The Norman Transcript

January 15, 2014

Volunteers assist in filing VA claims


The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — The volunteer of the week has been with us the last seven years helping veterans and their families to receive VA benefits they are eligible for.

Veterans are very lucky to have Jim Smith in their corner at the Goldsby Community Center each Thursday. Smith has made a difference in the lives of hundreds of veterans since he became a volunteer at Veterans Corner.

He and his wife, Olga, make their home in south Oklahoma City. Jim is a Vietnam Army veteran serving as a combat medic.

Last Thursday, we were joined by members of the StapleGun Company in Oklahoma City. They are an advertising, marketing and public relations company that specializes in helping organizations and businesses get the word out about what they do.

Building fundraiser Chairman John Carter will need all of the help he can find to get the funds that Veterans Corner needs to build our new facility. Consider calling Carter at 202-1999 with any ideas or assistance that you have for our proposed facility, which will be built west of Interstate 35 on State Highway 9 West.

On another note, if you have a particular person who you would like to assist you on Thursday mornings, write their name on the bottom of your sign-in sheet. If it is possible, we will try to accommodate this request.

Thursday was a very tough day for many volunteers and the veterans who visited with us. I assisted two young ladies who were both assaulted while serving in the military. We encouraged both of these ladies to seek mental health counseling immediately. The benevolence fund was used for the PTSD testing that both of these girls will need.

One hundred and five men and women were assisted with their VA claims and questions. Of that number, Shirley and her crew of ladies helped 16 ladies file for DIC or pension benefits. Several of these ladies were recently approved for the DIC payment of $1,250 per month.

Those whose husband did not retire from the military will be eligible to receive the Champ-VA medical insurance at no cost. This group also will be eligible for the reduced rate for car tags and the sales tax relief, up to a certain amount, if the veteran was rated at the 100 percent rate and died from a service-connected disease. She also may receive property tax exemption on her home.

Remember, the VA does not come to you to ask if you need anything; you must file for everything. Shirley can be reached at 361-9322.

We have three vans that are used to transport veterans to their VA appointments. One of these, driven by Howard Martin of Norman, 227-3239, is equipped with a wheelchair lift. Clayton Lee, of Dibble, can be reached at 684-8860.

For all of your questions and assistance about veterans’ benefits, 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. Take time to visit veteranscorner.org.

Donations for the benevolence fund may be sent to Veterans Corner, P.O. Box 704, Washington, OK 73093. Donations for the Building Fund may be sent to Veterans Corner c/o Dale Graham, P.O. Box 722160 Norman, OK 73070. 

You can call me at 550-8806 or email kdgraham@windstream.net.

Semper Fi.

Dale K. Graham is the Veterans Corner service officer.

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