Veterans navigator can help with a variety of veterans’ needs.

May 23, 2019

Tyler Haner

Veterans navigator can help with a variety of veterans’ needs.

#MentalHealthMonth #MasonCountyNews.

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief

LUDINGTON — Local veterans now have an additional person to help them navigate federal, state and local resources including housing, mental health, employment and transportation services.

West Michigan Community Mental Health recently hired Tyler Haner to serve as a veterans navigator. Haner is a U.S. Army veteran who served with Bravo Troop First Squadron of the 11th Armored Calvary Regiment. He was injured stateside during a training exercise, requiring him to undergo several surgeries. He continued to serve, however and upon discharged, joined the Michigan National Guard. A single father of two preschool-aged children, he is currently inactive so he can concentrate on being a dad.

As the WMCM veterans navigator, Haner serves veterans in Mason, Lake, and Oceana counties. Much of his job is to help veterans with Veterans Administration (VA) paperwork. “My job is to make it easier for them,” he said. “If they are having trouble with their VA claim, process or documentation, I can assist.”

Haner said a lot of older veterans have trouble locating their military documentation, known as a DD214 (or NGB22 for those who served in the National Guard). “I can help find this documentation so they can utilize the benefits that are available to them,” he said.

Though the navigator position is a service of community mental health, Haner is available to serve a variety of veterans’ needs. “There are many veterans who deal with homelessness, hunger, or need help with their bills, any of these issues are issues that you can run into as a human being. If you’re a veteran, my job is to assist them. There are so many state and federal programs that are open and available to veterans that many people are unaware of. There are so many different avenues veterans can take.”

Recently, Mason County created a Veterans Affairs Service Office (read story here) and hired Jim Wincek to serve in that role.

“That position is directly affiliated with the VA, we’re not,” Haner said. “I will be working with Jim to assure that we can find the best way to serve veterans. The more resources, the better.”

The veterans navigator services are free. “You don’t have to have a certain income level or a certain type of health care to use these services,” Haner said, adding that the position was created through a grant.

While the veterans navigator position is new to this area, it has existed for several years with other Michigan community mental health systems. “I have the benefit of working with my counterparts at other community health systems throughout the state and tapping into their knowledge and experience,” he said.

Haner can be reached at 231-845-6294 (office) or 231-239-1178 (mobile) or

This story is copyrighted © 2019, all rights reserved by Media Group 31, LLC, PO Box 21, Scottville, MI 49454. No portion of this story or images may be reproduced in any way, including print or broadcast, without expressed written consent.

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