NORMAN — A wooden sign saves the place for the future home of a non-profit organization working to help local veterans. The sign sits on six acres of donated land, announcing the new location for Veterans Corner.
Veterans Corner is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, consisting of veterans who work to help other veterans and their families file claims for VA benefits. These benefits include disability compensation, life insurance, loans and other forms of health care. As the website explains, the goal for Veterans Corner boils down to a single idea: “Veterans helping veterans.” But without a proper facility to do so, Veteran’s Corner volunteers have found it’s not that simple.
Every Thursday the veterans meet from 7 a.m. to noon at the Goldsby Community Center, greeted by a long line of people in need of assistance. Veterans, spouses, widows and their children arrive as early as 5:30 a.m. to line up, paperwork in hand.
John Carter, Veterans Corner volunteer and Vietnam veteran, said Veterans Corner volunteers help an average of 130 veterans on any given Thursday. With veterans traveling from states as far away as Florida and California, the demand for assistance is outgrowing their weekly space at the community center.
Long hours are spent sifting through paperwork and online documents; moving through the line one veteran at a time. Close to 100 veteran volunteers dedicate their time to helping other veterans, arriving at the community center in the early morning hours to unload their portable offices.
Construction has not yet begun on the building, but Carter said waiting until proper funds are secured is a process they are willing to hold out for.
“We think we could do a lot more if we had our own facility,” Carter said. “But we want to have the money in hand before we start building.”