JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- One local veteran's job with the city of Jacksonville is safe, but another's is now on the chopping block.
"We can't afford to lose these people that do claims," said Vietnam veteran, Anthony "Tony" D'Aleo.
The battle isn't over for local veterans fighting to defend their own. On Friday, Action News was the first to tell you about how former Marine Gunnery Sergeant Herschel Allen was about to lose his job at the city's veteran services office. The mayor's proposed budget called to cut his position and another civil service position to save the taxpayers $119,000 per year. However, to Army veteran Pete Southerland Junior, and his father who has battled cancer, Allen's worth goes far beyond money.
Herschel helped him out with his claim and it came at a time when my father's health was failing pretty significantly, and if he wouldn't have gotten in there for the medical care, there was a good chance we would have lost him," he said.
Southerland credits Allen with helping get them through the complicated process of applying for VA benefits. It’s a service he fears other vets would lose, so he and others, mounted a protest to stop job cuts by the city.
"We want to really think that our email crusade and phone crusade helped," said veteran Les Bertrand.
As this local group planned it’s next move, Action News learned that since our first report, Allen's position is now safe. The city came up with the money, but the same can't be said for 22 year Navy veteran Kimberly Bynum. The city finance committee now wants to eliminate her position as Deputy director.
"Regardless of the decisions that are made by the council, I will continue to be a proud member of Jacksonville and I will find a position to continue to serve," she said.
Bynum too has the support of the local veterans, who vow to never back down without a fight.
"We're a family. That's how we roll and I would have expected nothing less," she said.
City officials tell Action News that Bynum's work elevated Jacksonville's relationship with the Navy, among other great things she has done for the city in the past year. They also tell us that even if her position is eliminated, that they will try and find work for her within the city.