By Marsha M. Brown
If my late veteran husband and ’sweetie pie’ Billy were still here he’d no doubt tell me…”O.K. Marsha, they get it…they know you loved me…they know it was an inoperable brain tumor that took me out but you have to move on and write GIG LINE about news and information veterans don’t know or that they needto know.”
And of course and as always, he would be right…but after writing so much about veterans (especially Billy) over these last few years, GIG LINE habitually epitomizes solid, honorable men and women who love our country…the country which compelled them to serve proudly, bravely and generously…and that always brings me back to Billy. Writing about him gives me joy and comfort, so I can’t help but feel inspired to pay him homage at the onset of every column.
Yesterday all day and last night too I thought about Billy and about you all too just wondering what more I can do to help you, encourage you and embrace you. I so commend your service whether you enlisted or were drafted; your personal contribution and sacrifice whether you fought on a battlefield or a dessert, in a jungle or never saw combat and I look up to you with the deepest respect. I hope and pray to see solid changes within the V.A. and our government overall that will catapult you to where you need to be for timely health care, benefits, and or entitlements. You all so deserve it.
The Dare County Veterans Advisory Council meet monthly every 4th Thursday 3PM in the Dare County Administrative Bldg., Rm. 168 (1st room to the left of receptionist) at 954 Marshall C. Collins Dr., Manteo. The public is welcome and encouraged to attend.
Speaking of the Council, two of the three seats most recently filled through appointment by the Dare County Board of Commissioners are Mr. Russell Laney and Charles Read, Jr. who filled the positions of former members Dale Draper (Southern Shores) U. S. Marine Corp and Lynda Hester (Manteo) U. S. Coast Guard. The third member to complete the seven member slate is Carl Reiber (Nags Head) U. S. Army to fill a vacancy due to the passing of my husband Billy Brown (Manteo) U. S. Army. I hope everyone congratulates the gentlemen not only for their service to our country but for continuing to serve fellow veterans every day.
The Outer Banks Seafood Festival – Saturday, October 15, 2016 10:30am – 6:00pm presents an ideal opportunity for local veterans to obtain their Dare County Veteran I. D. Card. Please bring your DD-214 showing HONORABLE discharge and your local Driver’s License to the Festival and look for the Dare County Veterans Advisory Council booth. The process takes only about 10 minutes and the ‘Card’ will entitle the holder to discounts at nearly 60 business locations on the Outer Banks. Besides that, the event itself offers a lot of family fun featuring great food, entertainment and crafts. So, if you haven’t obtained your ‘Card’ by then, please make it a point to get yours that day. Also, the event will enable you to conveniently meet local members of the Outer Banks V.F.W. Post 10950 and the American Legion Post 26 and inquireabout your new membership or transferring your current membership if you haven’t already!
If you cannot locate your original DD-214, you can either go online at www.va.gov to request a replacement or you can contact Rhonda Creef, Dare County Veteran Service Officer at (252) 475-5604 to schedule an appointment so she can help you. Rhonda will always do her best to accommodate you but if you can make an appointment in advance of your visit to her office which is also located at the Dare County Administrative Bldg., 954 Marshall C. Collins Dr., Manteo, she’ll be happy to help you. Personally? I suggest you make the appointment to sit down and discuss possibilities for a claim or potential benefits that you may not know you are eligible for. A visit with Rhonda could help you tremendously.
Thank you to the local townships for their recent E-Newsletters or postings with information regarding the veterans discount ‘Card’. Council member phones have been steadily ringing from veterans about information on how to obtain one…so, your efforts are paying off for our vets and we thank you! We’re reaching our initial goal of getting the ‘Card’ into the hands of 500 local veterans, so please keep helping the Council spread the word.
Keep posted on the Dare Arts Council www.darearts.org calendar for veteran related events coming up this fall. In particular, note the date for the Outer Banks Veterans Writing Workshop (Saturday, Nov. 5th & Sunday, Nov. 6, 2016) at the U.N.C. Coastal Studies Institute on Roanoke Island which I can tell you are truly wonderful. Billy attended several and he really enjoyed the classes. The instructor guides you on the value and benefit of writing your military experiences on paper (or on a computer) and he encourages you to do with your writings as you see fit…keep them in a box in your closet, shred them immediately after writing/printing them or make an attempt to publish them. Those feelings, observations and experiences unique only to you are just that…unique and worthy to be written and utilized at your discretion…it’s your choice. The classes have grown in popularity and you are invited to apply for a seat now. For more information call (252) 473-5558 soon. The class instructor is scheduled to be retired Air Force Chief Master Sergeant James Matthews who is also a professional writer.
In the next GIG LINE, Sunday, August 28th I’m going to address an issue that I have only referenced a few times in the past years. It’s sensitive and touchy but important and necessary, especially now.
In the coming months, I’ll provide info on other important events and celebrations of veterans, so please stay tuned to GIG LINE (The Coastland Times) every Sunday. For now though…be happy, be safe and be proud…especially of yourselves! And if you know of a veteran who needs help, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at (252) 202-2058. I miss my Billy and I love you all. God bless you and by all means stay tuned.