Some vets upset over long lines at local Veterans Affairs offices



OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. - Osceola County plans to respond to veterans’ complaints about long waits at the local Veteran Affairs office.

Channel 9's Nancy Alvarez found out the county doesn't have to pay for veteran services, but the cash-strapped county could soon spend even more money to help its vets.

John Rallis is a Korean War vet with a new mission on his hands.

“We put our lives up front, and we're being placed as second-class citizens. I don't like that,” Rallis said.

Rallis wants to raise awareness about problems at Osceola County's Veterans Affairs Office, where he claims some vets have to wait hours for help.

Right now, Osceola County is home to almost 17,000 veterans, but only three staff members work there, and a small office in St. Cloud's City Hall is only open limited hours.

“Some of the vets have gone to Orlando but they still end up back in Kissimmee, because there the crowd is even bigger,” Rallis said.

Orange County has 75,000 veterans and seven staff members at its VA office. Seminole County has three staff members for its 38,000 veterans.

One of the reasons behind the delay could be the 2,000 page rules and regulations book, some veterans said. 

VA services cost Osceola County about $160,000 a year.  The county may soon spend another $60,000 to hire two new employees, and there are plans to expand the St. Cloud office.  

A county spokesman said it's a wise investment.