The Norman Transcript

July 3, 2013

Veterans Corner to be closed Thursday for Fourth of July

The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Veterans Corner will be closed Thursday for Independence Day. Please make your plans to visit with us July 11.

The volunteer of the week is Howard Robertson, of Moore. He volunteers his time and vehicle to transport veterans to the Oklahoma City VA hospital for their doctor appointments. Howard is a veteran of the U.S. Army and the Merchant Marines. He is married to Kay, who supports him in his efforts.

Each week, I receive calls and letters from veterans or their surviving spouses requesting assistance with their VA claims. This week, it was a little different. I heard from veteran George L. George, who is living at the Oklahoma Veterans Center in Norman. He asked me to write about some of the men and women who make their home at the center. He said one of his friends there, Michael Varnell, was a well-known chef who had been recognized for many awards in that industry. I have a list of these awards, but if I print it, we would not have room for our Veterans Corner stories.

This got me to thinking about the many veterans who make their home at one of the Oklahoma State Veterans Centers. All of the men and women in these centers are veterans who served the country. I’m proud that the state has these facilities for us to go where we can be with military brothers and sisters. Maybe we need to spend a little more time with those who have given so much. I know that it means a lot when visitors stop by to those who are not able to come and go as most of us are able to. Maybe we can learn from those who have given so much of their lives to our great nation.

Last week, 114 veterans and surviving spouses made the drive to Goldsby. Of this number, four veterans received a 100 percent rating for their service-connected disabilities.

Shirley and her crew of ladies assisted 11 surviving spouses with VA DIC or pension benefits. I encourage all surviving spouses to call or stop by for a visit with Shirley or me about possible benefits. Shirley can be reached at 361-9322.

Last week, 23 veterans filed their first claims for VA benefits. The VA is trying to speed up the processing time that it takes for them to make a decision on benefits for veterans. They have implemented new procedures that enable us to fast track some of the claims for disability compensation.

The Goldsby Veterans Memorial will have its flags flying Thursday. Spend a few moments thinking about the men and women whose names are etched on the bricks along the Walk of Honor leading up to the memorials. We are honoring all of the men and women who have served this United States of America. I would like to recognize Harold Harvell, JD Kinard and Riley Phillips for their dedication to keeping the memorial always ready for inspection.

Veterans Corner has two vans, one of which has a wheelchair lift, to transport veterans in need of rides to VA medical appointments, for free. We also have two drivers who use their personal cars to transport veterans to VA appointments. Call Clayton, 684-8860, 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, call Howard Robertson at 205-4895.

Sid Smith is our go-to-guy for food or other household items. He can be reached at 573-1990.

We are at the Goldsby Community Center each Thursday. The doors open at 7 a.m., and sign-in sheets are available at 5:30 a.m.

You can contact me at 550-8806 or kdgraham@

Semper Fi.

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