Veteran's Hotline: Local effort underway to make veterans’ lives ‘a little better and little easier’

The ladies at Sunset Meadows I and II are making afghans, caps, scarves and quilts for veterans at the Rifle Nursing Home and Grand Junction VA Medical Center.

They welcome any donations of yarn, Velcro, batting material, bias tape, pillowcases, dowels, pipe cleaners, magnets, or money.

If you have something to donate, please call Kathy Carlton at 826-9943.

You will be helping to make a veteran’s life a little better and little easier and the donations will be greatly appreciated.

VA offering new service for veteran markers

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki recently announced that the VA is offering bronze medallions to attach to existing, privately purchased headstones or markers, signifying a deceased veteran’s status.

“For veterans not buried in a national or state veterans cemetery, or those without a government grave marker, the VA is pleased to offer this option that highlights their service and sacrifices for our country,” Shinseki said.

The new item can be furnished instead of a traditional government headstone or marker for veterans whose death occurred on or after Nov 1, 1990, and whose grave in a private cemetery is marked with a privately purchased headstone or marker.

Under federal law, eligible veterans buried in a private cemetery are entitled to either a government-furnished grave marker or the new medallion, but not both. Veterans buried in a national or state veterans cemetery will receive a government headstone or marker of the standard design authorized at that cemetery.

The medallion is available in three sizes: 5 inches, 3 inches, and 1½ inches in width. Each bronze medallion features the image of a folded burial flag adorned with laurels and is inscribed with the word “Veteran” at the top and the branch of service at the bottom.

Next of kin will receive the medallion, along with a kit that will allow the family or the staff of a private cemetery to affix the medallion to a grave marker, mausoleum or columbarium niche cover.

The VA is currently developing an application form for ordering the medallion. Until it is available, applicants may use the VA form 40-1330 for ordering government headstones and markers. The forms can be picked up at my office.

List helps maintain veteran eligibility

The January 2010 Compensation and Pension Service Bulletin provided a list of naval vessels operating in the waters of Vietnam.

This list was intended to provide regional offices with information to assist with development of herbicide exposure-related disability claims from Navy veterans. The list included vessels that operated primarily or exclusively on the inland “brown water” waterways of Vietnam, as well as large “blue water” vessels that operated temporarily on the inland waterways or docked to the shore.

This list has been updated, and if evidence places a veteran on one of these vessels at the time of inland waterway operations, the veteran is eligible for the presumption of herbicide exposure.

In the case of a ship with confirmed docking to the shore, the veteran must also provide a statement that he went ashore to be eligible for the presumption.

I have a list of the ships that operated primarily or exclusively on the inland waters, and a list of the ships that operated temporarily on Vietnam’s inland waterways or docked to the shore.

If you feel you qualify, come into my office and we will fill out necessary paperwork to apply for compensation.

Honor Flight taking off in October

Another Honor Flight is being arranged for Oct. 5 and 6. Anyone interested in going can find applications in my office.

Craig Telehealth Clinic reminder

The Craig Community Telehealth Clinic offers U.S. veterans state-of-the-art technology as well as on-site nursing support and remote practitioner availability. The goal is to provide an extensive array of health care services to veterans in a setting that is both accessible and professional. To appropriately plan and coordinate your visit, access to the clinic is by appointment only. The clinic cannot handle emergency needs. Flu shot walk-ins are still on-going for veterans currently enrolled in the VAMC Healthcare system. Questions? Call 824-6721.

Tele-psych services now available

Veterans can now get tele-pysch services at the Craig VA Telehealth clinic. All they need to do is call (970) 263-2824 to set up a follow-up appointment for their mental health visit to be done there. If there are any questions, contact Jayne Scribner at VAMC Grand Junction via phone or email.

Her e-mail address is Jayne.Scribner@va.gov

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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