The Norman Transcript

June 19, 2013

Norman man recognized


The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Today we are recognizing a Navy veteran who many of you know. He was instrumental in helping make Veterans Corner what it is today. The veteran became a part of the organization when we started assisting veterans at my workshop in Goldsby. He has served on the board of directors, helping us provide assistance to thousands of veterans and surviving spouses in Oklahoma who need VA benefits.

E. J. Branch, of Lindsay, we appreciate your leadership abilities that we have seen over the many years that you have been a volunteer with us. I know the many veterans who you have transported to their VA doctor appointments over the years consider you a true friend.

Recently, we sent letters to those of you who we have helped receive a 100 percent rating asking for your assistance with the building project. You are what makes veterans helping veterans work, and I would like to say thank you. We need a facility where we can provide services more than one day a week to the many veterans and surviving spouses in the community. Navy veteran John Carter, of Norman, is the go-to guy on the building committee. He can be reached at 202-1999 or on any Thursday morning at the Goldsby Community Building.  

Sid Smith provides food boxes to seven or so families each week. The benevolence fund, operated by Jerry Baxter at 833-0773, provides assistance to veterans and surviving spouses with medical expenses, rents, gas cards and other types of the needs that many in our community do not have the money to pay for. One of the homeless veterans visited with me last Thursday, and he receives $200 a month.

We provided him with several food boxes and rent money in the amount of $500 for the next couple of months. I’m working on his VA claim for service connection of disabilities that were incurred while in the military.

The number of veterans (widows) surviving spouses hit a new record last Thursday, with 21 being assisted. Shirley can be reached at 361-9322 or she is available on Thursday mornings.

One hundred and twelve surviving spouses were assisted last week, with six veterans receiving a 100 percent VA rating for their service-connected disabilities. Volunteers helped 16 veterans file their first claims for VA benefits.

The state has seven Veterans Centers that are operated by the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs. Many veterans and their families are not aware that if they have a VA service-connected disability rating of 70 percent or higher, they may be entitled to free care in these facilities. I want every veteran to receive the benefits they are entitled to receive for their services.

Currently, Veterans Corner has two vans, one of which has a wheelchair lift to transport veterans to their VA medical appointments. We also have two drivers who use their personal cars to transport veterans to VA appointments. If you need a ride or know a veteran who does, call Clayton Lee, 684-8860.

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

We are a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit, with all of your donations being tax free. Donations are accepted for both the benevolence fund and for the building fund. We keep these accounts separate, so please specify where you want your dollars to go. The address is Veterans Corner, P.O. Box 704, Washington, OK 73093.

For all of your questions and assistance, we are at the Goldsby Community Center each Thursday. The doors open at 7 a.m. each Thursday and sign-in sheets are available at 5:30 a.m.

Take time to visit our web address, veteranscorner.org.You can call me at 550-8806 or email kdgraham@windstream.net .

Semper Fi.

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