Ron Tocci, currently Director of the Westchester County Veterans Service Agency (VSA), joined us for lunch at our February 9th meeting at the Larchmont Yacht Club.  Ron is a lifelong New Rochelle resident who served 20 years as our district's state assemblyman.
Ron also served in the U.S. Army as a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division from 1966-68.  While in the State Assembly, he chaired the Assembly Committee on Veterans Affairs where he helped pass laws which make it easier for veterans recently separated from service to find employment and which provide tuition assistance to individuals who commit to service in the National Guard. He also secured the funding to build five new nursing homes for veterans in New York.

Rotary member, and County Executive, George Latimer introduced Ron to the audience. Ron began his talk by stating that currently, the number of U.S. military personnel are the lowest, per capita, since World War II. He continued by saying Westchester has one of the best VSAs in the country. It was able to bring back $136 million from the federal government to Westchester's veterans in 2023.

The VSA acts as an advocate for veterans when they deal with the Dept of Veterans Affairs (VA). It assists eligible veterans, dependents and survivors in filing for benefits, accessing resources, obtaining counseling and connecting with veteran organizations and advocates. Its mission is to take care of those who take care of us.

Ron told a few stories about the cases which he and his office have handled. His key points about the VA were: 1) The bureaucracy is so big that many times, the personnel doesn't fully understand what they're doing and 2) Navigating the VA bureaucracy is a big challenge for the typical veteran, especially if he/she is not computer literate.

The VSA works year-round to ensure that all veterans and their dependents receive the maximum benefits from the VA and other agencies at all levels of government.  Its contact information is: website:; phone: (914) 813-5145 and address: 10 County Center Road, Suite 204, White Plains, NY 10607.