Veterans Services Team

Lee Washington, County Veterans Services Officer: Leads the team that advocates for Veterans and their families as it relates to military service disabilities, education, housing, medical care, Veterans Preference, burial and survivor benefits. Lee has served as Veterans advocate/counselor for 11 years and is an 11-year Veteran of the US Marine Corps. Prior to Manatee County, he was a mortgage banker for 10 years. Lee is a Manatee County Employee of the Year (2013), graduate of Leadership Manatee (2014/15) and Senior Vice President for the County Veterans Services Officers Association of Florida (CVSOAFL).

Renée Medina, Senior Veterans Counselor: Conducts and oversees the direct, day-to-day contact with the Veteran client base. Before her nearly five years working for the County, Renee served numerous years as a 911 dispatcher and the Manatee County Tax Collector. She is a Coast Guard Veteran.

Jack Ruark, Veterans Services Counselor: Conducts one-on-one engagement with Veterans, surviving dependents or concerned citizens needing assistance with their Veterans’ benefits. Jack also manages the division’s outreach program. He makes regular visits throughout the community, educating them on the benefits of our office. Jack is an active duty retiree of the US Marine Corps and former banker.

Shawn Morris, Veterans Services Counselor: Shawn is counselor with Veterans Services, who conducts one-on-one engagement with Veterans, surviving dependents or concerned citizens needing assistance with their Veterans’ benefits. Shawn also is the liaison for the Veterans Treatment court; responsible for advocating for Veterans going through the justice system. Shawn is retired from the US Army but also served in the US Navy. He comes to us from the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs (FDVA) and Georgia Department of Veterans Affairs and is heavily skilled in benefit appeals.

Stephane Forget, Veterans Services Counselor: Conducts one-on-one engagement with Veterans, surviving dependents or concerned citizens needing assistance with their Veterans’ benefits. He mans the division’s north county office in Ellenton. Stephane is a 30-year retiree of the US Marine Corps and previously worked with FDVA in Tampa.