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Ed Wilkinson

Stories by Ed

Veteran's Hotline: Medical treatment options changing

Remember importance of Veterans Day

Nov. 5. will be the activation date for the Veterans Choice Act. This pertains to the 40-mile, 30-day requirements for Veterans to receive care outside of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs under certain conditions.

Veteran’s Hotline: Saluting the American flag

There will be a flu clinic at the Steamboat Springs Community Center in mid to late September. There will also be flu shots available at the Craig Telehealth Clinic this month. The dates for these will be posted when the vaccine arrives.

Veteran’s Hotline: ID cards still available

Fellow veterans, the new ID cards are still being issued. I received mine and they transfer your old picture onto the new card, so no photograph is needed. As I stated in my last article, your Social Security number is not on the new card. This is an added plus because someone could scan your old card with their cellphone and that would leave you open to identity theft.

Ed Wilkinson: Veteran identification cards are easy, secure

The Department of Veterans Affairs has new and more secure Veteran Health Identification cards, according to the department. The cards have a different look along with new security features.

Veteran's Hotline: Non-VA emergency care fact sheet

A medical emergency is an injury or illness that is so severe that without immediate treatment, it threatens your life or health. If you think your life or health is in danger, your situation is an emergency.

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: VA seeks to expand TBI benefits

Attn Military personnel returning from Iraq or Afghanistan: The Department of Veterans Affairs is publishing a proposed regulation in the Federal Register that would change its rules to add five diagnosable illnesses, which are secondary to service-connected Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) “We must always decide Veterans’ disability claims based on the best science available, and we will,” Secretary of veterans Affairs Erik K. Shinseki said. “Veterans who endure health problems deserve timely decisions based on solid evidence that ensure they receive benefits earned through their service to the country. VA proposes to add a new subsection to its adjudication regulation by revising 38 CFR 3.310 to state that if a Veteran who has a service-connected TBI also has one of the five illnesses, then the illness will be considered service connected as secondary to the TBI.

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: State VFW officers to host benefits meeting in Craig

Veterans of Foreign Wars state veterans service officers will be hosting a town hall meeting from 4 to 7 p.m. Nov. 15 at the VFW in Craig, 419 E. Victory Way. All veterans are invited. The state officers will discuss veterans’ benefits. There will be a notice about this event in the Craig Daily Press at a later date.

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.

Vet hotline: Craig clinic offering flu shots to veterans

The Craig Veterans Telehealth Clinic will be sending out postcards reminding veterans about getting their flu shot. The vaccine is in, so you can drop in and get a shot.

Honor Flight seeking WWII veterans for final flight

The Western Slope Honor Flight is continuing to actively search for World War II veterans interested in going on the final flight of the program, scheduled for Sept. 21 and 22 to Washington, D.C. Seats are still available for veterans from the Western Slope and Eastern Utah interested in visiting the memorials built and dedicated in their honor.

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: 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: New VA committee chairman against adding costs to veterans

I hope everyone had a nice Christmas and a great beginning to 2011. Everything slows down at the end of the year, so I haven’t written any articles for a while. Let’s start the new year with this quote from Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla.: “With the (Veterans Affairs) budgets rising dramatically in recent years, it’s time for Congress to check if those extra billions of dollars are being spent wisely,” Miller said.

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.

Veterans Hotline: VA sets new goals for veteran claims

Below are excerpts taken from an interview with Eric Shinseki, secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs: The VA will have “no claim over 125 days and a 98-percent accuracy rate,” Shinseki told thousands of Legionnaires. “Our average is now 160 days. Our goal is not to average 125 days. Our goal is no claim over 125 days, with 98-percent accuracy.” Two recent developments have arisen, though: The easing of proof requirements for veterans seeking VA benefits for post-traumatic stress disorder and the addition of three diseases to those VA presumes were caused by exposure to the toxic defoliant Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.

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.

Veteran's Hotline: New VA hospital being constructed in Denver

Today is National POW/MIA Recognition Day. If you have a function this week, please take a moment to remember these soldiers and their families.

Veteran's Hotline: Helpful reminders on proper flag etiquette

With the Homecoming Parade coming up, here is a reminder and some general information about flag protocol: • When carried in a procession, the flag should be to the right of the marchers. • When other flags are carried, the flag of the U.S. may be centered in front of the others or carried to their right. • When the flag passes in a procession, or when it is hoisted or lowered, all should face the flag and salute. • To salute, all people come to attention.

Veteran's Hotline: ‘Operation Welcome Home’ could face funding struggles

In California, the governor launched “Operation Welcome Home.” This $20 million program is designed to help veterans transition from battle to the home front. The governor said, “We are doing more than thanking them. We are showing them our gratitude through our actions.”

Veterans Hotline: American Legion raffling Thompson replica

If you have not bought a raffle ticket for the .45-caliber, semi-automatic weapon that American Legion Post 62 is raffling, you only have today to purchase them.

Veterans Hotline: A brief history on the Pledge

The original Pledge of Allegiance was written by Francis Bellamy. It was first given wide publicity through the official program of the National Public Schools Celebration of Columbus Day, which was printed in the Youth’s Companion of Sept. 8, 1892, and at the same time sent out in leaflet form to schools throughout the country.

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.

Veterans Hotline: Veterans and health care reform

Many veterans have questions about the new health care reform law. The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) offers information about the law and its impact on veterans.

Veteran's Hotline: A word on the flag, Memorial Day

For the veterans who rode in the Saturday parade, the patriotism shown by spectators made us feel proud, especially when we saw little kids place their hand over their heart or salute when the flag passed by.

Veteran's Hotline: Veterans — The reason for our free country

Have a great Memorial Day weekend and remember our fallen veterans

Veteran's Hotline: At the end of the day, we're all one nation

May is designated as National Military Appreciation Month, and is an important month for those who serve.

Ed Wilkinson: Denver street to be named after Navy Seal

South Santa Fe Drive in Denver will be renamed Petty Officer Danny Dietz Memorial Highway on Aug. 17 in a ceremony honoring the Navy Seal who was killed in Afghanistan in 2005 in a gun battle with Taliban forces.

Veterans Hotline: Defining a veteran

In general, a veteran is anyone who served in one of the branches of the Armed Forces or was granted veteran status by the U.S. government.

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: Mourning the late Bill Harding

News and notes for Moffat County area veterans.

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.