Livingston County Veterans Services Team
Mary Durst - Director
Mary is the Director of Veterans
Services and a Veteran of the Coast Guard.
During her Coast Guard tenure she was a mechanic on the HH-65 helicopter
and Flight Mechanic/Crewmember while flying.
She holds a Masters in Management and a Bachelor’s in Healthcare
Administration. As a Veteran who has
gone through the VA system herself, she understands the complexity and
sometimes frustration, of dealing with government paperwork. Her goal is to make sure all Veterans who
come into the office feel welcomed, receive quality services promptly and
reduce the stress that accompanies dealing with a complex system. She is thrilled to be leading new and exciting
projects with an AMAZING team that will add value to the office and allow us to
reach more veterans in the community.
Mary is not working on Veteran ventures, she is a self-described
“homebody”. She enjoys kayaking and hiking. She also enjoys interior design and
spending time working on projects at home with her husband, an Air Force
Veteran, her daughter, two dogs and a very noisy and entertaining
Dena Daher - Veterans Benefits Counselor
Dena is one of our Veterans
Services Counselors. She brings with her
18 years’ experience of case management and holds a Master of Social Work and a
Master of Science in Health Administration.
Dena grew up in a family of Veterans as her grandfather, uncles,
brothers and husband are all veterans.
She has known since she was a child that helping Veterans was what she
wanted to do when she grew up. She truly
cares about the well-being of the Veterans in Livingston County and her
enthusiasm is evident in her everyday attitude.
You will be hard pressed to visit us on a day when Dena is not smiling. She is excited for this opportunity and can’t
wait to see what great things we can accomplish.
Dena is not working or volunteering at the VA or the local Veteran home, she loves
to spend time with her husband, a Navy Veteran, son and daughter. She has a fierce love for St. Bernard dogs
and plans to soon add one to her family.
April Townsend - Veterans Benefits Counselor
April is our latest addition to
the office team and some may recognize her. She
is coming to us from OLHSA, which is right down the hall from Veterans Services
and an organization we work with closely. April also has close ties with the Veteran community as her grandfather and father are both veterans. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services with a concentration
on case management, public administration and psychology. She has spent the last two years as a case
manager working exclusively with homeless Veterans through the Supportive
Services for Veterans Families (SSVF).
She will be bringing with her a wealth of knowledge and resources that
will directly help the veterans that come into our office.
When April isn’t helping our
Veterans she enjoys spending time with friends and family, reading, kayaking
and other outdoor activities.
Dennis Bieliskis - Veterans Services Officer
Dennis is an Army Veteran that comes
to us as a volunteer from the Vietnam Veterans of America. While he is only here temporarily, he will
always be part of our Veterans Services family.
He is a retired Detroit Police Officer and his dry sense of humor and
ongoing feud with the Kurig machine always has us laughing. He has a wealth of knowledge that he freely
shares with us to help continually improve our service to Veterans. We value him more than he knows and will keep
him as long as he is willing to stay.
he is not being our office mentor he enjoys spending time with his wife, five grandkids
and one great-grandchild. He also enjoys
working on his vehicles and is especially proud of his ’63 and ’67 Ford
Fairlanes, ’49 Ford Business Coupe and ’47 Willys Jeep.
Kelly Johnson - Administrative Specialist
Kelly is our
Administrative Specialist and an all-around administrative ninja. She is known in the office for her ability to
remain levelheaded and resourceful no matter the situation. This may be attributed to the fact that she
came to us from the University of Michigan Health System and brings 20 years of
medical and administrative experience with her; part of which was working in
emergency surgery. Kelly comes from a
family of Veterans as her grandfather and father are Army Veterans.
In Kelly’s off time she is a
self-proclaimed, “sports mom” spending a majority of her time acting a
chauffeur and cheerleader to her three sons in their various sports. When she is not acting as a chauffeur and cheerleader she enjoys golfing
and watching NCIS with her husband.
Jon Hall - Driver
Jon is one of our two part-time
drivers. He has an impressive resume,
but perhaps the most impressive is his patience as illustrated by his eight
years as a school bus driver. He is
known in the office for his friendly demeanor, willingness to help and uncanny ability to be
able to be in two places at once. He also has a Bachelor’s of Arts in
Management and Organizational Development.
We are so glad to have him as part of our team and so are the Veterans
as we often receive compliments about him.
When Jon isn't busy juggling transportation schedules he enjoys playing his guitar, eating chocolate chip cookies, watching movies and spending time with his wife.
Thomas Sidelko - Driver
Thomas is an Air Force Veteran and newest addition to the team. If you utilize our transportation, you may see him riding along with Jon learning the ropes (and hopefully that little trick of being in two places at once). Thomas is highly qualified as he has spent the last 15 years working as a personal aide and driver to an individual with Cerebral Palsy. His sweet demeanor and helpfulness will be sure to win you over. We are excited to have him on board and look forward to working with him.