NORMAN — Instead of recognizing the volunteer of the week, today I would like to talk about the spouses of those who make the trip to Goldsby. We appreciate the support that each of you give to your husband or wife as they help our efforts to improve the lives of veterans and their surviving spouses. Without your help and support, we would not be able to provide these services to the thousands of men and women who are in need of assistance from volunteers.
Last Thursday morning we were able to help 151 veterans and surviving spouses with their request for assistance with their VA claims and questions. There were nine veterans who received ratings of 100 percent for their disabilities that were caused by or aggravated by military service. We also were able to help 15 to receive a disability rating from 10 percent to 90 percent. Those with a rating at 30 percent and above are eligible to receive extra benefits for their spouse and dependent children. We also were able to assist 21 veterans to file their first claim for VA benefits. These veterans ranged in age from 21 to 93.
There were 15 surviving spouses who were assisted by Shirley and her group of ladies who specialize in DIC or pension benefits. Every week I receive calls from ladies whose lives have been changed for the better because of Shirley and her helpers.
We are seeing some of the Marines who served at Camp Lejuene, N.C., who are suffering from some of the cancers that are presumptive to the chemicals that were in the drinking water there. Last week, I visited with a Marine who had been diagnosed with breast cancer after serving at that base during the early ’70s. We filed for service connection for this disability for him. When we receive a decision from VA, I will be sure to make it available in this column. My advice to all veterans and surviving spouses is to visit with us about possible VA benefits. You can also use the Internet to research your questions about possible exposure to either chemicals or radiation.
The benevolence fund was used last week to assist several veterans and surviving spouses with household expenses, medical expense, transportation and food items. We continue to except donations of cars, trucks and handicapped items that can be given or sold to fund our programs. When a donation is made we will give you a receipt that you fill in the market value of the donated item. Jerry Baxter is in charge of the benevolence fund and can be reached at 833-0773.
Sid Smith has prepared food boxes that also are available each Thursday morning. Sid can be reached at 573-1990.
Clayton Lee, 684-8860, and our other transportation drivers provide rides to veterans to the Oklahoma City VA Hospital for their appointments. If you need a ride or know a veteran who does, contact Clayton to set up a driver. For the Norman area veterans can call Harold Martin at 227-3239 or Robert Root at 919-3008. For the Moore area, call Howard Robertson, 205-4895.
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.
Take time to visit www.veteranscorner.org. If you would like to be a veterans corner sponsor we are a 501(C)(3) where your donations should be tax deductible. You may send donations to Veterans Corner, P.O. Box 704 Washington, OK 73093.
You can contact me at 550-8806 or email email@example.com.
Dale K. Graham is service officer for VFW Post 4890.