Veterans Hotline: Hometown Heroes picnic Saturday at City Park |

Veterans Hotline: Hometown Heroes picnic Saturday at City Park

Bill Harding
Bill Harding, Veterans Service Officer
Courtesy Photo

The Hometown Heroes picnic begins at 11 a.m. Saturday at City Park. Setup will start around 8:30 a.m. with tent covers, tables and the podium area.

Lunch will be served after the opening ceremonies and speakers.

Honor flight

The honor flights to Washington, D.C., for World War II veterans, now is on schedule.

A plane has been secured and the trip leaves Aug. 25 from Grand Junction.

The groups coordinating the flight and assistance for the World War II veterans still are looking for and recruiting guardians to assist those vets, who need some help traveling.

Unfortunately, the guardian has to pay their own way and that cost is about $1,000.

If interested, call me.

Memorial Day services

Ceremonies to honor service men and women buried in the area have been scheduled.

A ceremony will take place at 11 a.m. May 25 at the Craig Cemetery on Ashley Road and then at 3 p.m. at the Maybell Cemetery.

Those interested in assisting Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion members place burial flags on veterans’ graves should meet at the cemetery around 5 p.m. May 24.

There also will be a need to retrieve those flags before sunset on Memorial Day. Many hands will make light work.

GOWD parade

The Grand Olde West Days parade will be lead by the veteran’s trailer and flag display.

The parade is scheduled for 2 p.m. May 23. We are asking that all veterans come and ride the “float.”

GI Bill update

The Veterans Affairs Department began accepting applications May 1 for the new, Post-9/11 GI Bill, VA and Defense Department officials said.

The application process for the new program that takes effect Aug. 1 will be fully electronic over a secure Internet connection that can be accessed through the VA’s education benefits Web site.

Early enrollments will allow the VA to work out kinks in a process that is expected to have more than 450,000 people apply for college benefits in the first year of the program.

Calculating payments will be complicated by factors such as the length of active military service since 9/11, number of credits, location of the institution of higher learning, and in the case of private institutions, whether the college or university is taking part in a tuition-reduction program.

Stakes are high for the VA to implement the new program that promises to cover full tuition and fees for attending public colleges and universities, plus provide a monthly living expense, book allowance and other benefits.

Congress, veterans’ service organizations and people wanting to use the new benefits program are all concerned after the VA warned of the difficulty of launching such a sweeping program less than a year after it was signed into law.

The VA had about three years to fully implement the Montgomery GI Bill, the last major change in veterans education benefits that took effect in 1986.

VA officials, including Keith Wilson, who heads the department’s education service, have expressed confidence that the program will launch successfully.

“I am personally committed to ensuring the success of this program, as is every employee working tirelessly on this project,” Wilson said March 25 at a Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing.

All active-duty service members are expected to receive e-mail notifications that the application process has started, VA officials said. Being pre-certified as eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill would make it easier to complete the enrollment process later this summer when the program is fully launched.

While applications are being accepted, some details of the new program remain unknown.

The Defense Department has yet to announce how service members will qualify for a key part of the new GI Bill, transferring unused benefits to a spouse or children.

VA sources said they had hoped transferability rules would be announced before the application process began so active-duty service members would know if they were interested in enrolling even if they were not personally going to use their benefits in the fall.

An unexplained holdup in the Pentagon left a big hole in the benefits plan, but VA officials decided to press ahead with accepting applications and will simply tell applicants that full details still are to come.

Defense Department sources said transfer rights rules have been approved by the services, but final approval has not been received from the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, which reviews regulations.

Sources were reluctant to predict when final rules might be announced. (Source: April 22 Navy Times)

Craig Telehealth Clinic

The Craig Community Telehealth Clinic offers U.S. veterans state-of-the-art technology, as well as onsite nursing support and remote practitioner availability.

The goal is to provide an extensive array of health care services to our veterans in a setting that is 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 still are ongoing for veterans enrolled in the VAMC Healthcare system.

For more information, call 824-6721.

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