New veterans officer will serve county
Tommy Huggins was appointed to the position of Clay County Veterans Service Officer on July 1. Clay County Judge Gary Howell appointed Huggins to the position upon the retirement of former service officer Pharis Edwards.
"I feel he's qualified to do the job," Howell said of Huggins. "He's a military man. He knows the ins and outs of the military."
Huggins has a total of 38 years of military service. He began his time served with two years of active duty, including a one-year tour in Vietnam from 1967-68. From there, Huggins returned home to Rector, where he remained a member of the Army National Guard for 14 years. Huggins spent the following 22 years in the Active Guard Reserve. During that time, Huggins spent 12 years working out of the armory in Piggott as well as five years each in the armories in Rector and Jonesboro before retiring earlier this year.
In his new role, Huggins handles many of the same tasks and responsibilities he has for the past several years in his role in the National Guard.
"Mainly, I assist the veterans in any problems they have to the best of my knowledge," Huggins said. "That's pretty much the same thing I was doing in the Guard. Veterans come to me and we fill out the paperwork that applies to their situation. There are different forms for different claims, so people come to me and I help them find the right paperwork for what they need. Medical forms are probably the most common that I see."
Huggins splits his time between the three courthouses in the county. He is at Rector (city hall) from 8 a.m. until noon on Monday. On Wednesday, he is at Piggott from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. Huggins is at Corning on Thursday from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. Huggins' work extends beyond his office hours, though.
"If a veteran has a need, he can call me and we'll work out something to get him taken care of," Huggins said. "If they're not able to come to the office, I'll make arrangements to go to their house and help them out."
A 1965 graduate of Rector High School, Huggins is a lifelong resident of Clay County.
"This is where I'm from," Huggins said. "These are the people that I know and I want to do the best I can for each and every one of them."
In his spare time, Huggins enjoys being outdoors. He owns livestock, including registered Brangus cows. He also enjoys fishing.