Women’s History Month Profile | Alnita Whitt, Orange County Veterans Services

Community & Services

The Orange County Board of County Commissioners officially established the Orange County Veteran Services Office in 1945. More than 75 years later, the office continues to assist veterans, and it is being led by the first African American female to hold the position of program manager.

Alnita Whitt, a U.S. Army veteran, worked for the Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs for eight years as a service officer before relocating to Orlando in 2014 to secure a job as a veterans counselor with Orange County Veteran Services. In 2017 she received the promotion to senior counselor, and in December 2022, she was selected to fill the role of acting program manager.

“I fell into this line of work and immediately saw a serious need for these services,” she said. “In 2014 I moved here to take the interview at Orange County, but prior to applying, I researched everything I could about the region. I knew I wanted to be here and felt strongly this was going to be my job.”

The Veterans Service Office serves as the primary contact for the County for citizens to receive veteran resources and services. It assists in claiming the benefits veterans have earned, including compensation for service related injury/disease, medical care, vocational training, and financial assistance. It also assists with filing claims for benefits and appeals, performs outreach to inform citizens on VA benefits, assists with obtaining military records/medals, advocates on veterans issues at the state and national level, makes referrals to other agencies, and assists with benefit plan applications for retired military survivors.

It works with the Orange County Mayor’s Veterans Advisory Council, which is made up of military members, veterans service organizations and community partners. The Veterans Advisory Council advises Mayor Jerry L. Demings on issues of importance to military members, veterans and their families based on input from the veteran community.

Whitt works with the Advisory Council and informs them on veteran’s updates, benefits and changes to laws. She is also on the newly formed State of Florida Women’s Veterans Advisory Council, which helps create legislation for women’s veterans. Additionally, she is treasurer for the County Veterans Service Officers Association of Florida and sits on the board of the Orlando Mayor’s Veterans Advisory Council.

“This is my calling, to be able to put so much effort and energy into helping veterans get the benefits they’ve earned,” she asserted. “To dig deep and find what’s beyond what we see in front of us, to find the evidence needed to get them the benefits they deserve … that’s what we strive for with every person who walks through our doors.”

Whitt believes what is meant for her will be for her as long as she works from a place of passion and commitment. For her, it is an honor, a privilege and a humbling experience, and she is optimistic that the work that needs to get done for veterans will get done when state and local entities work together.

“Ultimately, we want to increase awareness and ensure veterans know we’re here for them,” she said. “Many are unaware they can get these benefits, so we try to connect with as many as we can. For veterans who are reading this, if you don’t know, come see us anyway. We’ll figure out if you’re eligible or not. If in doubt, seek us out.”

Contact the Citizen Resource & Outreach Division/Veteran Services Office at 407-836-8990. Veterans Advisory Council meetings are held monthly. For more, email VeteransAdvisoryCouncil@ocfl.net.

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