NORMAN — The volunteer of the week has been with us from the beginning of Veterans Corner. He was instrumental in helping us define what we are: veterans helping veterans.
I’m very pleased to recognize E. J. Branch as a volunteer who has always been with us, ready and willing to do whatever is needed. When we first started, E. J. was the first one to volunteer to take a veteran to his doctor appointments or to take up a collection to help a veteran or surviving spouse.
E. J. and his wife, Linda, make their home in Lindsay.
Veterans Corner has several aluminum wheelchair ramps with hand rails that can be given to veterans, surviving spouses, churches or senior centers. If you know someone who could benefit from one of these ramps, call me at 550-8806.
Last week, I attended the reinstating of DAV Post 61 in Norman. Post Commander Don Taylor has several ways that they hope to help local veterans.
They have a transportation van that will be based at the Norman Veterans Center to be used to transport veterans in the area to their VA medical appointments They are looking for volunteers to drive the van. The point of contacts for volunteer drivers is Eric Anderson at 456-1540 or Dalmar Ives at 412-0694. If you are interested in joining this organization, contact these veterans.
Post 61 also will set up a table at the annual Golden Corral veterans programs, beginning Nov. 1.
One hundred and sixteen veterans and surviving spouses were assisted with their VA claims and questions last Thursday morning. Of that number, six veterans had recently been approved for a 100 percent rating for their service-connected disabilities.
Shirley and her ladies assisted 14 surviving spouses with claims for DIC and pension benefits and one lady for assistance in filing a radiation claim. Several of the ladies recently were approved for DIC payments of $1,250 per month. The pension for surviving spouses may be payable on their income after deducting all medical expenses.
For questions on widows’ benefits, call Shirley at 361-9322.
We have food boxes that are available each Thursday morning. We also assist veterans and surviving spouses with rent and in other necessities.
We have an application process that is required before we can help with any needs. Jerry can be reached at 833-0773, or visit with him Thursday morning at the Goldsby Community Center.
The plan to build a facility where we can provide many other types of services to our veterans and surviving spouses continues in the planning stages. John Carter is our go-to guy for any information you may need about the building plans on State Highway 9 West. He can be reached at 202-1999.
For those who need food items, Sid Smith has food boxes 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, drives the wheelchair accessible van. He can be reached at 227-3239. Robert Root, of Norman, can be reached at 919-3008.
For all of your questions and assistance about veteran’s benefits, we are located at the Goldsby Community Center each Thursday. Doors open at 7 a.m. and sign in sheets are available at 5:30 a.m.
You may send donations to Veterans Corner, P.O. Box 704, Washington, OK 73093.
You can contact me at 550-8806 or by email at kdgraham@windstream.
Dale K. Graham is service officer at VFW Post 4890.