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Ed Wilkinson

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Veterans Hotline: Hospital changes and new award for vets

I attended a congressional forum in Grand Junction on Monday. Items of discussion were the progress of a VA hospital in Denver, attendance results of outreach clinics, management updates, an administrative update and a report from customer relations.

Veterans Hotline: United Way donations appreciated

I’d like to thank the following people for designating their contributions to the United Way campaign to Moffat County Veterans: Lance Hammond, Marty Jackson, Kirk Smith, Roy Meats, Jeff Winslow, Kristi Shepherd and Mason Siedschlaw.

Veterans Hotline: Demand cause of delay with pending claims

Many veterans have claims pending for various issues.

Veteran's Hotline: New travel pay rules

Starting March 1, travel pay will be paid to your bank account on a direct deposit basis. The money will go into the same account as your compensation or pension pay. The procedure is as follows: The veteran completes the appointment, then goes to the travel clerk who processes the claim and confirms eligibility. The paperwork is then printed in the cashier cage. The cashier then inputs the information for the EFT (electronic fund transfer).

Veterans Hotline: New Telehealth service offered

The Craig Telehealth Clinic is offering another service to our Veterans. It is called “Tele-Spiritual” with a pastor via the Denver VAMC. If anyone has an interest, please contact the Craig clinic to schedule an appointment at 970-824-6721. There will be brochures out in the near future. In October, the Social Security Administration announced that it would increase SSA benefits by 1.7 percent based on an increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers for the third quarter of 2012.

Veterans Hotline: Veterans Day activities planned

Veterans day is Sunday, Nov. 11. There are various activities planned for the weekend, so please try to attend. Remember, this Friday, Nov. 9, a Veterans Service will take place at the Moffat County High School at 8:45 a.m. Starting at 11:30 a.m., there will be a luncheon hosted by American Northwest Realty for all veterans and their families. The luncheon will be at the American Legion Hall on Moffat County Road 7. On Sunday, Nov. 11, the Thunder Rolls Bowling Center will have free bowling for Veterans starting at 1 p.m. Any proceeds taken in will be donated to the Wounded Warriors program through the Bowlers to Veterans Link.

Veterans Hotline: Deadline nears to apply for special ‘Stop Loss’ pay

The 2009 War Supplemental Appropriations Act established Retroactive Stop Loss Special Pay (RSLSP), providing $500 for each month/partial month served in stop loss status. Service members, veterans, and beneficiaries of service members whose service was involuntarily extended under Stop Loss between Sept. 11, 2001 and Sept 30, 2009 are eligible for RSLSP. To receive this benefit, those who served under stop loss must submit a claim for the special pay. Throughout the year, the services have been reaching out to service members, veterans and their families through direct mail, veteran service organizations and the media. But there is still money left to be claimed, and the deadline is approaching. The average benefit it $3,700.

Veterans Hotline: Small business workshop offered for veterans

There is a free workshop for small business owners who would like to know about getting certified for federal government contracting. This certification would be for the Small Business Administration’s 8(a) Program (socially and economically disadvantaged small business), Historically and Underutilized Zone (HUBZone) Program, and Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Program.

Veterans Hotline: Thanking a local business

On behalf of all veterans, I wish to thank Craig Ford for their help in finding and helping us purchase a newer van to transport veterans to Grand Junction. Jerry Thompson and Burl McMillen went above and beyond to help us get the best for our money and make sure the vehicle is in top condition for the many miles that will be put on it.

Veterans Hotline: Moffat County has new veterans van

We now have the new veterans van. It is a 2006 Freestar and has low mileage. I know this van will last us a long time. If anyone is interested in driving veterans to Grand Junction periodically, contact me and I will give you the information and paperwork to fill out, and then put you on the driving list.

Veterans Hotline: American Legion, Lions Club partnering to host golf tourney

American Legion Post 62 and the Craig Lions Club are sponsoring a golf tournament at 10 a.m. Aug. 13 at Yampa Valley Golf Course, 2179 Colorado Highway 394. The tournament is a shotgun start. There is a $50 per person entry fee, which includes 18 holes of golf and cart.

Veterans Hotline: American Legion, Elks Lodge seeking help with hosting bingo

The American Legion Post 62 and the Craig Elks Lodge are in desperate need of help with bingo on Saturdays. The bingo games are every two weeks with the next one scheduled for July 30. Call Mel Shockley or Jake Garcia at 824-3625 if you would like to participate.

Veterans Hotline: Parade, activities highlight VFW’s Fourth of July offerings

There will be a Fourth of July parade at noon Monday starting at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4265, 419 E. Victory Way. Lineup begins at 11 a.m. Feel free to call Johnny Garcia at 629-3345 for information. The theme for the parade is red, white and blue, and anyone who wishes to enter the parade is more than welcome. All are welcome to walk, or ride anything that moves.

Veterans Hotline: Soldier to receive Medal of Honor

Leroy Arthur Petry, an Army sergeant first class and a Ranger who lost his right hand and sustained shrapnel wounds while throwing a live grenade out of harm’s way, will receive the Medal of Honor from President Barack Obama during a July 12 White House ceremony. Petry earned the honor stemming from a firefight May 26, 2008, in Paktya, Afghanistan. He was assigned to the Joint Base Lewis-McChord-based Company D, Second Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment at the time.

Veterans Hotline: The history of ‘Taps’

Have you ever wondered where “Taps” originated? “Taps” is a 24-note bugle call. It is played by the military at burial and memorial services, when the U.S. flag is lowered, and to signal “lights out” command at the end of the day. While the tune for “Taps” is sad, it also suggests a sense of rest and peace. The origin of “Taps” can be traced back to the Civil War.

Veterans Hotline: Veterans invited to ride on veterans float

All veterans are invited to ride on the veterans float for the parade at 2 p.m. today. Also, Monday’s Memorial Day service will take place at 11 a.m. at Craig Cemetery. There’s another service at 3 p.m. in Maybell. Regulation tidbits The following was taken from U.S. Army regulations in 1861:

Veterans Hotline: A little knowledge goes a long way

I recently returned from a week of training in Denver, so now I know enough to be dangerous. Trivia tidbits: • Peanut oil is used for cooking in submarines because it doesn’t smoke unless heated above 450 degrees.

Veterans Hotline: House committee studying potential VA cutbacks

A plan is being studied by the House Budget Committee to cut $6 billion annually in U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs health care costs by canceling enrollment of any veteran who doesn’t have any service-related medical condition and is not poor. Committee Republicans, searching for ways to curb federal deficits and rein in galloping VA costs, are targeting 1.3 million veterans who claim priority group 7 or 8 status and have access to VA care. Priority group 8 veterans have no service-connected disabilities, annual incomes or net worth that exceed VA means-text thresholds and VA “geographic income” thresholds, which are set by family size.

Veterans Hotline: Honor flight open to World War II veterans

I heard a rumor that the Western Slope Honor Flight was going to take Korean War veterans on its trip to Washington, D.C. This is not true. Maybe sometime in the future this will happen, but the flight going out May 4 and 5 is full and there is a waiting list for the next flight.

Veterans Hotline: Veterans be warned — Veterans Affairs Services scam is back

The scam is back. An organization called Veterans Affairs Services is providing benefit and general information on the Department of Veterans Affairs, and gathering personal information on veterans. This organization is not affiliated with the VA in any way.

Veteran's Hotline: Reminder — Veterans are entitled to benefits

The Craig Veterans Telehealth Clinic wants to remind local veterans that the facility is open to all veterans. Even if you feel others deserve it more remember, you are a veteran and entitled to the benefits. No matter if you have private insurance, you are still eligible for benefits.

Veteran's Hotline: Rifle veterans home staying open

In response to recent news reports, the Colorado Department of Human Services has confirmed that the state veterans home in Rifle is not at risk of closure. Several media outlets around the state reported the veterans home could be forced to close because of financial losses. Not so.

Veterans Hotline: An assistance group comes ‘Out of the Shadows’

There is a new organization starting up called “Out of the Shadows.” It involves veterans helping veterans. Anyone that has been to war has probably changed, and this is a group designed specifically to show that veterans can help other veterans overcome their difficulties.

Veteran's Hotline: Bowling center hosting upcoming flag dedication

There will be a flag dedication ceremony at 3 p.m. Nov. 13 at Thunder Rolls Bowling Center in Craig. Veterans can also bowl from 1 to 5 p.m. for free on that day. The bowling center is also having a raffle for bowling balls.

Veteran's Hotline: A background on the flag

During the National Anthem, everyone should rise and render the proper salute. This includes singing. The colors of the flag have a meaning. White signifies purity and innocence. Red signifies hardiness and valor. Blue signifies vigilance, perseverance and justice. The custom of the 21-gun salute began in the 14th century on the high seas with the salute by cannon.

Veteran's Hotline: Stop-loss bonus pay available

If you qualify for stop-loss bonus, time is running out to apply. Retroactive bonus pay for 145,000 military personnel who were forced to remain on duty beyond their original discharge date following the Sept. 11 attacks are is available. Congress has approved back pay of $500 for each month of involuntary service.

Veterans Hotline: Academy women to be 1st submariners

Female sailors will began serving on submarines by the end of next year, with Naval Academy graduates leading the way.

Veterans Hotline: Caucus delays American Legion meeting

The March 16 American Legion meeting was canceled because of caucus meetings and the post commander having surgery that day. The Legion will meet on its regular day in April, the third Tuesday of every month.

Ed Wilkinson: Post-9/11 GI bill payments require patience

When the post-9/11 GI bill became law in summer 2009, veterans and their families showed up in masses to take advantage of it. As result, Veterans Affairs became clogged with a backlog of claims and only had estimates of exactly how many individuals were using the landmark legislation.

Ed Wilkinson: Potential Marines’ tattoos eyed

This is for all Marines who might re-up. Steps are being taken to ensure that all members know which types of tattoos or brands are appropriate and which are not.


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