Celebrating and commemorating our veterans. United States military veterans and their families.

Veterans Health and Agent Orange – Gig Line #118

GIG LINE

By Marsha M. Brown

To all veterans who have served in Vietnam, please call to schedule an appointment to have an Agent Orange health screening done at the V.A. Hampton Medical Center in Hampton, VA. The numbers to call: (757) 722-9961 ext. 7741 (Jeff Pearson, Integrator   Rural Health Initiative) or ext. 7734 (Eddie Hughes). Either Jeff or Eddie would be happy to help you and/or answer your questions. Remember, if you cannot drive to Hampton yourself, you might want to consider calling the Dare County Transportation office at (252) 475-5640 to schedule the round trip to Hampton and back for only $14.00 in one of their comfortable wheel chair accessible vans. Important to note: the vans travel to Hampton only on Tuesday and Thursday; the Transportation Office needs a 48 hour notice in advance of departure from Dare County the day of your appointment; please schedule your appointment time at the Medical Center in Hampton between the hours of 8:00 AM – 12:00 noon. Also, if you would like to meet with our local Veterans Administration Service Officer, please call Rhonda Creef at (252) 475-5604 and schedule an appointment with her for a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. Her office is at the Dare County Administrative Building (middle building at the Dare County complex facing the Courthouse) at 954 Marshall C. Collins Dr., Manteo to discuss submitting a claim, obtaining a replacement copy of your DD-214 and any other questions you may have regarding your service and/or potential benefits. Rhonda asks for advance appointments vs. a walk in due to the high volume of veterans she’s currently helping and in order to have ample time to devote to you.

There are several reasons you should have the A.O. screening done. First, it would help you determine if any of the medical conditions you are now being treated for is related to exposure to Agent Orange (or Dioxin); secondly, if you are suffering from a medical condition as a result of your service, you may be due compensation, medications and/or treatment as a result and lastly, it could help the Veterans Administration gather pertinent documentation and catalog when, where, how long and what your duties were in Vietnam for future reference perhaps helping other veterans with future health care claims.

Also, once you arrive for your screening you will be asked if you would like for your spouse to also be present during the exam. Some veterans prefer the presence of their spouse and others do not but it is your choice. The screening encompasses not only the physical but also aspects that relate to P.T.S.D. (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and once the exam is completed and blood work, x-rays etc. are evaluated, you should be contacted further for recommended treatment, medications, further follow up and referrals if necessary. My understanding is that in most cases the exam cost to you could be $15.00 unless additional medical exams/evaluations are needed beyond the scope of the initial exam.

As a Dare County resident veteran, you are entitled to acquire a Dare County Veteran I. D. Card that entitles you to discounts at over 30 local businesses. The businesses that wish to honor you typically offer 10% and some up to 20% off your individual purchase. All that you’re required to do is to show your DD-214 indicating your discharge from the service was under Honorable conditions and a copy of your Driver’s License showing Dare County residency. If you don’t drive but have other proof of residency, that will also be accepted. The ‘Card’ is issued by a member of the Dare County Veterans Advisory Council and no copies are made or kept of your DD-214 or Driver’s License, they are only reviewed. Also, there is no charge for the ‘Card’. You will also be provided with a list of the businesses that participate and the list is growing. Discounts at ACE Hardware, Kellogg’s Supply and many restaurants, auto parts stores etc. for example will help you save money and with routine work days and the holidays coming discounts are helpful! Each Wednesday between 10:00 AM – 12:00 Noon, you can find Billy at the American Legion Post 26 located 302 W. Lake Dr., Kill Devil Hills, N.C. 27948 (also where the V.F.W. Post 10950 meet monthly) and obtain your I.D. Card.

If you’re interested in joining or transferring your current memberships to the local veteran organizations, please do so. They would welcome and appreciate your interest and support. For more info about that please contact American Legion Post 26 Commander Clarence Lewis at (252) 305-1934 and/or V.F.W. Quarter Master Jim Norrell at (252) 489-9421 or you’re welcome to call my sweetie pie Billy Brown Officer in both organizations at (252) 202-0798. These gentlemen along with other members are working tirelessly at growing the much respected veteran groups. If you wish to obtain your Veteran I.D. Card for business discounts, contact Billy and he’ll do his best to schedule a time to meet you and accommodate to issue your ‘Card’ as best he can. All seven Veterans Advisory Council members very much want to get this I.D. Card in your hands…so please take the time to acquire yours. Also the Legion Hall is a great place to pick up information/materials relating to veteran benefits and Agent Orange as well as other aspects of your military service.    

Many really nice local events will be forthcoming between now and Veteran’s Day Tuesday, November 11, 2014 in which to honor, praise and celebrate our Dare County veterans. As the special events draw nigh, I will have them listed in ‘GIG LINE’ for your reference. Please make plans to attend each one that you are able to because each event is dedicated to you and your families. And of course, it’s always nice to see you, hug your neck and thank you again for all that you have done for us.

‘GIG LINE’ typically includes stories or references on a personal level, however, on occasion its important to just get down to brass tacks and address specifics. You are important…what you have done for us in serving our nation is not forgotten even though at times you probably feel that it is. Please know that our Dare County citizens and families across the United States thank you, praise you and pray for you each day.

Until next time, be happy, be safe and be proud…you have a lot to be proud of and as always, we thank you. If we can be of help, please call me at (252) 202-2058. Thank you for keeping in touch. God bless you all and stay tuned…

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Marsha M. Brown has been writing a weekly Gig Line since 2012.  Marsha is the widow of Vietnam War, U.S. Army, veteran Billy Brown of Manteo, NC.  She was instrumental in establishing the Dare County Veterans Advisory Council and maintains an active role in the veteran community. You can reach Marsha with questions or suggestions at [email protected].  Have a story to tell or a veteran to feature? She would love to hear from you!

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