NORMAN — Instead of recognizing the volunteer of the week, today I would like to talk about the spouses of those who make the trip to Goldsby. We appreciate the support that each of you give to your husband or wife as they help our efforts to improve the lives of veterans and their surviving spouses. Without your help and support, we would not be able to provide these services to the thousands of men and women who are in need of assistance from volunteers.
Last Thursday morning we were able to help 151 veterans and surviving spouses with their request for assistance with their VA claims and questions. There were nine veterans who received ratings of 100 percent for their disabilities that were caused by or aggravated by military service. We also were able to help 15 to receive a disability rating from 10 percent to 90 percent. Those with a rating at 30 percent and above are eligible to receive extra benefits for their spouse and dependent children. We also were able to assist 21 veterans to file their first claim for VA benefits. These veterans ranged in age from 21 to 93.
There were 15 surviving spouses who were assisted by Shirley and her group of ladies who specialize in DIC or pension benefits. Every week I receive calls from ladies whose lives have been changed for the better because of Shirley and her helpers.
We are seeing some of the Marines who served at Camp Lejuene, N.C., who are suffering from some of the cancers that are presumptive to the chemicals that were in the drinking water there. Last week, I visited with a Marine who had been diagnosed with breast cancer after serving at that base during the early ’70s. We filed for service connection for this disability for him. When we receive a decision from VA, I will be sure to make it available in this column. My advice to all veterans and surviving spouses is to visit with us about possible VA benefits. You can also use the Internet to research your questions about possible exposure to either chemicals or radiation.