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April 9, 2013

Veterans assist 133 with benefit claims

NORMAN — We have several husband and wife volunteers who spend each Thursday at the Goldsby Community Center. Today we are recognizing Diana and Willie Thompson as the volunteers of the week. Each week they help their fellow veterans and surviving spouses to navigate the VA paperwork in applying for benefits. Willie is an Air Force veteran. They were married 42 years ago and make their home in Spencer.

The rain we had last week slowed down the number of men and women seeking help with their VA claims and questions. There were only 133 who made the trip for assistance. Of that number, there were seven surviving spouses that Shirley and her crew of ladies were able to help.

Jerry Baxter and the ladies who work those who qualify for the 100 percent VA disability rating, were very busy last Thursday with six veterans receiving a 100 percent rating from VA for their service connected disabilities. Many of the veterans who receive that rating will be eligible for the Oklahoma state benefits such as exemption of property tax on their home and sales tax. Their spouse and dependents also may qualify for the Champ-VA medical insurance program. If you did not return after receiving a 100 percent, please do so to apply for the other benefits. For those veterans who receive a VA rating of 50 percent or more, the state offers reduced car tag cost, a free hunting and fishing license.

There were 17 veterans who were assisted in filing their first claim for VA benefits.

Future plans to help more veterans will require a building that we can expand our services. We have asked the Town of Goldsby to lease or sell seven and one half acres of the airport property. A decision will be made on this option by the town board in the near future.

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