NORMAN — I hope that all of you had an enjoyable Thanksgiving. With Veterans Corner closed, most of the volunteers were able to spend time with their families.
I was able to visit with some veterans who will make a trip to Goldsby when they recover from wounds that they received while in Afghanistan. Most of those who are injured in the military do not know where to turn when they are discharged. Many of them think that the VA will just take over where the military left off. When discharged, it is up to the veteran to take over their disabilities and the VA claims process. It is very important to meet with a trained veteran’s service officer to decide what benefits you are entitled to from the Veterans Administration. If you know of someone who was injured in the military, let them know about Veterans Corner.
The Veterans Corner volunteer of the week is Navy veteran Gary Mitchell. Gary arrives first thing every Thursday morning and helps sign everyone in. He also is in charge of trailer detail.
We are helping from 10 to 12 surviving spouses of veterans each Thursday file for VA benefits. If you need this service, call Shirley at 361-9322 or Dale at 550-8806. We have several ladies that specialize in DIC or pension for those ladies who need this assistance.
We have many other volunteers who will assist veterans with their claims for compensation or pension benefits also. I have found that most everyone who served in the military will qualify for some type of benefits. Many will be eligible for compensation for injuries that were incurred while on active duty. Some of those who only served in the National Guard or Reserve also will be eligible to receive VA benefits. With the economy in the condition that it, is many veterans are eligible for VA pension benefits depending on their income, age and medical expenses.
The benevolence fund was used to assist surviving spouses and veterans with food and other types of needed household items. Last week we used the benevolence fund to provide the final expenses for a Vietnam veteran.
Sid Smith provided food boxes for veterans and their families who were in need. If you need this type of assistance, stop by Thursday morning or call Sid at 573-1990. Jerry Baxter manages the benevolence fund that is used to provide services to many of those who are in need of our assistance. We are a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit with all donations being tax deductible. The only funding we receive is from the men and women like you who we have helped to receive VA benefits. Volunteers have helped more than 6,000 men and women each year with their VA claims and questions. Our long term goal is to have our own facility that can be open more than one morning per week, a food pantry, storage for items for veterans and surviving spouse who need a hand up.
Clayton Lee, 684-8860, and the other transportation drivers provided rides to seven veterans to the Oklahoma City VA hospital for their appointments. If you need a ride or know a veteran who does, call Clayton. For the Norman area veterans contact Harold Martin at 227-3239 or Robert Root at 919-3008. For the Moore area, call Howard Robertson, 205-4895.
Our book “100 Stories from Veterans Corner,” by Dr. Kami Day continues to be one of the proudest achievements for all of our volunteers who make the trip to Goldsby each week. Harold and his helpers have sold over 115 copies at our location. These are available each Thursday morning or they are available for purchase online at Amazon.
We will be closed Dec. 27 so that our volunteers can spend the Christmas with their families.
For all of your questions and assistance about Veterans benefits, we are at the Goldsby Community Center each Thursday. The doors open at 8 a.m. Visit our web address at www.veteranscorner.org.
You may send donations to Veterans Corner, P.O. Box 704, Washington, OK 73093. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dale K. Graham is service officer for VFW Post 4890.