The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — I hope that all of our readers had a very merry Christmas and a happy new year.
All of us from Veterans Corner want to thank the thousands of veterans and surviving spouses who visited us at the Goldsby Community Center during 2013.
As we assist the men and women who served in the military with their applications for VA benefits, many of us are being helped ourselves. There is a common bond that is shared among many of us who have served in our military.
Congressman James Lankford has introduced a bill for veterans. The bill would instruct the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs to pursue joint purchasing contracts for prescription drugs.
DOD and VA have tested joint purchasing in the past to get the best price for their patients and also save the VA $660 million in 2005 alone. This change in purchasing policy would more than offset the savings from the change in military retiree COLA changes.
The bill also ensures that members of Congress, who retire before the age of 62, will not receive a COLA increase before they hit retirement age.
During 2013, Veterans Corner volunteers assisted more than 6,000 veterans and surviving spouses with their claims and questions about VA benefits. Of that number, several hundred received VA disability ratings of 100 percent for their service-connected disabilities.
Shirley and her ladies processed more than 700 surviving spouses for DIC or pension benefits. Many of these ladies were only receiving Social Security benefits of $500 or $600 before they were approved for widows’ benefits. Most of them were able to double or triple their monthly income.
Last year, more than $120,000 that was donated to the benevolence fund was used to assist veterans and surviving spouses. These services ranged from medical testing, transportation of veterans, propane, fuel, rent, food, household items, meals and a host of other needs.
Last week, the folks who run the family services program for the Oklahoma National Guard men and women who are deployed to Afghanistan contacted us about helping several local families. We paid rent for one who had lost their job and repaired the car of another who needed to take her children to school.
Jerry Baxter is the treasurer for Veterans Corner. He also oversees the benevolence fund. He can be reached at 833-0773 or seen any Thursday morning at Goldsby.
For those who need food items, Sid Smith has food boxes prepared each Thursday.
We have three vans that are used to transport veterans to their VA appointments. One of these is equipped with a wheelchair lift for veterans who need this service. Clayton Lee, of Dibble, can be reached at 684-8860. Howard Martin, of Norman, can be reached at 227-3239.
For all of your questions and assistance about veterans’ benefits, we are at the Goldsby Community Center each Thursday. The doors open at 7 a.m., and sign-in sheets are available at 5:30 a.m. Please be there early for us to help you with your claim. Take time to visit our web address, veteranscorner.org.
For questions on widows’ benefits, call Shirley at 361-9322. Donations for the benevolence fund may be sent to Veterans Corner, P.O. Box 704, Washington, OK, 73093. Donations for the building fund may be sent to Veterans Corner, c/o Dale Graham, P.O. Box 722160, Norman, OK 73070.
You can contact me by phone at 550-8806 or by email me at kdgraham@
Dale K. Graham is the Veterans Corner service officer.
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