By Marsha M. Brown
Happy New Year everybody! We’ve again arrived at a good time in all of our lives when we can be thankful for the blessings we found (or that found us) last year and at the same time anticipate the blessings that will come in 2015! Personally I’m excited especially for our veterans here in Dare County!
First things first…all due respect…please listen up!! Veterans know a lot. You’ve served our country through enlistment or draft; you’ve served stateside and/or on foreign soil; you’ve seen major problems (unfortunately) within the V.A. for years and more recently, you’ve likely heard of changes that have taken place to improve the V.A. – I said ‘likely’ because I know for a fact that some of you are keeping up with those changes and some of you are not.
Over the years those of you who have learned the ‘ins and outs’ of dealing with the V.A. on a personal level have acquired knowledge, information and even contacts that could benefit another veteran. You have also learned how to best accomplish your goals in working with the V.A. and that knowledge could help a ‘brother’ or ‘sister’…because generally veterans listen to veterans. My point to this? The organizations that honor and support you – in turn need you to support them! And…if you’re serious about wanting to learn more and to educate yourselves on what you may be entitled to…step up to the plate and not only join but actually attend the V.F.W. and American Legion meetings!
If you are a member who is inactive…you can still keep in touch and abreast of help that may be available. If you need transportation to the meetings…let your fellow comrades know; if you don’t feel you’re physically able to help…its O.K. there is still plenty that you can do! You, my friends, are vital and by getting involved you could help in many ways with things that don’t include physical labor…like helping make phone calls, searching the Internet…sitting at a booth and collecting donations for Poppies and other tasks as well that are crucial to the success of every Post. As a veteran, YOU are needed and appreciated. Please understand that and get back in the saddle to help each other.
In addition, when you attend the meetings, you find out about comrades in our communities who need help and prayers too. The meetings are also an opportunity to be ‘lifted up’ yourself as you learn of help that has been provided to your fellow veterans.
I don’t mean to sound grumpy and if you know me…or anything about me…you know that I love you all…very much…but come on now…it’s a New Year 2015 and time for change. P-l-e-a-s-e get involved…and if you’re an older veteran…stop sitting at home reminiscing about the ‘days back when’ and get out among your fellow veterans where you can bless them by sharing your stories about friendships, things you’ve experienced and learned through your military service. Continue to stick together…because if anyone understands ‘brotherhood’ it’s you. In 2015 work together toward making things better for all of you who so deserve it.
If you’re currently a member of the V.F.W. Outer Banks Post 10950, you’ve probably met at the 302 W. Lake Drive location which is ‘home’ to the American Legion Fort Raleigh Post 26. However…newsflash! Effective beginning Monday, January 5, 2015 at 7:00 PM our local V.F.W. will meet at the Colington Fire Department located: 108 School House Rd., Kill Devil Hills, N.C. 27948 (for GPS or MapQuest or 1st left after the 2nd bridge going into Colington). I-M-P-O-R-T-A-N-T…PLEASE MAKE NOTE: Each month from now on, the V.F.W. will continue to meet on the 1st Monday in Colington @ 7:00 PM rather than the 3rd Wednesday on W. Lake Dr.). All eligible veterans who have served in foreign wars, who are not currently a V.F.W. member, please take your DD-214 showing Honorable Discharge to the Colington Fire Station this Monday evening and consider joining at a cost of only $35 for annual membership. Since the meeting room is upstairs…no worry, for those with ambulatory problems or wheelchairs…the station has an elevator and ample parking in the front and rear of the building! Also, Billy will be there to issue the Dare County Veteran I.D. Card for those who have their DD-214 and local Driver’s License if you’d like to get yours along with a list of the almost 40 businesses which honor the discount ‘Card’.
Jim Norrell, V.F.W. Post 10950 Quarter Master eagerly invites and urges all veterans who are members of the V.F.W. to join them and hear about the plans they have to further assist veterans and acknowledge your service to our country. If you are a member of a V.F.W. elsewhere but now live in Dare County, please consider moving your membership and supporting our local Post 10950. If you have questions or would like to inquire further about the new meeting location or about membership, you can call Jim at (252) 489-9421.
To be clear…many members of the V.F.W. are also members of the American Legion and will continue to meet with each respective organization as always from this point forward just as they have been especially since the two monthly meeting times varied anyway. And…this change is only positive…not negative in any way, shape or form. It is merely a change that will encourage more attendance, provide additional parking during meetings and give an alternate location for veterans to meet. The interest of the Colington Fire Department and their support of veterans will further enable and encourage veterans to stay in touch, learn about each others needs on a regular basis, continue to build comradary and help grow activities for, about and to benefit veterans who live, work and visit Dare County and the Outer Banks. The gracious offer from the Colington Fire Department for the V.F.W. to meet at their facility was GREATLY appreciated and the V.F.W. hope that all firemen, law enforcement officers and E.M.S. who are veterans of foreign wars will also join.
As many of you know the American Legion Post 26 conducts their monthly meetings every 4th Tuesday at 12:00 noon faithfully serving our veterans for many years. The Post has welcomed vets from not only Dare County but any and all veterans who have sought membership, help and communication with fellow ‘brothers and sisters’ who have served. No mistake about it…the building while small in statue has a big heart for veterans and the members make no bones about letting you know they are there to help a veteran in need. Within the last year and due to the kindness of local businesses and its dedicated Post members, the Post itself has come a long way having created improvements to the inside and outside of the facility for the purpose of more convenience and interest among veterans who attend. Also please note that Post 26 serves to accommodate our American Legion Auxiliary Unit 26 where spouses and family members of our veterans have met and planned fund raising events etc. in the past.
In 2014 the V.A. implemented a new system of helping veterans get medical attention if they live in areas that aren’t close to V.A. medical facilities. In next week’s GIG LINE, I will describe the V.A. ‘Choice Card’ and how it works. If you have questions in the meantime, please refer to Rhonda Creef, Dare County Veteran Service Officer at (252) 475-5604 or call the V.A. at 866-606-8198. In addition, the schedule for obtaining your free Dare County Veterans I.D. Card for area business discounts will also be announced.
Until next time, be happy, be safe and be proud. Our veterans matter. Help your fellow veteran and get involved more than you ever have before. As Billy said, “It’s all about the vets…all about the vets”. If you want to seek the help, care and benefits that you and/or your family may be entitled to…go for it…if you want to disregard what could make a difference in your life…its your choice.
God bless you all and stay tuned…