Gig Line: Patty’s surprise

Published 10:08 pm Monday, October 25, 2021

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Monday, October 4, 2021? It was a memorable day for a very deserving individual. Days before, Katherine “Katie” McCarron, Dare County Sr. Social Work Supervisor, Health & Human Services asked Patty O’Sullivan, Dare County Veteran Service Officer (whom she supervises) to prepare a presentation for the Dare County Board of Commissioners of which she obliged. She had prepared a summary of her interactions with the veterans who had reached out to her with questions about V.A. health care, a potential disability claim, acquiring a duplicate DD-214 (a document of the United States Department of Defense provided to a military service member when they separate from active duty) and other questions she could affectively answer – or so she thought.

Seeing first-hand the good that has come from the active support the commissioners have extended to our veteran community, Patty was excited to make them even more aware of the positive results of their backing; their establishment of the Dare County Veterans Advisory Council and to discuss the work that Patty has done for the betterment of our deserving veterans and their families.

However, what Patty didn’t realize is that a huge surprise was in the works! After several items were addressed at the podium, Katie greeted the commissioners and promptly beckoned Patty to come forward but not to give a presentation rather, and much to Patty’s surprise, to be presented to all as the Dare County Employee of the Month – October 2021. So she was receiving the presentation rather than giving one!

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I was obligated to an appointment that could not be changed, so as Secretary of the DCVAC, I was unable to attend as much as I would have liked to. Fortunately, Katie had made Patty’s husband, Tony, aware of the “secret” in advance, so he was there to see her be shocked, moved and happy with her very deserved award.

It was a huge surprise to Patty and, while I wasn’t in attendance, I was able to watch the meeting on my computer. If you know Patty, and even if you don’t, consider taking the time to view it as well. Just search and view Commissioners, then click on the October 4, 2021 meeting.

Prior to Patty having assumed the position of V.S.O. in 2017, my sweet husband had worked through Rhonda Creef, our former veteran service officer who had served in that position for almost 30 years. I am and will forever be grateful for the assistance Rhonda gave Billy (a U.S. Army Vietnam veteran who passed into Heaven in 2016 as a verified result of his exposure to Agent Orange) and also to me as his widow.

When Rhonda retired, I’m the first to admit I was sad to see her leave and I wondered who would take her place. However, when I met Patty, I was confident she would do her absolute best for our vets – and she does every single day. She came across initially as professional, sincere and likeable and over time I have grown to appreciate her steadfast commitment to our vets. Fast forward to 2021 and I can assure you that in my opinion, employing Patty was one of the best hiring decisions made in Dare County.

Patty is not a stranger to veteran’s needs, concerns, disappointments, health problems and challenges. Her husband is a Vietnam veteran, having served in the Navy; her son is an Army veteran who currently serves in the Reserves; her father served in WWII in the Marines; her brother is a Vietnam veteran who also served in the USMC; her brother-in-law is an Army veteran; one of her nephews served in the Air Force and her other nephew has served in the USMC like his father. No wonder she’s all about veterans – it’s in her blood!!

These past four years I’ve been blessed to have spent considerable time with Patty at council meetings and veteran events across Dare County. I’ve witnessed repeatedly her heart’s desire to help every single veteran she can. She has an unyielding commitment to our veterans and their spouses and she goes out of her way to serve all veterans with the respect and honor they deserve. Though Patty maintains veteran confidentially, I hear compliments from the veterans I know or refer to her (through Gig Line). Our vets have expressed gratitude to me countless times for her interest in them; her thorough explanation of their potential benefits; her knowledge and her follow-up.

Patty attends all our monthly Veterans Advisory Council meetings and she works the booths we set up at Dare Day, OBX Seafood Festival, OBX Shred Fest and every event the council participates in; she’s diligent in her attention to detail, support to not only our veterans but their widows and family members and I’m proud of her. As Veteran Advisory Council secretary, I’ve heard countless expressions of gratitude from veterans that have worked with her and they are grateful for the work she has done on their behalf. I always try to remind everyone that she doesn’t and can’t make the decision to award a veteran or not, but she will do her level best to assist them in preparing and submitting the necessary and adequate paperwork to the V.A. with the never-ending hope the outcome will be good.

Currently Patty is a part time Dare County employee – she does not work for the V.A. – however, she is accredited through the V.A. (Veteran’s Administration). She asks that veterans who wish to contact her office call her office at 252-475-5604 and to please leave a detailed message and a reachable call back number with voicemail capability if at all possible so she can leave a message. It’s difficult to respond to a call if the voicemail is full. If a veteran would like to email her rather than call, her email is

Patty is quick to tell you, “I will always do my best for YOU, just like you did for me by protecting my freedom.” “Veterans hold a special place in my heart” she always says and indeed they do. It’s obvious, her position as Veteran Service Officer (V.S.O.) is not just a job, it goes way beyond that and there’s no doubt that Patty O’Sullivan is a keeper!

Until next time, be healthy, safe and happy. Love each other like crazy, forgive those who have hurt you, pray for our nation and for all our troops wherever they may be. Thank a veteran whenever you see one and pray for our America! I love you all and I thank you for taking the time to read Gig Line. If you wish to read the columns I’ve written over the last seven years, please check out The site has more work to be done but if you have a chance, check out the stories about my veteran husband of 48 years and one week. He was an incredible patriot who died as a result of his exposure to Agent Orange and the hero who inspired me to create Gig Line in his and his brothers and sisters honor. God bless you and please stay tuned!