NORMAN — We are recognizing a volunteer who has helped many veterans receive the benefits that they are eligible for from Veterans Administration. Robert Staples has been with us for the last four years helping veterans of all ages. Robert served in the United States Marines, enlisting as a private and retiring as a colonel. He and his wife, Cherie, make their home in Norman.
Last week, we had two emergencies where the Goldsby Fire and Rescue crew were called along with ambulances from Norman. Two men became ill and fainted. Both of them were transported to area hospitals, where they were reported in good condition. I would like to commend the Goldsby Fire Department for the quick response and treatment that both of these veterans received. Several months back, I had a couple of emergencies where Goldsby was the first responder. Guess they did pretty good, or I might not be here.
We helped 103 veterans and widows with their claims last week. Nine surviving spouses (widows) applied for DIC or pension benefits based on their husband’s military service. If you have questions about possible benefits, call Shirley at 361-9322 or me at 550-8806. We encourage all surviving spouses to stop by for a visit about possible VA benefits.
Six veterans received the 100 percent rating for their service-connected disabilities that were caused by or aggravated by military service. There also are benefits for the spouse and children of those veterans rated at the 100 percent rate. One of the best is going to be the education benefits for those who are enrolled in college. I have heard that some children of a 100 percent disabled veteran can receive up to a $1,000 per month for full-time studies. For those of you over age of 22, check with your school’s VA office.
The benevolence fund was used to assist several veterans and surviving spouses with rents, food items, medical testing and a host of other needs. We have been giving gift cards for gas purchase at Walmart stores to those surviving spouses and veterans who are in need. To assist with the benevolence fund, Jerry Baxter can be reached at 833-0773.
We are also accepting cars and trucks that will be given to veterans or sold to raise money for the benevolence fund. When an individual donates a vehicle, we give a receipt that is used to lower your taxes.
John Carter is in charge of the building committee. He does everything from raising funds to looking for property for the future building. John can be reached at 202-1999 if you have questions or would just like to see the building plans.
The state has seven Veterans Centers that are operated by the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs. Many of the veterans and their families are not aware that if they have a VA service-connected disability rating of 70 percent or higher, they may be entitled to free care in these facilities. I urge those who may need the VA aid and attendance, pension or compensation to visit with one of us or contact the Veterans Administration about possible benefits.
Clayton Lee, 684-8860, and other transportation drivers provide rides to veterans to the Oklahoma City VA Hospital for their appointments. If you need a ride or know a veteran who does, call Clayton to set up a driver. For the Norman area, veterans can call Harold Martin at 227-3239 or Robert Root at 919-3008. For Moore, call Howard Robertson, 205-4895. This is a free service that we provide for veterans who are unable to provide their own transportation.
Our address is Veterans Corner, P.O. Box 704, Washington, OK, 73093.
For all of your questions and assistance about Veterans benefits, we are located 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..
Dale K. Graham is service officer at VFW Post 4890.