NORMAN — We will be closed Thursday for the Christmas holidays. Our volunteer of the week is one of our local veterans, Mr. Glen Parker, of Lexington. While in the Air Force, Glen spent one year in Vietnam. He has been a volunteer with us for the last four years, providing claims assistance to many veterans. Glen is married to Linda, who supports his efforts in this endeavour. Thanks to both of you.
With 2012 coming to a close, I want to thank all of our volunteers for their time and effort they have put forward to assist the many veterans and surviving spouses who have requested our assistance. Our volunteers assisted more than 6,000 men and womenwith their claims for VA benefits this year.
We were able to help these men and women to receive compensation for their injuries that occurred or were aggravated while in the military. Hundreds of surviving spouses were assisted with their claims for DIC or pension benefits based upon their husbands’ military service. The total benefits for these men and women are in the millions of dollars each year.
We have decided to move forward with our plans to purchase land and to build our own veterans corner facility. When this is completed, we will be able to provide more services to the men and women who have served the United States of America. If you would like to assist us with this project, we are asking those who we have assisted to make a commitment to our building fund.
Jerry Baxter, our treasurer, is able to accept credit cards, automatic withdrawals, Pay Pal or any other type of donation. We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, with your donations being tax free. Please specify which fund you would like to help with: benevolence or building.
Thank you for serving our country and helping us help our veterans and their families. We continue to accept cars, trucks, tractors, boats or most anything that can be turned into money to support our mission. Please remember we are a free service with no paid staff.
There were 128 who made the trip for assistance Thursday. Of this number, nine veterans received a 100 percent rating for their service-connected disabilities. Several of these veterans had tears in their eyes when they told me how we had changed their lives. Many of them had never thought of applying for VA benefits until someone told them about veterans corner.
We have provided our service to more than 20,000 of our nation’s heroes and surviving spouses since we began this mission.
There were seven surviving spouses who Shirley and her crew of ladies were able to process for benefits. If you are a widow that has been married more than once and any of your spouses were veterans, you can file for benefits on any of them. The surviving spouses could be eligible to receive VA pension or DIC benefits. If you need to contact Shirley, call her at 361-9322 or Dale at 550-8806.
We assisted 19 veterans to file their first claims for VA benefits. It is taking six or more months for VA to process our veterans’ claims for compensation and pension. The VA said the main reason for the long length of time is the amount of claims that so many of our returning veterans are filing. Personally, I think it is our economy. With so many manufacturing jobs leaving our country, all we have to offer most young people are service-type jobs.
I would like to encourage you to visit the Goldsby Veterans Memorial along sunset just as all of the Christmas lights come on. We have one of the nicest displays around. It sets off the memorial in a good way.
Our benevolence fund was used to supply food and other household items to seven families this week. It was also used to help veterans’ families with rent, utilities, fuel and medical expenses. If you need help with food items during the next week, please call Sid Smith at 573-1990.
The Goldsby Veterans Memorial continues to impress those who make a visit to Goldsby. Harold Harvell along with his crew JD Kinard and Riley Phillips are on duty every Thursday providing assistance to our many visitors. We now have more than 940 bricks around the memorial.
Not only do these veterans take care of the Goldsby Veterans Memorial each week, selling veterans bricks to be laid along the walk of honor, they also help with fundraising by selling military hats and other military items for us.
If you would like to purchase a brick for your veteran, please see these men on Thursdays. Please bring your family by the Goldsby park to enjoy the Christmas decorations and lights at night. It is beautiful.
Clayton Lee, 684-8860, and our other transportation drivers provided rides to seven veterans to the Oklahoma City VA Hospital for their appointments. If you need a ride or know a veteran who does, please contact Clayton to set up a driver. For the Norman-area veterans, call Harold Martin at 227-3239 or Robert Root at 919-3008. For Moore-area needs, call Howard Robertson at 205-4895.
Our book “100 stories from Veterans Corner” by Dr. Kami Day is available each Thursday morning, or they are available for purchase online at Amazon. To order one from Amazon, go to their website and type in “Kami Day:” www.amazon.com/gp/product/1478151609/ref=cm_sw_r_fa_alp_yO1uqb07C2E0W. Every story in this book came from a veteran who made the trip to Goldsby for help with their VA claims and questions.
If you have questions on surviving spouse benefits, call Shirley at 361-9322.
For all of your questions and assistance about veterans benefits, we are located at the Goldsby Community Center each Thursday. Our doors open at 8 a.m. on Thursdays. Please be there early for us to help you with your claim. We do our best to process each one in a timely manner, but be prepared to stay awhile and please be patient.
Take time to visit our web address, www.veteranscorner.org. We have moved forward with the new technology and are now able to accept donations directly from your credit card. We are a nonprofit that helps veterans and their widows in our community.
You may also send donations to Veterans Corner, P.O. Box 704, Washington, OK 73093. You can contact me at 550-8806 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Semper Fi.
Dale K. Graham is service officer for VFW Post 4890.