N.C. Director of Veteran Affairs to visit High Country

WEST JEFFERSON — Mr. Ilario G. Pantano, Director of North Carolina Veterans Affairs, will visit Ashe County on Tuesday to discuss his mission to make North Carolina the most veteran friendly state in America.

All High Country veterans and family members are invited to attend and to come prepared to ask questions. The trip will be his first visit to the region and is intended to also serve as a catalyst for the formation of an Ashe County Veterans Coalition between all county Veteran Service Organizations.

Pantano was a Marine sniper/scout leader during the 1991 Gulf War and later in support of UN peace-keeping operations in the ex-Yugolsavia. After his enlisted service, he earned a degree in business and finance and worked in the financial sector for Goldman Sachs. After losing many co-workers in the 9/11 collapse of the World Trade Center Towers, he rejoined the Marines and led a platoon of infantry Marines in the first fight for Falluja, Iraq in 2004.

The event, sponsored by the New River Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America, will be held at the Ashe County Arts Council, 303 School Avenue in West Jefferson on Tuesday, July 2.

A “meet and greet” will take place starting at 6:30 p.m. and the official program will begin at 7 p.m. Light refreshments will be available.

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