NORMAN — The Bill and Doann Reed Family Trust has given Veterans Corner a piece of property on which we can build the Community Veterans Center. The acreage, on State Highway 9, two miles west of Interstate 35, will give us visibility and an ease of access for visiting veterans.
This past May, we put a call out for veteran support of this building project, and in 10 weeks, veterans had contributed more than $100,000 toward the goal of just more than $2 million. We will immediately begin our fundraising effort in earnest and encourage all of you to help.
If you have questions about the building plans, call John Carter at 202-1999. Contributions can be mailed to Veterans Corner, P.O. Box #704, Washington, OK 73093. Veterans Corner is a 501(c) 3, nonprofit. All our services are free to veterans.
This week, we are recognizing a couple from Minco that has been with us under a year, yet have already made a difference in the lives of many veterans and surviving spouses. Jim and Cookie Bergin, we want to thank you both for being a part of Veterans Corner.
Cookie works with the surviving spouses of veterans, helping them navigate the VA paperwork that is required to obtain benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Jim works at the front door assisting veterans as they arrive. He also is part of our trailer crew, helping set up the equipment needed each Thursday and then reloading our trailer at the end of business.
Last Thursday morning, more than 100 men and women were helped with their VA claims and questions. Shirley and her crew of ladies provided assistance to 16 surviving spouses. Several of these ladies were widows of Vietnam veterans who died from some of the 15 diseases that are presumptive to exposure to Agent Orange. I suggest that you call Shirley at 361-9322 with any questions you might have.
Six veterans received ratings of 100 percent for their service-connected disabilities. These men and women were seen Thursday by the ladies who provide assistance with the applications for spouse and dependents Champ VA medical insurance and the life insurance forms. Joan Baxter and Gracy Taylor are the volunteers who take care of all of the veterans and surviving spouses who qualify for these benefits.
Volunteers who assist veterans with their first claims for VA benefits helped 16 veterans Thursday.
The benevolence fund was used to provide meals for veterans, transportation expenses, gas cards, medical testing and other approved expenses. We are in the process of changing guidelines on the amount of income that a person has to receive to be eligible for our services.
Currently, we use the federal poverty guidelines in deciding who may qualify for assistance. We know that there are many things that might be causing a financial hardship requiring assistance to those who are slightly above this level.
If you need assistance, call Jerry Baxter at 833-0773 or visit with us any Thursday morning.
For those who need food items, Sid Smith has some prepared each Thursday.
We have three transportation vans that are used to transport veterans to their VA appointments.
One of these is equipped with a wheelchair lift. Clayton Lee, of Dibble, can be reached at 684-8860. Howard Martin, of Norman, who drives the wheelchair-accessible van, can be reached at 227-3239. Robert Root, of Norman, can be reached at 919-3008.
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.
You can call me at 550-8806 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dale K. Graham is service officer of VFW Post 4890.