NORMAN — This week’s volunteer of the week is Gordon Wheeler, of Choctaw. He has been making the weekly trip to Goldsby for the last seven years. His can-do attitude has helped hundreds of veterans receive the VA benefits that they are entitled to. Gordon is married to Bonnie, who is a member of the VFW Ladies Auxiliary.
Last Thursday morning, 133 veterans and surviving spouses were signed in by 7 a.m., ready to be assisted by our volunteers. We place 150 sign-in sheets at the front door of the Goldsby Community Building at 5:30 a.m. each Thursday. Most of the time, we are finishing everyone’s paperwork by 11:30 a.m.
Thirteen veterans were here to file their first claims for VA benefits. Several of these young men and women reminded me of what we looked like just out of high school. Guess I’m just getting older and the young ones are looking younger. We try to give as much information as possible about VA benefits to each person who makes their first trip to see us.
We have prepared a 20-page handout titled “Veteran’s Corner Inc.” that is given to each person on their first trip to Goldsby. Many of your questions about VA benefits will be answered by reading this packet. If you want to stop by and pick one up any Thursday, they are available at no cost to you. For those of you who would like one but can’t make the trip, you can request one by email at email@example.com and I will send it by snail mail. I want each of our veterans or surviving spouses to receive all of the VA benefits that they are entitled to.
Shirley and her crew of lady volunteers assisted 21 surviving spouses last week. Several of these ladies were applying for DIC benefits (payable when a veteran dies from a service-connected disability or one that is presumptive). There also were some who were applying for pension benefits based upon their income and medical expenses. They also assisted two ladies whose husbands were part of the atomic testing. Their claims are going through the Justice Department.