NORMAN — Each week, we recognize one of the men or women who spend their Thursday mornings at Goldsby assisting other veterans or surviving spouses file for VA benefits.
The volunteer of the week is Art Sipes, who has been with Veterans Corner since 2012. Art and his wife, Karra, make their home in Choctaw, and he drives up each Thursday to help veterans.
Last Thursday, I had a different type of experience. Well more than 100 veterans and spouses were at the Goldsby Community Center when a very big man began to hug me and say that we had helped change his family’s life when he was approved for VA benefits. As many of you know, I’m not a person who is comfortable in that position.
I remember when I was a small child and our family would visit our aunts and uncles, I would hide to keep from being hugged by them. It brought back many memories that I had forgotten. I’m glad that the veteran received the VA benefits from the injuries that he sustained in Vietnam and am thankful we were able to help him.
One of the volunteers met a young Marine and his wife at her church last week who need assistance. They have only been married a short time and need a car or truck that would make the trip to their first duty station in North Carolina in a few months. If you have a vehicle that could be donated to Veterans Corner, we will give it to them and give you a tax deductible receipt.
On another note, we are continuing to see veterans who are having depression and anxiety problems because of PTSD symptoms, sexual assaults or hazing incidents that occurred while they were in the military. Those suffering can be any age from 18 to 90.
Most of the veterans who I have met who were assaulted were young and vulnerable. When I’m working with these men and women, I encourage them to seek counseling at the Oklahoma City VA Hospital Mental Health Department, the Veterans Center in Oklahoma City or a civilian mental health specialist. We have several private practice doctors who we recommend who are listed on our website.
One hundred and six veterans and surviving spouses made the drive Thursday morning to Goldsby for assistance with VA claims and questions. Of that number, nine veterans received a rating of 100 percent for their service-connected disabilities that were caused by or aggravated by military service.
Shirley and her crew of ladies who assist the surviving spouses helped 19 ladies apply for DIC or pension benefits. Shirley can be reached at 361-9322.
John Carter continues to work on all aspects of the proposed building, from fundraising to design plans. If you have any questions about this proposed facility, John can be reached at 202-1999. A copy of the plans will be available most every Thursday mornings at the Goldsby Community Building.
For those who need food items, Sid Smith has boxes prepared each Thursday.
We have three vans that are used to transport veterans to their VA appointments. One of these is equipped with a wheelchair lift. This van is driven by Howard Martin, of Norman, who can be reached at 227-3239. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dale K. Graham is the Veterans Corner service officer.
Breaking news, severe weather alerts, AMBER alerts, sports scores from The Norman Transcript are available as text messages right to your phone or mobile device. You decide which type of alerts you want to receive. Find out more or to signup, click here.