The Norman Transcript

July 31, 2013

Nonprofit assists 133 veterans, spouses with VA claims


The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — We are recognizing Joan Baxter as the volunteer of the week. She is a volunteer who helps those veterans who received 100 percent rating and surviving spouses who are approved to receive DIC benefits. We appreciate Joan’s knowledge and can-do attitude in helping each veteran and spouse obtain all VA benefits they are entitled to. Joan is the wife of treasurer, Jerry Baxter.

Last week, we assisted 133 veterans and spouses with their claims for VA benefits. Shirley and her crew of ladies continue to assist more than 20 surviving spouses each week for benefits based on their husband’s military service. They also have assisted veterans’ husbands in receiving DIC benefits based on their wives’ military service.

Last week, we filed our first DIC claim for a surviving spouse whose husband served at Camp Legeune, N.C. We have been trying to let military members and their families know about the ground water contamination that was on going for 30-plus years from the ’50s up into the ’80s.

For all of your questions on surviving spouse benefits, call Shirley at 361-9322. We are available most every Thursday morning at the Goldsby Community Center. Sign-in starts at 5:30 a.m. and continues until we reach a maximum of 150 people.

Eight veterans received a 100 percent rating for their service-connected disabilities. One of the most common problems facing veterans who served in Vietnam is the diseases that exposure to Agent Orange has caused. Many of the surviving spouses that we see each week are here to file for DIC based on their husband’s exposure to that chemical. If you received this rating and have not returned for a follow-up visit, please stop by to find out about the rest of the benefits you could be eligible to receive.

We helped 24 veterans file their first claims for VA benefits last week. Of these, most of them will be eligible to receive VA compensation or health care for their service in the military.

The VA has started to speed up the claims process with the implementation of the fully developed claims system. We are beginning to file more of these each week for those veterans who have all of their medical reports and other information that is required.

The treasurer provided money for medical testing to four veterans last week. He also provided gas cards to several men and women who did not have enough money to make the trip home. Many of the men and women are driving three hours or more to make a visit for assistance from one of the volunteers.

The benevolence fund makes a difference in the lives of veterans and surviving spouses every week. There is not a week that goes by that we don’t see people who are at the end of their ropes when it comes to having enough to buy food or medical care for their families. If it were not for the benevolence fund, some of the local families would be suffering.

We are not able to help everyone who requests assistance. Each request is reviewed by the board members to determine who has the greatest need. Those first in line are veterans’ widows with children.

As a nonprofit, any donations made to Veterans Corner is tax deductible. We also accept handicap items, cars and trucks or other items that can be used or sold to raise funds to help our nation’s veterans and surviving spouses.

If you have not paid a visit to the Goldsby Veterans memorial, we would like to take this opportunity to invite you for a visit. I would like to say thanks to Harold Harvell, Riley Phillips and JD Kinard for keeping it continually ready for inspection. If you have not purchased a brick for your veteran, stop by any Thursday morning for a visit with any of those three veterans.

The most enjoyable parts of my job is being able to meet the many veterans who make their way to Goldsby each Thursday morning. The sad part is so many of them we meet are nearing the end of their journey in this life. One of them from Noble, Charles W. Shepard, an Army veteran, died July 12. We at Veterans Corner are offering condolences to his family. We enjoyed meeting him when he was visiting us.

The book of veterans’ stories by Dr. Kami Day is available for purchase either from Harold Harvell or online at Amazon. We are proud of what Day was able to do for veterans. If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, stop by any Thursday morning.

Currently, Veterans Corner has two vans, one of which has a wheelchair lift, to transport those veterans in need of transportation to their VA medical appointments. We also have two drivers who use their personal cars to transport veterans to VA appointments.

Clayton Lee, 684-8860, and our 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 the Norman area, call Harold Martin at 227-3239 or Robert Root at 919-3008. For the Moore area, contact Howard Robertson at 205-4895. This is a free service that we provide for those veterans who are unable to provide their own transportation.

For all of your questions and assistance about veterans’ benefits, we are at the Goldsby Community Center each Thursday. The doors open at 7 a.m. Take time to visit, veteranscorner.org.

You may send donations to Veterans Corner, P.O. Box 704, Washington, OK 73093. You can contact me at 550-8806 or kdgraham@windstream.net.

Semper fi.

Dale K. Graham is service officer for VFW Post 4890.