NORMAN — We are recognizing an Air Force veteran as the volunteer of the week. Richard Blouin served for 28 years on active duty, with 22 of those being overseas. We appreciate the knowledge and expertise that he brings to Goldsby each Thursday.
Without men and women like Richard who give their time and energy freely to our cause, we would not be able to accomplish our mission. Richard and his wife, Irma, make their home in Moore.
Last Thursday, the Goldsby Community building was needed for the funeral lunch of community leader Robert L. Beller. Condolences go out to his family and friends for their loss.
Mayor Cindy Scott allowed us to use the old Goldsby School building last Thursday to provide services to those needing assistance for their VA claims and questions. We used all of the space in the building and then set up three tables outside to accommodate those seeking assistance. I appreciate the Town of Goldsby staff for providing space for us to help our veterans.
Last Sunday morning at the conclusion of service officer training at the Wyndam Hotel in Oklahoma City, we were privileged to have Congressman James Lankford as the guest speaker. He serves on many committees that are directly related to veterans’ benefits. His district director, Mona Taylor, offered to help us with any questions or problems that veterans have.
Fifty-five volunteers finished three days of training last weekend. More than 150 Oklahoma men and women were enrolled in junior service officer training. They represented many of the service organizations.
The Department of Veterans Affairs is in the process of improving the way all veterans and surviving spouses claims are handled. The most important part of these changes is the fully developed claims forms that are used to apply for compensation, pension or survivor benefits.
A veteran can attach a VA disability questionnaire filled out by their doctor, which shows the severity of their disability that was caused by, aggravated or presumptive to military service. When this is done correctly with all required information and evidence, the VA may make a decision on the veteran’s claim within only a few months. We also will use this method to ask for a re-evaluation of a service-connected condition.
I would like to encourage all veterans and surviving who have Internet service to visit the site benefits.va.gov/
Afterward, log on to ebenefits.va.gov to set up an account. With this, the veteran or surviving spouse can keep up with the progress that the VA makes concerning the claim.
Last week, I arrived early to encourage as many of those wanting assistance to return next Thursday due to the limited space that we had in the old school. We assisted 65 men and women who were unable to return the following week. Of this number, 12 were surviving spouses who applied for VA benefits or returned for a follow-up visit.
Several of these ladies requested help with rent, food and other needs. For those who need food items, Sid Smith has food boxes prepared each Thursday.
Sixteen veterans filed their first claims for benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
For all of your questions, we are at the Goldsby Community Center each Thursday. Doors open at 7 a.m., and sign-in sheets are available at 5:30 a.m.
Take time to visit our site, veteranscorner.org. We are a nonprofit that helps veterans and widows in our community. For questions on widows’ benefits, call Shirley at 361-9322.
You can call me at 550-8806 or email kdgraham@
Dale K. Graham is service officer for VFW Post 4890.