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Dennis Mull is new Unicoi County Veteran Service Officer

Erwin Record Photo by Ty Butler • Unicoi County Veteran Service Officer Dennis Mull, left, is shown with County Mayor Garland “Bubba” Evely, right, who recommended Mull about the job assisting local veterans.

By Ty Butler

After years of parachuting from military aircrafts and responding to counter-terrorist missions, Dennis Mull will support servicemen on the opposite side of combat lines starting a new job this month as the Unicoi County Veteran Service Officer.

“I’ve always had a compulsion to help. I feel like it’s my role to help others, especially veterans,” said Mull.

As Unicoi County’s Veteran Service Officer, Mull is tasked with securing claims and other advantageous benefits for fellow veterans in the area. Having served 23 years in the U.S. Army himself, Mull believes his experiences will help launch this new career phase.

“You can be sympathetic to a person, meaning that you feel sorry for them. On the flip side, you can be empathic toward someone if you’ve experienced the same thing” said Mull. “With these guys (veterans), I can be empathetic.”

Mull’s track record of helping others is well documented. After a hurricane hit the city of Rock Port, Texas, Mull and a team of responders volunteered to help with cleanup and ultimately worked alongside other agencies to provide some relief.

Mull has also secured claims for the toughest of cases — a veteran in Unicoi County finally obtained benefits nearly 40 years after surviving a military plane incident. According to Mull, the man’s only evidence of being inside the plane was a newspaper clipping from 1971.

Mull eventually found a path for the veteran to obtain services for the remainder of his life.

“My greatest skill set is teaching,” Mull said. “In any job I’ve ever had, I always end up in a teaching role.”

He knows firsthand what other veterans have experienced.

“I know what they’ve been through and I know the issues they’re dealing with psychologically and physically,” he added. “I think my experiences give me an insight into what they’re needing.”

Mull said that he plans to open a mobile food bank for veterans in Unicoi County and has reached out to Second Harvest to gain traction on the project. He noted that other plans of veteran outreach are on the horizons, but he will need to finalize the details to further those propositions.