NORMAN — Today we recognize Gail Reeves, a volunteer from the Tecumseh area who has been making the drive to Goldsby for more than a year. Gail wanted to find a place to help the men and women who have served in the military. She was recently instrumental in working on the thousands of annual newsletters that we sent out to those who we have helped to receive their VA benefits.
We are changing the time that we put the sign-in sheets out each week. From now on Gary will be at the Community Center at 5:30 a.m. Thursday to make them available. Please fill out and return the sheets to Gary to be sorted. Last Thursday the snow and ice kept many of veterans and surviving spouses away from Goldsby. Where we usually have more than 150 men and women needing assistance there were only 61 who ventured out on those slick roads. Many volunteers also were unable to make the trip due to the hazardous conditions. Of the total number of veterans who did make the trip, there were five who were recently awarded a 100 percent rating for their disabilities that were incurred or aggravated by military service.
Shirley and her crew of ladies were able to process six veteran’s widows for either DIC or pension benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. These claims are not processed in Oklahoma, they are sent to the pensions and benefits center in the State of Minnesota.
We are continuing to have veterans, both men and women, who have recently returned from Afghanistan or other military assignments. Most of those we see will be able to receive some type of VA benefits. I would like to take the opportunity to encourage all veterans to stop by for a visit with one of our volunteers. VA benefits could be anything from education benefits, medical care or compensation for an injury that occurred while in the military. If a National Guard or Reservist member is injured on the way to or from a drill he may be eligible for VA benefits. I recently helped an Oklahoma National Guard soldier who was involved in a car wreck on his way to a meeting in 1957. He had never filed a claim for service connection of the injuries he received in that accident. After researching his records, we found a line of duty injury from the accident, with this we filed with the VA and to his surprise he was awarded a 50 percent disability. There are many men and women who could be receiving VA benefits. If you think that you might qualify, stop by and visit with us on any Thursday morning.
Sid Smith is available with food boxes each Thursday morning or he can be reached at 573-1990.
The benevolence fund was used last week to help veterans and surviving spouses with medical expense, fuel, rents and deposits. Jerry Baxter can be reached at 833-0773 most anytime or see him on Thursday mornings. Jerry has an application to be filled out for benefits from this fund. We are a 501 (c) (3) non -profit with your donations being tax deductible.
I continue to hear many stories about our Oklahoma State Veterans Centers some of which reflect very badly on the quality of service. Personally I have never seen any of the abuses that are highlighted in the newspapers and TV stories. I’m sure that some of the people who have been hired, are not who we want taking care of our family members or anyone for that matter. I volunteered to build some book cases and aquarium stands for the Norman Veterans Center several years ago. I was there off and on for several months during which time I was impressed with the caliber of men and women who were guests and the employees who worked there.
Clayton Lee, 684-8860, and the other transportation drivers, provide rides to veterans to the Oklahoma City VA Hospital for their appointments. If you need a ride or know a veteran who does, call Clayton to set up a driver. For Norman-area veterans can call Harold Martin at 227-3239 or Robert Root at 919-3008. For the Moore area, call Howard Robertson 205-4895.
For all of your questions and assistance about Veterans benefits, we are at the Goldsby Community Center each Thursday. Take time to visit our web address at www.veteranscorner.org.
You may also send donations to Veterans Corner, P.O. Box 704, Washington, OK 73093.
You can call me at 550-8806 or email me at email@example.com.
Dale K. Graham is service officer for Post 4890 VFW.