RENSSELAER — Tim Flinn, Jasper County's new Veterans Service Officer, is also a U.S. Navy veteran who has seen and done much over a 20-year-career that has taken him to many different locations around the world. 

His service has also given him insight into the blessings and possibilities available here at home. 

Flinn was born in Remington. After high school, when he said he "wasn't sure if I really wanted to go to college," he opted to enter the military in September of 1992.

He chose to enter the U.S. Navy after speaking with a recruiter.

"(A) friend joined two years before, and he enjoyed it," Flinn recalled. "So I decided to give it a shot, and it turned into a 20-year career."

Flinn was part of many outfits at many different duty stations, both here in the states and abroad. For the first 10 years, he worked as an administrator, and, for the last 10 years, he became a K9 officer with the Navy Police.

Cities and locations he was stationed at include London, Sigonella, Mayport, Bahrain (an island off the coast of Saudi Arabia), Pearl Harbor, twice in the Great Lakes and San Diego.

He was also deployed to Iraq twice.

"In Iraq I was a Forward Operating Base Kennel Master with the Army during my first tour and a Regional Kennel Master of the West Region while deployed with the Marine Corps for my second tour," he said.

For his service, Flinn received numerous medals and commendations for performing his duties and responsibilities "above and beyond of what was expected."

When asked to say what civilians don't understand about military service, Flinn said that there is a sacrifice that is made "regardless of branch."

"I'm talking about sacrifice of family, a certain way of life to live a different and more difficult one," he said. "(It means) transferring every few years, leaving friends and having to meet new ones, and that also goes for the children of the service members and what those kids sacrifice also."

"I understand that we volunteer to do this," he said. "But if we didn't have people volunteer to sign up for military service then what? Mandatory Service for everyone like other countries? Draft? It takes a special person to live this life and sacrifice themselves for others."

Flinn's current job has also given him insight into the way that the country perceives its military veterans.

"I will say that after being in my current job for a few months I have noticed how lucky we are to live in a county that supports our Vets the way we do," he said. "People are very generous when it comes to donating money to our events for veterans in need."

Flinn and his colleague, Pat Donnelly, have both said that many are still unaware that help is available for local veterans in need at the Jasper County Veterans Service Office.

Any Jasper County veterans in need of assistance are encouraged to call the office at 219-866-4901, call Flinn at 219-866-9424, or visit the office in person at Suite 102 of the Jasper County Courthouse.