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Employee Spotlight: Walt Ward Going Above and Beyond for Buncombe Veterans

We know our employees are often going above and beyond their job titles, and Veteran Services’ Walt Ward represents how it really affects the people we serve. Recently, we received a letter thanking Walt for his exemplary assistance.

Retired Army Capt. Patricia Jurgens served our country for 27 years but had issues accessing the full potential of her benefits. That’s when she contacted Veterans Services and Walt Ward went to work. “I have had many issues concerning my disability awards and pay. Even though my claims kept being denied, Mr. Ward persevered on my behalf,” exclaims Captain Jurgens. “In spite of the complications, he was always willing to spend extra time with me. He was finally successful in getting the corrections made that resulted in my receiving benefits I would have never received had it not been for his efforts.”

“Walt has definitely made a difference in my life, and I am sure other veterans have benefited greatly from his assistance,” notes Capt. Jurgens.

Walt, an Air Force veteran, previously worked for Veterans Affairs and says the extra effort is just part of his job. “Veterans were willing to put their lives on the line, if required, to protect our nation. They deserve our gratitude and our addressing their needs and disabilities arising from their service to the country,” explains Walt. “Sometimes the best we can do is to give them an honest assessment of why they are not eligible for benefits. I personally like to focus on difficult claims involving complex regulations because my VA employment background may be helpful in cutting through the regulatory red tape.”

Veterans Services Director Heath Smith knows Walt’s personal and professional experience are an asset to this team. “Walt brings an unparalleled knowledge of the VBA process with his 30 plus years working as a rating specialist and decision review officer at the VA Regional Office in Winston Salem,” says Heath. “Once again Walt’s understanding of the VA process allows him to navigate a very complex federal system to the benefit of veterans in Western NC.”

Perhaps Capt. Jurgens says it best: “He is a very kind, pleasant, and patient gentleman. It is obvious that he truly enjoys helping veterans. He deserves recognition for his many years of service and dedication.”

Thank you to Walt for all you do for veterans in our community. Buncombe County is lucky to have you.

You can contact Buncombe County’s Veterans Services at (828) 250-5726, find information online here, or email the staff at