Veteran of the Week – Harry Moon retires from Shelby County Veterans Affairs

First Sgt. (Ret.) Harry Moon retired as VSO from the Shelby County VA after 14 years on Dec. 14. (Contributed)

First Sgt. (Ret.) Harry Moon retired as VSO from the Shelby County VA after 14 years on Dec. 14. (Contributed)

By PHOEBE DONALD ROBINSON / Community Columnist

The Veterans Service Officer (VSO) is the go-between the Veterans Affairs (VA) and the veteran and families.

For the last 14 years, First Sgt. (Ret.) Harry Moon, U.S. Army, has been the Shelby County VSO.

“We encourage the vet to just come in the VA door and not try and figure out the minefield of the VA,” said Moon. “We try to make it as simple as possible. You are not a number here. I am an old first sergeant, and these are my people. I have compassion for every person that comes through that door.”

Moon’s sincerity and passion is evident.

He has lived in Calera his whole life, graduating from Calera High School in 1970.

After graduation, he married wife Sheila, and joined the U.S. Army.

They have two daughters and six grandchildren.

After basic training Moon went to Vietnam as a tanker from 1971-1972.

“My combat hours were hours of pure boredom followed by minutes of pure, sheer terror,” said Moon.

Moon was on active duty with the Army from 1970-1980, and then joined the National Guard till his retirement as a first sergeant in 1998.

In December 2000, he became the VSO until his retirement Dec. 31, 2014.

“I feel it is my time to go and let a younger man work with these the vets,” said Moon. “I hired John Jones of Calera as the new VSO, a 20-year Marine corpsman. He will bring a fresh set of eyes and is a good man. There are 14,437 vets in Shelby County, one of the largest in the state. Last year we awarded away $28 million in benefits and education. The Shelby County VA is a safe place to come and talk. We owe it to every vet, old or new, a debt of gratitude and respect. Ignore your soldiers and they will go away.”

For information on the Shelby County VA, located on Highway 70 in the John Jones building in front of the Shelby County Exhibition Center, call 669-3835.

No appointment is needed, and doors open Monday-Friday 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.