The sun is still hours from rising when the first veterans arrive at the Killeen Heights Vet Center to line up for help in filing disability claims.
First in line is Elvin Puett, a 63-year-old Army veteran who grabbed his spot at 4 a.m. A week earlier he didn’t arrive until 5:30 a.m. and missed out on meeting with Willie Browning, a volunteer veterans service officer who is known throughout the region for doggedly pursuing veterans’ claims with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Behind Puett is Diana Proffitt, another 63-year-old Army veteran from Copperas Cove.
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Jeremy Schwartz has covered military and veterans issues since 2009 and has extensively covered the backlog of Department of Veterans Affairs disability claims in Central Texas. His 2012 story on toll authorities ignoring state law led to the Texas Department of Transportation granting free tollway passage to disabled veterans.