Better Know Your Leaders: Leslie Ross
Name: Leslie Ross
Hometown: Crystal, Minn.
Position in Stark County: Stark County Veterans Service Officer
For how long? 5½ years
When did you first move to Dickinson? October 1996
What types of challenges and opportunities has the oil boom brought to your office? Challenges are the price of progress and growth, but hidden within the challenges are the opportunities. We recognize our limitations in the delivery of services to a very diverse veteran population. We not only advocate for veterans but their families as well. We have adapted by changing old models of delivery, increased our use of technology to include a vital mobile work station because of our outreach, transferred data to a new secure web-based digital format and, through our various partnerships both locally and nationally, we continue to embrace our dynamic environment.
Other than general age groups, how do veterans of the various wars and conflicts in the 20th century and 21st century differ? How are they the same? I would never dare speak for those who have served during any conflict but, having served myself in the 20th and 21st century during two wars, our experiences, our calls to service, our motivation and our reactions are all different. Our benefits and services offered by our government are different, our collective attitudes about service and those who serve are different. Our opportunities for jobs, education, health care and acceptance are all contingent on the culture climate, government funding and a multitude of other sources. One thing holds true for all veterans, we are bonded by service, brothers and sisters in arms. We have answered our nation’s call to serve, where we were needed and in whatever capacity, to the best of our abilities. We all revere those that came before us and we are here for those that come after.
What is a common misconception about your office? The misconception is that we work for and are the Veterans Administration. We are county employees who work for the veterans of the counties we represent. The North Dakota Century Code states that each county will appoint or hire a veteran’s service officer to advocate for the veteran through application for benefits.
While your office is based in Stark County, you cover more or less the whole southwest corner of the state. What’s your favorite part of traveling for work? And your least favorite? I am under a Joint Powers agreement with Dunn, Billings and Hettinger counties. What I like about the travel is the change. Change in scenery, people, office, etc. My least favorite thing is the weather and the traffic. That can be very challenging at times.
Outside of Dickinson, what is your favorite place to eat in southwest North Dakota? When in Killdeer I like to eat at Nana Lil’s. When in New England, I like to eat at the B.A. café and I haven’t had the opportunity to eat anywhere while in Mott. I would take suggestions.