Bill Harding: February is full of historic US dates

Here are important historical veteran and national dates to remember:

• Feb. 12, 1809: Former President Abraham Lincoln's birthday

• Feb 14: Valentine's Day

• Feb 16: Presidents Day, all outpatient VA clinics closed, Battle of Iwo Jima began (1945)

• Feb. 20, 1962: John Glenn completed the first U.S. manned orbit around Earth

• Feb. 22, 1732: Former President George Washington's birthday

• Feb 23, 1991: Desert Storm ground war began

• Feb 27, 1991: Desert Storm ground war ended after 100 hours

VFW senior dinner is at 5 p.m. Saturday

The senior dinner is at 5 p.m. Saturday at the Veterans of Foreign Wars post, 419 E. Victory Way. Doors open at 4 p.m. The main course is spaghetti, salad and garlic bread. A dessert will follow. All Moffat County seniors are encouraged to attend.

Free snow machine ride for military members

There will be a free snow machine trip Feb. 28 for servicemen or women home on leave or just returned from actions in the Middle East. A joint program by the Northwest Colorado Snowmobile Club and Elkhorn Outfitters offers a free snow machine trip on USFS/BLM property near Black Mountain.

The local club, part of the Colorado Snowmobile Association, provides a free one-day snowmobile ride/tour for disabled veterans, active duty personnel home on leave, or family members of active duty military units, Reserves or Guard. If you are such a veteran or a veteran from any other period, register with the NOWECOS's before Feb 23. All RSVPs will be considered, but the riders are limited to about six people at this time. If interested, call Stan Fox at 326-7160, or Dave Watson at 824-7343.

Veterans Cemetery needs funds for services

The Western Colorado State Veterans Cemetery in Grand Junction needs the assistance from private funding sources in order to provide the services for which they are charged. One way to support this site is by the tax checkoff box on the Colorado Income Tax form.

American Legion Post 62 is holding a raffle

American Legion Post 62 is running another fundraising raffle. It will end at the post's bingo session March 28. The drawing is for a .223 caliber Bushmaster AR-15. See any member for tickets or call Mel at the American Legion at 824-3625.

VFW, American Legion meetings held monthly

Just a reminder that the meetings for the VFW and American Legion occur every third week of each month. Both start at 7 p.m. at that organization's post headquarters. The VFW meets on the third Monday, and the Legion meets on the third Tuesday of each month. If you are a member, please attend. If you are eligible to join, drop in and see what these organizations do for the community.

Court of Appeals makes disabilities decision

On Jan. 21, the Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal of Haas vs. Peake.

This action makes final a Court of Appeals decision which holds that VA could deny service connection for herbicide-related presumptive disabilities for certain veterans who received the Vietnam Service Medal but who did not actually set foot in Vietnam.

Those most affected by this ruling are veterans who served in Thailand and on board ships off the coast of Vietnam (blue water navy). On Jan. 22, VA issued instructions in their Memorandum NO. 01-09-03 allowing the resumption of processing of those cases stayed while the Haas case worked its way through the judicial system. The memo includes a summary of actions taken during the case. Source: VFW National Veterans Service Committee msg 26 Jan 09

Web site helps veterans with estate planning

The Web site www.willsforvets.com is dedicated to assisting U.S. veterans in their estate planning. Each member of the Web site team has agreed to provide, on a pro-bono basis, "basic" estate-planning documents to any U.S. veteran upon request. There is also an FAQ page on the site to answer any questions you may have regarding estate planning documents, the information needed to prepare them on your behalf and the protections they provide your family and you. The legal services are provided in appreciation of each veteran's service to our country and protection of our democracy. To obtain assistance, it is necessary to complete the online form at www.willsforvets.com/Contact_Us.html with your basic contact data and a brief description of the assistance you are looking for. You should receive a response within 7 work days identifying a pro-bono attorney who will help you. There is no income level prerequisite, but the services are designed for vets just getting by in today's environment or who are scheduled to be deployed. The main four documents you should have on hand to ensure proper handling of your estate are:

• Written document that sets forth the manner in which you want your assets to pass to your heirs (spouse, children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, etc.) upon death. The document appoints the individual(s) whom you desire to administer (pay your creditors, file final tax return, distribute your assets to your beneficiaries) your estate. Without the document, your state of residence will statutorily determine to whom your assets will pass and who will serve as the administrator (personal representative, executor) of your estate.

• Written instructions in which you designate another individual (the "agent") to make financial decisions on your behalf. The document usually is used in the event that you are rendered incapable of making your own financial decisions, are unavailable or require assistance. The powers granted to the agent may be limited to a particular activity (real estate transaction) or be overly broad (cover everything). The agent's powers may take effect immediately or upon the occurrence of a future event (springing power), and be a temporary or permanent authority to act on your behalf.

• Written instructions that set forth what actions should be taken for your health in the event you are unable to make health care decisions on your own behalf (because of illness or incapacity). The document appoints the individual ("health care surrogate") to make all necessary medical decisions in the event you are unable to express your preferences.

• A living will is written instructions that allow you to determine how you want to be treated in certain medical conditions (given life-sustaining treatments in the event you are terminally ill or injured or provided food and water via intravenous devices). The document also may appoint an individual to make decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so. "Life-sustaining treatment" means the use of available medical machinery and techniques, such as heart-lung machines, ventilators and other medical equipment and techniques that will sustain and possibly extend your life but that will not by themselves cure your condition. In addition to terminal illness or injury situations, most states permit you to express your preferences as to treatment using life-sustaining equipment and/or tube feeding for medical conditions that leave you permanently unconscious and without detectable brain activity.

Washington, D.C., trip for WWII veterans

We still are looking for WWII veterans to go to Washington, D.C., this spring. We also are looking for sponsors to help defray the costs of this program out of Grand Junction's airport. If you have questions, or need an application, call my office from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

Flu shot walk-ins are available for veterans

Flu shot walk-ins still are going on at the Craig VA Telehealth Clinic. Call or stop in and visit with April Branstetter and Robbie Fentress. Vets must currently be enrolled in the VAMC health care system in order to get these shots. Questions? Call 824-6721.

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 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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