NORMAN — Our volunteer of the week is a man who is a very familiar face each Thursday morning at the Goldsby Community Center.
Sid Smith is recognized for the continuing support of veterans and their surviving spouses. He has been the man behind the scenes preparing the thousands of food boxes that have been given to veterans’ families who need this assistance.
With the help of his wife, Angie, they prepare food and other household items for five to 10 families each week. Sid and Angie do everything from the shopping through delivery of each box they prepare. Veterans Corner uses your donations to provide these services to veterans’ families.
The Oklahoma State VFW and the National VFW are asking the Veterans Corner to remove the VFW emblems and VFW logos from all three of our vans that are used daily to transport veterans to their VA medical appointments. They also would like us to remove them from our pickup and trailers that are used to promote the VFW and Veterans Corner and the 1953 fire truck that we use in the Veterans Day parades. This decision was made because Veterans Corner is a 501-(C)(3) nonprofit.
I received a report that someone complained to the National VFW about us accepting donations. Without the donations of veterans, we could not provide the services that are available to the thousands of veterans and surviving spouses that we assist each year.
I believe the reason this decision was made is because the VFW in Muskogee handles 35 percent of all claims going to the VA regional office, with most all of them coming from Veterans Corner. They only have one paid veterans service officer and a volunteer to take care of the thousands of claims that we send each year to Muskogee Regional VA.
The VFW service officer is overwhelmed with work, and the best way to cut the work load is to get rid of Veterans Corner. We need your help to continue being veterans helping veterans at Veterans Corner. We have assisted more than 20,000 veterans and surviving spouses to receive VA benefits.
The men and women who we have helped are receiving more than $50 million each year from the Department of Veterans Affairs in compensation for their injuries or illnesses caused by military service.
If you could take the time to support us by sending a letter to Robert E. Wallace, executive director, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. Washington Office, 200 Maryland Ave. NE, Washington, DC, 20002, firstname.lastname@example.org; William A. Thien, VFW commander in chief, 406 W. 34th St., Kansas City, MO, 64111, email@example.com; or Jeff Harris, Oklahoma VFW state commander, 2311 N. Central Ave., Oklahoma City, OK, 73105, we will continue to support all of the veterans and their surviving spouses.
Last Thursday, 104 veterans or surviving spouses were assisted with their claims and questions about VA benefits. Of that number, 15 filed their first claims for benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Shirley’s crew of ladies assisted 15 surviving spouses for either DIC (veteran dies from a service-connected condition or one that is presumptive to military service) or pension (is based on income and when the veteran served in the military).
Three veterans received ratings of 100 percent. These men and women will receive the Oklahoma State benefits allocated to those who are rated 100 percent disabled by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Most veterans have the option to ask for a re-evaluation of their service-connected conditions that have become more severe one year after the date that is stamped on the front page of their VA rating decision.
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. Take time to visit veteranscorner.org.
You may send donations to Veterans Corner, P.O. Box 704, Washington, OK, 73093.You can call me at 550-8806 or email me at kdgraham@windstream.
net. Semper Fi.
Dale K. Graham is service officer at VFW Post 4890.