Marine Corps veteran appointed as new county commissioner
Replacing Mel Pitzen, who recently retired from the Marshall County Veterans Affairs Commission after serving for 11 years, won’t be an easy task, but new appointee Julie Miller is excited for the opportunity to serve her fellow veterans locally.
Tom Lamb, who was already a commissioner, will move into the role of chairman, and Miller will serve out the remaining two years of Pitzen’s three-year term. Marshall County Veterans Affairs Director Kevin Huseboe said Pitzen did an “awesome job” during his time as chairman of the commission.
“He’s a great person. He’s a Korean War veteran and a great individual. I’ve known Mel for quite a few years, but he just wanted to have a little time for himself. He was worried, if he stepped down, if somebody would be able to fill the shoes,” Huseboe said. “To qualify for (the position), you have to be a veteran, and Julie does qualify for that.”
Miller, who served in the Marines from 1980 to 1984 on active duty, and then in the Army National Guard reserves from 1985 to 1987, said being an advocate for veterans is important to her as a result of her military background. The VA reached out to Miller to interview her for the position and decided she was a great fit for the job.
“Being a representative for veterans and their needs and being a voice for them is important to me.”
— Julie Miller
“Being a representative for veterans and their needs and being a voice for them is important to me,” Miller said. “I volunteered out at the (Iowa Veterans Home) for over a decade. My father and my father-in-law lived there. I’m just a veteran advocate, for sure.”
Huseboe said the state had been looking to diversify commissioner roles and get more female veterans involved in these types of organizations.
“There’s 99 counties, and there are 99 veteran service officers. So they’re all steering toward trying to get more female officers in as commissioners and looking toward the future and looking for people who are younger to take it toward the future,” Huseboe said.
Lamb and the other commissioner, Bob Grimes, are both Vietnam veterans. Miller, having served in the 1980s, was between Vietnam and Desert Storm, and it allows her to bring a younger perspective onto the commission.
A commissioner’s role is to oversee expenditures at the VA office every month, and they are also responsible for directing the VA in their endeavors. Husboe says the VA utilizes any resources the commission may have available, and if he needs anything during the month, one of the commissioners is just a phone call away.
Miller will serve for the next two years, and at the end of 2023, she could then potentially be reappointed for a full three-year term.
Contact Susanna Meyer at 641-753-6611 or