Bill Harding: Remember soldiers' sacrifice during the holidays

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I would like to wish this community, all the local veterans and their dependants a very "Merry Christmas."

I also wish all those serving on foreign soil a safe holiday season and the quickest honorable return to their homes and family. Stop and think of their sacrifices sometime during your holiday activities.

Office closure

This Veterans Service Office will be closed Monday and Tuesday for the Christmas holidays.

The office will reopen Wednesday for normal hours until New Year's Day observances.

Transports

As we end this year, our transport load remains high. We have six more transport requests before the end of the year.

We will continue to transport as required, but we have been receiving numerous requests, just a day or two prior, to the appointment in Grand Junction. In order to make these trips cost-effective, we need to take more than one veteran at a time.

We need a least a week's notification so we can double or triple-up if possible. Also, we have made transports for appointments that have been cancelled or changed prior to the trip. It is the veteran's responsibility to insure that we transporting for an active appointment.

If we can't get adequate notification of an appointment, we may have to refuse transport, so that all veterans can continue to be served, not just those who want their trip put ahead of all the rest.

We will work with veterans to reschedule those appointments that can be changed, for the benefit of all, and will make those that require a trip because of doctor or specialized clinic scheduling.

Another issue is scheduling a trip and then repeatedly canceling them. We are to provide a service, but we can't schedule drivers and then cancel because you decide that you aren't going. This includes appointments at the Craig Telehealth Clinic, as well.

Those appointment times are very scarce. If you can't make the visit, then cancel out early in the week so someone else can use the opened clinic visit time.

Craig Telehealth Clinic

While we're talking about the clinic in Craig, here is some additional information to consider. They will continue to honor walk-in flu shot visits until this spring. They have set up schedules to assist with patient load.

These include: mental health visits every Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Podiatry clinics are on a Thursday, once a month, based on the doctor's schedule. The next in Craig is set for today.

Normal Telehealth appointments are scheduled Wednesday and Fridays. INR labs are set up for all day Tuesdays. Lab draws are scheduled for Tuesdays but can be done on Monday, Wednesday or Thursday, if needed.

The Telehealth Clinic will be closed Christmas week from Dec. 24 to Jan. 1. The clinic will reopen at 8 a.m. Jan. 2.

Rio Blanco VSO

Last week, Teresa Anderson, the Rio Blanco County Coordinator, called to say that the former Veterans Service Officer for the Meeker and Rangely communities has left the area. Rio Blanco is advertising for a replacement, but until that is completed, they have asked that Rio Blanco veterans contact this office for assistance with claims and veteran benefit information.

For information on these programs and/or other veterans' benefits, call or stop in the Moffat County VSO office at 480 Barclay St. (west of the Bank of Colorado parking lot).

Call 970-824-3246 or use the fax 970-824-7108.

Our e-mail address is veterans@moffatcounty.net.

The office is open from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Other times can be arranged by appointment only.

Bring a copy of your separation papers (DD-214) for application for VA programs and for filing at our office.

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