Changing of the Guard at Veterans’ Services District

Mayor Roxann Wedegartner has named Christopher Demars to lead the Upper Pioneer Valley Veterans’ Services District, effective November 14. Demars, a retired sergeant major in the U.S. Army who served two tours in Afghanistan, has been the district’s deputy director since February 2020. He succeeds Director of Veterans’ Services Timothy Niejadlik, who is retiring after nine years in the post.

“I’d like to thank Mayor Wedegartner and the City of Greenfield for entrusting me with this important role,” said Demars. “Though the leadership in the district is changing, our commitment to veterans is unwavering. Our team remains ready to help veterans access the benefits they earned in defense of our country, both at our referral center in Greenfield and at satellite locations throughout the upper Pioneer Valley.”

“I want to thank the district's veterans and their families for giving me the honor of helping them and learning their stories as I retire from Veterans' Services,” said Niejadlik. “It was truly satisfying to help them get the benefits and help they deserved for their service. I also wish to thank the local veterans organizations like the Oak Ridge Detachment MCL 628, the local VFW Posts 9874 and 3295, Rolling Thunder Vermont Chapter 1 and the DAV Chapter 33 for their support and help.”

Niejadlik is a retired U.S. Army officer who earned the Bronze Star in the Iraq War. He previously served as director of veteran services in Holyoke.

Before being appointed the district’s deputy director, Demars served as a veterans counselor at Greenfield Community College. That followed a nearly 27-year career in the military. Demars’ second tour in Afghanistan was cut short when he was critically injured by a suicide bomber in 2011 and spent nine months recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Demars received two Bronze Stars for Service, two Purple Hearts, the Army Commendation Medal with Valor and the Combat Infantry Badge for his heroism in Afghanistan. In 2014 and 2016, Demars was among a small group of wounded veterans invited to participate in a 100K mountain bike trek at the ranch for former President George W. Bush in Crawford, Texas.

“The community really came through for my family when I was wounded, and I feel it’s my duty to give back,” explained Demars. “My priorities for the department include restarting support programs that were suspended during the pandemic and stepping up outreach to local veterans exposed to burn pits and other toxic substances who may be eligible for expanded benefits under the new PACT Act.”

Joshua Anderson has been named the district’s new deputy director. He previously served as a combat medic in the U.S. Army. He first started working for the district as part of a work-study program when he attended Greenfield Community College.

“Tim has been a tireless advocate for our veterans and he will certainly be missed,” said Mayor Wedegartner. “I know that Chris and Josh will carry on that dedication and that the Veterans’ Services District is in good hands.”

The Upper Pioneer Valley Veterans’ Services District serves Greenfield and 25 other communities in the region. It advocates for veterans, their spouses, dependents and widows or widowers for Veterans' Benefits on the local, state and federal levels.

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