but he just wanted some time to himself. He was worried, if he quit, if anyone would be able to fill the shoes,” Huseboe said. “To qualify for (the position) you have to be a veteran, and Julie is qualified for that.”
Miller, who served in the Marines from 1980 to 1984 on active duty and then in the National Guard Reserves from 1985 to 1987, said standing up for veterans was important to her because of her military experience. The VA contacted Miller to interview her for the position and decided she was a perfect fit for the position.
“Being a representative of veterans and their needs and being a voice for them is important to me.
“Being a representative of veterans and their needs and being a voice for them is important to me,” Miller said. “I volunteered at the (Iowa Veterans Home) for over a decade. My dad and stepdad lived there. I’m just a seasoned advocate, of course.
Huseboe said the state is looking to diversify commissioner roles and involve more female veterans in these types of organizations.
“There are 99 counties and there are 99 veterans. So they’re all moving towards trying to get more female officers as commissioners and looking to the future and looking for younger people to take it to the future,” Huseboe said.
Lamb and the other commissioner, Bob Grimes, are both Vietnam veterans. Miller, having served in the 1980s, was between Vietnam and Desert Storm, and that allows him to bring a younger perspective to the commission.
A commissioner’s role is to oversee spending at the VA office each month, and they are also responsible for directing the VA in their efforts. Husboe says the VA uses whatever resources the commission has, and if he needs anything during the month, one of the commissioners is just a phone call away.
Miller will serve for the next two years, and at the end of 2023 she could then potentially be reappointed for a full three-year term.
Contact Susanna Meyer at 641-753-6611 or