Richard Stroud

Grove Sun

GROVE- As Memorial Day approaches, the nation’s attention turns to veterans who have served our country in times of war.

With that in mind, now is an appropriate time for the arrival of the Disabled American Veterans’ Mobile Service Office.

The Office travels around the state on two tours a year to various cities and towns around Oklahoma. The goal of the tours is to get information to as many veterans and their families as possible about how to apply for benefits.

“We get the word out and help veterans file for benefits,” National Service Officer Mark Moore said. “Our whole mission is to help veterans and their families.”

Moore, who is based at the Veterans Administration’s Regional Office in Muskogee, is being accompanied on this tour by Lonnie Anderson of the DAV’s Houston office. So far the duo have traveled to Stillwater, Ponca City and Dewey, with a stop at Tahlequah still to come.

“You never know how many people will show up,” Moore said. “Usually we get 15-30 people, but I’ve been to places where we’ve had to turn people away.”

In order to let veterans know of the Mobile Service Office’s arrival, the DAV mails a letter to each veteran within a 25-mile radius of the set up site.

“We have a list of every veteran in the area,” Anderson said. “So we send them a letter ahead of time telling them of our arrival.”

Once the veterans arrive, they receive information on what the DAV can do for them. The DAV helps veterans and their families file claims with the Veterans Administration for death and injury benefits, education benefits and others. The officers also provide seminars and a question and answer session.

In addition to new claims, the DAV enables veterans to check the status of their claim or to file an appeal.

“We do hearings with VA judges directly either by videoconference or in person,” Moore said.

In addition to helping with the paperwork, the DAV provides transportation for veterans to hospitals and clinics for treatment. The DAV has a fleet of vehicles along with volunteer drivers to provide the transportation.

In addition to the trips around the state, Moore said his office in Muskogee is busier than ever. The office currently has a backlog of 1500 videoconference appeals waiting to be heard by VA judges in Washington, D.C.

“We do about 200 interviews in the Muskogee office per month,” Moore said. “And we get about 250-300 calls per day.”

You can get more information about the DAV and the services it provides by going to www.dav.org or by calling (918) 781-7764.