NORMAN — Our volunteer of the week, Ramiro Rocha, has been with us for the last four years. During this time, he has worn many hats — from claims writer to helping raise operating funds at the local Sam’s Club and Norman Walmart stores. If you have seen our 1953 GMC Fire Truck at one of those locations, he was usually there. Ramiro and his wife, Linda, reside in Norman.
I hope all of you have enjoyed Christmas and New Year’s with family and friends. Since we were closed last Thursday, my telephone has stayed busy.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has hundreds of thousands of claims that have not been processed. This leaves many of the men and women who we are trying to help waiting for up to a year or more for a decision. I don’t have a solution to this problem, other than to hire and train more examiners.
There are several reasons that the local VA Regional offices are backlogged, one of which could be the number of deployments today. Another possibility might be Vietnam veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange who are dying or are diagnosed with one of the 15 presumptive diseases that the chemical caused.
The Veterans Corner board has several ideas on ways to improve the way we help our nation’s veterans and their families. One of the most important is to build a facility where we could do more for veterans and their spouses.
If we had our own building, we could have the option to provide services more than one day each week. Currently, we use our 24-foot trailer to transport all of our equipment to the community building, where we set it up and then load it back up for storage. We would like to use this facility to provide a place to store other types of items.
Jerry Baxter, our treasurer, has started a building fund. If you would like to help us with this project, we are a nonprofit, with your donations being tax deductible.
Have you ever wondered why so many people make their way to the Goldsby Community Center? In 2012, more than 6,000 men and women made the trip for assistance from our staff of volunteers. Our goal is to make sure that every person who we see is treated with the respect that veterans deserve.
If you have questions about veterans benefits, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 550-8806. For questions on widows benefits, please contact Shirley at 361-9322.
Harold Harvell, along with his helpers Riley Phillips and JD Kinard, have some of the Veterans Corner books by Dr. Kami Day available for purchase, along with our military hats and other items. They also have veterans bricks for sale that are laid along the Walk of Honor leading up to each veteran’s memorial.
The Veterans Memorial, along with the Town Park, looked very good with all of the lighted Christmas decorations. It won’t be long until our park will be on the list of places to see during the holidays.
To donate to Veterans Corner, Baxter is able to accept credit cards, automatic withdrawals, Pay Pal or any other type of donation. 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.
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.
Clayton Lee, at 684-8860, and other drivers, provided rides to seven veterans to the Oklahoma City VA Hospital for appointments. If you need a ride or know a veteran who does, contact Lee. For 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.
We are at the Goldsby Community Center each Thursday. Our doors open at 8 a.m. 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 a while.
Take time to visit our web address at www.veteranscorner.org. We have moved forward with technology and are able to accept donations directly from credit cards. We are a nonprofit that helps veterans and widows in our community.
You also may send donations to Veterans Corner, P.O. Box 704, Washington, OK 73093. You can contact me at 550-8806 or email@example.com. Semper Fi!
Dale K. Graham is service officer for VFW Post 4890.