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February 27, 2013

Veterans Corner to change time for sign-in sheets to 5:30 a.m.

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.

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