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.