Susan Skrzynski, the first female director of the Mahoning County Veterans Service Commission, and Anthony Nagle, assistant director, stand in the lobby of the David Ludt Veterans Wing of Oakhill Renaissance Place, 345 Oak Hill Ave., Youngstown. The commission meets weekly at 9 a.m. Wednesdays.
By William K. Alcorn
Twenty-five-year Army veteran Susan Skrzynski is the new executive director of the Mahoning County Veterans Service Commission, the first woman to occupy the position.
Skrzynski replaces Barry Landgraver, who was executive director for nine years. He remains with the veterans service commission as a service officer. He has been with the VSC since April 2001.
As part of the management changes, the VSC board of commissioners appointed Anthony Nagle to the position of assistant executive director created in June 2003 and previously occupied by Skrzynski.
Nagle served in the Marine Corps from 2002 to 2006, including eight months in Iraq in 2005.
“It’s a great honor and a challenge as well to be chosen for this position,” Skrzynski said.
“I like to be challenged, and I love helping veterans and their families get the benefits they have earned and deserve,” she said.
Skrzynski and Nagle will continue as veterans commission service officers in addition to their administrative duties.
Veterans service officers advocate for veterans, help them and their surviving spouses submit claims for benefits, provide financial assistance and refer them to other community social- service agencies for services, she said.
Leo Connelly, a member of the VSC, said the board made the change to bring more focus on using social media and other areas to “get the word out” to veterans about benefits to which they are entitled.
Skrzynski noted the VSC is advertising on billboards around the county; producing a television commercial; plans to place ads on radio, television and in print media; and hopes to reach younger veterans through social media.
Nagle, who has been with the commission for seven years, said he has been pushing to have brochures redone and its website and Facebook page updated.
“We’ve found that a lot of veterans in the county don’t even know we exist. If they don’t know about us, how are we going to help them get the benefits to which they are entitled?” Nagle said.
The VSC also wants to get more involved in the community.
For example, Nagle said, the Mahoning County Veterans Service Commission is forming a team to participate in the Boardman Relay for Life.
Nagle, a graduate of Struthers High School, received a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Youngstown State University.
An M1A1 tank crewman who became a tank commander, Nagle did an eight-month tour in Fallujah, Iraq. While in Iraq, he was a tank gunner and participated in many extensive combat operations in Fallujah and throughout Al Anbar Province. He ended his four-year enlistment with the rank of sergeant.
His awards and decorations include the Combat Action Ribbon, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, and meritorious Mast.
Nagle and his wife, Tiffany, have two sons, Anthony and Oliver, and a daughter, Mary Catherine. They live in Struthers.
Skrzynski’s duty assignments included Panama, Alaska, Japan and Germany. She completed her career with a 15-month tour in Iraq, where she was headquarters platoon sergeant and also the operations noncommissioned officer who coordinated all construction activities in the theater of operations. Skrzynski, the unit commander’s driver on many convoys, retired as a sergeant first class Sept. 30, 2007.
Her awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal and Combat Action Badge.
Skrzynski and her son, Jake, live in Boardman.