Bio: Greisen, Aaron (New Veterans Service Officer - 2015)
Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon
Surnames: Greisen, Langreck, Ziegler
----Source: Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark Co., WI) 7/22/2015
Greisen, Aaron (New Veterans Service Officer - 2015)
Clark County Veterans Service Officer Aaron Greisen reviews information with benefits specialist Marcia Ziegler Wednesday in the office located in the Clark County Courthouse. (Photo by Todd Schmidt/Clark County Press)
By Todd Schmidt
The Clark County Veterans Service Office (CVSO) has a new leader, with the selection of Aaron Greisen, 33, of Greenwood. Greisen replaces former Veterans Service Officer (VSO) Clinton Langreck, who resigned to take the Clark County personnel manager position.
Greisen passed his Civil Service exam June 12. He was officially interviewed for the VSO position June 26 and was hired the same day. His first day on the job was June 29.
Greisen graduated from Greenwood High School in 2000. He took agriculture education classes at UW-River Falls for a few years and then enlisted in the U. S. Army.
After training at Ft. Benning, Camp Shelby and Ft. Irwin, his unit was deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom III (2004-05). Greisen served in Bravo Company as a PFC/SPC infantryman.
Greisen said he was “pretty blessed” during his 11-month tour of duty. His unit was based in a fairly secure area and was mainly called on to conduct patrols, provide route clearance for convoys and perform search and seizure missions.
After his two year hitch, Greisen went to the U. S. Army Reserves as a member of the Wisconsin National Guard.
He completed his college education at UW-River Falls and was hired as agriculture education teacher at Random Lake High School from 2007 to 2011. He then worked for the Steamfitter Local 601 Madison for two years.
In 2014, his National Guard Unit was deployed to Operation Enduring Freedom and Inherent Resolve in Kuwait. Greisen worked in Operations for ASG-Kuwait as a brigade battle captain. As “M-Day” (reserve status officer), Greisen has served as platoon leader, executive officer and battalion battle captain. He is currently the adjutant (personnel) officer in the 1-128th Infantry Battalion (32nd IBCT).
“Kuwait is a true ally of ours,” Greisen said. “They offer a huge staging ground for our operations in the Middle East. There are about 12,000 troops stationed there in three different camps.”
After returning from Kuwait, Greisen participated in an Ironman Foundation fundraiser for Special Olympics. He raised $4,340 from his effort.
In 2015, Greisen decided to do mission work in Kenya. His group installed water filtration and chlorination units and did seminars on manufacturing charcoal. Greisen hopes to return to Kenya next year for another volunteer stint.
He said his diverse military and life experiences help him connect with other veterans.
“I started on the bottom of the totem pole as an infantryman,” Greisen said. “I felt a sense of service and enlisted at the age of 21, I have tremendous respect for WWII veterans. They turned the world around.”
He gets much of his inspiration from his father, who enlisted in the U. S. Navy from 1963-1966. He traveled through the Mediterranean Sea aboard the USS Mississinewa 80144 to serve in the Vietnam War.
“Many of the Vietnam Vets were drafted out of high school,” Greisen said. “They didn’t ask to see and do things like they had to do to survive in that conflict. When they came home, they had little or no support. Nowadays, veterans are welcomed with open arms.”
Greisen said Vietnam veterans did what was asked of them and they served their country honorable.
“Many of these people went on to great things in Clark County,” Greisen said. “Farming, factory work, teaching, or whatever, and raising families. Just because you weren’t a sniper or a member of the Special Forces, or there wasn’t a book or movie made of your life doesn’t mean that you didn’t do something amazing or give up a special part of your life.”
Before applying for the Clark County position, Greisen sent emails to four different CVSOs asking for information on job descriptions and duties to see if it was a job he wanted to seek. All four responded the same day, stating he should apply for the position and noting what a solid staff person he had to work with.
“I heard over and over that benefit specialist Marcia Ziegler is golden,” Greisen said. “Any veteran in Clark County who has dealt with Marcia will tell you just how amazing she is at her job. All the CVSOs told me she knows everything about the VA system. They were right. How well she knows the VA system and how it affects the different circumstance that every veteran has that walks through our door is very impressive. Clark County is very lucky to have her here.”
Greisen and Ziegler are in the process of preparing the CVSO budget for 2016. Greisen said through June, due directly to the work of Langreck and Ziegler, Clark County clients have received approximately $1.3 million in new benefits just this year.
Greisen describes himself as a personable and positive person who tries to be empathetic and understanding. He summarizes his job description as “helping veterans work their way through the VA system to access the benefits and compensation they have earned, while explaining programs and the VA system and counseling and guiding veterans on programs that are available.”
Greisen is a new member of the Greenwood American Legion. He has a goal this fall of raising $3,500 for the Paralyzed Veterans of America-Wisconsin Chapter. He is also looking for more ways to volunteer in Clark County.
Several future things on his radar include starting up a golf tournament fundraiser for veterans and setting up a full office day during the week this winter at the Clark County Rehabilitation and Living Center to make accessibility easier for veterans residing in northern Clark County.
Greisen said there is now $1,500 put in the budget each year in a lapsing fund to assist veterans with miscellaneous needs.
“We could raise some extra money by doing a golf tournament,” he said. “In certain cases government programs don’t fit. Sometimes a veteran could use a little help paying an electric bill or buying a tank of gas.”
In his spare time, Greisen enjoys being with family, traveling, movies, music, doing Ironman competitions, running in marathons, hunting, fishing, and cheering for the packers and Brewers.
Greisen looks forward to kayaking, cross country skiing and snowshoeing in Clark County. He is also preparing for his first demolition derby. “This is a bucket list item,” Greisen said. “I don’t want to win. I just want to smash something.”
He has an affinity for museums and is in the process of making a replica of a Civil War mountain howitzer cannon. He has already purchased the wooden wheels.
“So if anyone has wood-working or metal-working experience or advice, call me,” he said.
Greisen is also a Crossfit fanatic. “I would like to hear from anyone who does Crossfit in his or her garage,” he said.
The CVSO office at the Clark County Courthouse is normally open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Due to future training commitments, Greisen suggests calling ahead at 715-743-8416 or 715-743-5160 to confirm that someone will be in the office.
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