Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Jan/Feb/Mar 2014 DAV Newsletter

Northwest Oklahoma - Chapter 66
202 W. Walnut Ave
Enid, OK 73703
Next DAV Meeting
1900 on Tuesday, May 13, 2014
at The Depot (202 W. Walnut Ave)
Chapter 66 Officers
Jim Stark
Sr. Vice Commander
Don Eck
Jr. Vice Commander
Leisa Leonard
Michael Hassler
Sam Justice
Judge Advocate
Craig Vance
Michael Hassler
Executive Committee
Michael McCauley
Executive Committee
“Red” Layman
Executive Committee
Earnie Kincade
Executive Committee
Bill Washburn
Al Gardner
Officer of the Day
Jack Seckman
2014-2015 Elections will be held during our June 2014 Meeting!
Your vote counts!
A big THANK YOU to our Chapter Service Officers:
Don Eck
                    Craig Vance
Mike McCauley
                    Jim Stark
Cecil Bledsoe
It is the first of April and Tax time is here. There have been many sad times. On the other hand there have been many more happy times. So let us all focus on the good and let the bad fade into the past.
We have the prospects of a wonderful year ahead so here’s to hoping it becomes the best year yet!
In July of last year, the City of Enid gave us a new building; the Santa Fe Train Depot . With the new building came new obligations, and responsibilities. We have an obligation to maintain the building, and surrounding landscapes. We hope that the money we make from renting the building out to various groups throughout the year will be enough for us to stay on top of maintenance of our new building. The City Council of Enid is working out the details of the contract so we can get a brand new roof put on our building. We wish to express our gratitude, and humbly thank the people of Enid, and the city fathers who have made this all possible.
We started a new system last year and this year we will try another new system… paperless VA Claims processing! Our CSOs and trainees will be heading off to Service Officer training in June.
Annual elections will be on June 10th. To our chapter members in the panhandle that we so rarely see, I ask that you join us in this once a year event.  I know it is a long way to drive for some of you and it would probably be an overnight stay.  I would also like to extend an invitation to all past Chapter Commanders to join us for the election and installation of the officers for 2014/15. Your knowledge and participation in all matters, whether it is elections, fund rising, or just general issues is greatly needed.
Our auxiliary is doing a fine job feeding us after the meetings.  We wish to thank them and their leader for all the good food and help. How did we ever make it without them!
Our upcoming second annual Golf Tournament will be on 3 May. I hope to see you all there!!! We are still looking for sponsors. Any and all donations are welcome!!!
Commander, NW OK DAV Chapter 66,
James Stark
Balances (as of 31 March 2014):

Checking Fund: $7,659.73                                      Capital Improvement Fund: $2,972.14
Transportation Fund: $11,429.94                               Depot Fund: $875.00
These two changes will be read at the May 13th and June 10th Chapter meetings. A vote to approve the changes will be done June 10th in conjunction with our annual officer elections.
1) The first change is one recommended by our Chapter leadership to enable us to be more flexible is using the personnel talent available. Our Bylaws currently restrict who can be appointed as our Chapter Adjutant.  With this change, any member except the Chapter Commander may be appointed as Adjutant.
Change Section 3 to read:  “The Chapter Commander may not serve as Chapter Adjutant. Any other member may be appointed as Chapter Adjutant.” Delete Section 4 and renumber remain sections
2) The second is a change we have been directed to make by the DAV National Judge Advocate. It is a practice that we follow anyway so it does not change the way we have been operating.
Add new Section 1:  All checks shall be counter-signed by the Treasurer and another officer of the Chapter.
In the past 6 months the Chapter has volunteered over 8,780 hours, driven 51,456 miles, transported 626 veterans to the VA medical center, and filed 162 claims. All of this assistance is funded by donations received from businesses and private citizens so we can provide free assistance to veterans and their families.
This month the auxiliary will be holding elections. If you are a member, please plan on attending. The meeting is always on the second Thursday of the month at 3:00pm at 202 W. Walnut Ave.
The American Creed
          “I believe in the United States of America, as a government of the people, by the people, for the people, whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed; a democracy in a Republic; a sovereign nation, and many sovereign states; a perfect union, one and inseparable, established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes.
          I therefore believe it my duty to my country to love it, to support it, and support its Constitution, to obey its laws, to respect its Flag, and to defend it against all enemies”
                                                                             William Tyler Page
Yours truly,
Joan Stark, Auxiliary Commander
In 1 Samuel 17:31-39 we read the story of David and Goliath. Here was a shepherd boy—just a youth—who finds himself pitted against the giant Goliath. Goliath would have been about 8 foot tall, and David just a puny runt!! The beginning of the story would make the strongest of us recognize the challenge, for Goliath had never been defeated.
And while David fought for the Army of God, I cannot imagine him not having some qualms once he saw the giant approaching. But he knew his strength was in the truth of God. David, in spite of his qualms, still knew he would emerge triumphant. And so this slight lad went into battle convinced of his calling and determined to pursue the battle until he won the day.
Unfortunately, the need for DAVid still exists. I play upon both our title the DAV, and the name of David. When our Chapter Service Officers sit at their desks and have a veteran come to them, they know they must fight for the veteran who has already hit some snags enroute to their being qualified for a disability because of their service.
Unfortunately, it is popular to trot out support for the truth for those in the heat of battle. But for those who have fought the battle, and have returned home, there is little in the way of support except for Veterans Organizations. And our local DAVid stands foursquare at the center of that support. Our success rate is high, and it only occurs with your support.
The task for our DAV members is to support our Service Officers as they engage the very powers that sent the service member into the fray in the first place. How ironic that those who assigned the veteran to the field, would fight so ferociously against the facts that find the veteran in need and the service unwilling to support their recovery as well as their service. So let us stand on another field of battle now. Let us support our service officers of the DAVid as they go forth armed with truth, and empowered by their own service. The future of a multitude of wounded warriors depends upon their winning the claim. And they can only do that with our support.
Sam Justice, Chaplain  (580-478-2840)
News for All Veterans
Oklahoma Veteran’s News
Several veteran friendly bills are moving through the Oklahoma House and Senate.  I encourage you to contact your Senator and Representative and urge passage of the following bills:
SB 1223: OK post 9/11 GI Bill provides increased education benefits to 100% disabled Oklahoma Veterans SB 1585 & SB 1970: Restructures the Oklahoma War Veterans Commission and changes the name to the Oklahoma Veterans Commission. SB1610: eliminates distinction between wartime and non-wartime veterans for state benefits. SB1777: protects the right to smoke for resident veterans at the Oklahoma Veterans Centers until Jan 1, 2018.
Non VA Emergency Medical Treatment
There have been a number of recent cases where veterans have gone to a non-VA medical facility for emergency treatment resulting in an extended “battle” with VA over payment of the medical bills.  There are several rules to follow:
1. It is the veteran’s responsibility to call your assigned VAMC within 72 hours of ER treatment or hospital admittance. Make a next day follow-up call if the initial was after hours/ weekend/ holiday.  Keep a record of names, dates, and times of all calls and correspondence between the veteran and the VA.  Make sure your next-of-kin or care provider knows this procedure in case you're admitted comatose or delirious.  For those of you in the Oklahoma City VAMC area, the number to call is 405-456-4363.
2. Check with the treating facility billing department to see if they will bill VA directly or if they will bill you.  Claims for the Enid area will be sent to: VISN 16 CFU, PO Box 320394, Flowood, MS 39232. For information on a specific claim being processed, call 601-933-7700. Neither the Enid VA clinic nor the VAMC in Oklahoma City can assist with these non-VA emergency treatment claims.
3. Make sure you meet all the due dates for submission of doctor/hospital bills. I suggest all bills and correspondence be sent certified mail, signature return receipt requested.
4. Do not expect quick resolution of your claim. It will probably take several months for your claim to be settled.
Limbs for Life
Chapter 66 has partnered with Limbs for Life to collect used prosthetic limbs and devises for refurbishment. If you or someone you know has a prosthetic limb that is no longer in use, please contact the office so we can arrange pick up or delivery. Limbs for Life is a global nonprofit organization that provides financial assistance to amputees who cannot afford prosthetic limbs and raises awareness of the challenges facing amputees. These refurbished prosthetics are then donated for use in other countries. Limbs for Life can financially assist United States citizens from all 50 states. For more information on Limbs for Life in OKC, please go to or call (888) 235-5462.
Scholarship Information:
There are several college scholarships available to veterans and their dependents. The DAV and DAVA members and dependents are eligible to apply for the TJ Davis College Scholarship.  Due date is July 1. Veterans and their dependents are eligible to apply for the Oklahoma Veterans Council Scholarship. Due dates for both these scholarships is July 1st. Applications for both of these are available at our office.  If you know of other scholarships available to local veterans and their families, please let us know.
Donating Via IRA:
The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 included charitable IRA legislation that allows donors ages 70 1/2 and older to move up to $100,000 a year from an IRA directly to an eligible charity, including the DAV, without having to pay income taxes on the money. You may contribute funds this way if: you are 70 1/2 or older; your total IRA gifts do not exceed $100,000 in a tax year; you have the IRA custodian transfer funds directly to the charity; and you designate the gift outright to the qualified charity. For more information, contact your IRA custodian. For details about the donating to NWOKDAV, email or call 580-278-1377.
Some of our faithful members do help out when needed. HOWEVER, for those of you who haven’t please consider the following.
When you are watching that TV rerun that you’ve seen for the 3rd time or you catch yourself taking a nap that will keep you up late that night or you just don’t know what you can do to keep yourself entertained; how about donating a couple of hours to your local chapter of the Disabled American Veterans. There are 4 or 5 members that donate 15 to 25 hours a week that could use your help doing different tasks that anyone could do. Give us a call, (580) 242-3808, should you wish to help us serve Veterans that need our help by performing any number of tasks necessary to accomplish day-to-day operations or help prepare for fundraisers.
For those of you of the Christian persuasion there are a couple of scriptures that sometimes motivates me to step out of my comfort zone and do good for others. James 4:17:  “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.” And Philippians 4:13:  “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” [Both scriptures are from the New King James Version]
Michael Hassler, Treasurer
TPI provides all printing for our newsletter
Call 580-234-1267 for employment opportunities
Vets' valor now etched in MoH monument:
Three Afghanistan veterans whose battlefield bravery earned them the nation's highest military honor received new recognition Wednesday. Three Afghanistan veterans whose battlefield bravery earned them the nation's highest military honor received new recognition Wednesday when their names were unveiled on the state Capitol's Medal of Honor monument in Olympia, Washington. Their names were the first added to the 11-foot-tall stone obelisk in Olympia since 2007, and the first from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Medal of Honor recipients Capt. William Swenson of Seattle, Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Petry of Steilacoom and Staff Sgt. Ty Carter of Yelm sought to turn the attention from their own accomplishments to the service of fellow veterans. "We represent all service members," said Swenson, who received his medal last year. "We represent what every soldier, sailor, airman and Marine is capable of." The three men are part of an exceptionally elite group among the 2.6 million people who served in the recent wars. Only six living military service members have received the medal for heroism in Afghanistan.
As military downsizes, many returning vets head to college:
After five years in the Marines, including a tour in Afghanistan in which he saw buddies die in combat, Andrew Kispert found going back to college as a new veteran one of his biggest challenges yet. For starters, there was the strangeness of resuming civilian life. There's a surge coming to America. Tens of thousands of new veterans are expected to return to the workforce or to college in the next several years as the military downsizes after wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and as the Pentagon budget is pared back.
Giving Back:
Many incarcerated veterans are either forming, or have formed, veterans clubs in prisons and they are giving back. Veterans at one facility crochet an American flag for the family of every fallen soldier in Oklahoma and they use the remnants to crochet hats and scarf’s for children of the fallen soldiers,  at another the veterans crochet lap blankets for veterans in wheel chairs, and yet veterans at another prison give the products from their garden to the families that are in need.  Veterans in many of our Oklahoma prisons give back something to the veterans and to the community as a way of showing their gratitude to veterans and to the communities where they are located. The amazing thing is that they receive little or no donations for their work; they use their own funds to purchase product to produce what they give.
H.R. 1855, the “Veterans’ Traumatic Brain Injury Rehabilitative Services’ Improvements Act of 2011,” if enacted, would ensure that long-term rehabilitative care becomes a primary component of health-care services provided to veterans who have sustained traumatic brain injury (TBI). “This bill will address the intricacies associated with TBI and help veterans and their families sustain rehabilitative progress,” Blake, the National Legislation program director for paralyzed veterans said.
Two bills involved veterans’ service dogs—H.R. 1154, the “Veterans Equal Treatment for Service Dogs Act,” and H.R. 198, the “Veterans Dog Training Therapy Act.” H.R. 1154 would prevent the VA from prohibiting the use of service dogs on VA property. “Service dogs are indispensible for many veterans,” Blake said, “and they have been proven to be beneficial for veterans dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues.
Sanders Welcomes Progress on VA Backlog:
On April 1st Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) welcomed the significant progress by the Department of Veterans Affairs in reducing a disability claims backlog.
The VA announced today that its current backlog of claims pending more than 125 days is at its lowest point in three years. The backlog was reduced from 611,000 one year ago to 344,000 claims pending today, a 44 percent reduction. The VA also said the accuracy of the decisions on disability claims has improved.
“The VA has assured me that it is on track to eliminate by the end of next year what everyone agrees have been unacceptable delays in processing claims,” Sanders said. “I welcome the progress that has been made and I intend to continue working with the VA to make sure that goal is achieved.”
Legislation proposed by Sanders would require quarterly reports to Congress on efforts to eliminate a backlog by the end of 2015. VA would have to detail both the projected and actual number of claims received, pending, completed and on appeal.
Sanders said that the backlog built up because of the VA’s slow transition from paper to a digital claims system and because of an influx of cases after the VA extended benefits to more Vietnam veterans exposed Agent Orange.
Volunteer drivers:
Drivers are needed to drive the DAV van to take veterans to the VA Medical Center in OKC.  We also need drivers to drive to and from the local Enid VA Clinic.
In Lieu of Flowers: 
Thank you to those who have included a request in their obituary that an “in lieu of funeral flowers” donation be made to Chapter 66 of the Disabled American Veterans.  This is a thoughtful and lasting salute to the memory of those dedicated veterans of the uniformed services. Donations can be sent to DAV Chapter 66, 202 W. Walnut Ave Enid, OK 73701 or may be handled by the funeral home.
Enid VA Clinic
Located at 915 E. Garriott, Suite G
Hours of operation are Monday – Friday, 0800 – 1700.
The clinic operates by appointment only, NO WALK-INS.  Call 580-242-5100 for an appointment.
May 8           DAV ExComm Meeting; 1000; DAV Train Depot
May 13         DAV Chapter 66 Meeting; 1900; @ 202 W. Walnut Ave
May 17         Armed Forces Day
May 26         Memorial Day
Jun 5             DAV ExComm Meeting; 1000; DAV Train Depot
Jun 10           DAV 66 Chapter Meeting – Officer Elections; 1900; @ 202 W. Walnut
Jun 14           Flag Day
Jun 14           US Army Birthday
Jun 26/27     OKDAV CSO Training
Jun 28/29     OKDAV State Convention
Jul 3              DAV ExComm Meeting; 1000; DAV Train Depot
Jul 4              Independence Day
Jul 8              DAV 66 Meeting; 1900; @ 202 W. Walnut Ave
Aug 7            DAV 66 ExComm Meeting; 1000; DAV Bldg
Aug 12          DAV 66 Meeting; 1900; @ 202 W. Walnut Ave
Sep 1             Labor Day
Sep 4             DAV 66 ExComm Meeting; 1000; DAV Bldg
Sep 9             DAV 66 Meeting; 1900; @ 202 W. Walnut Ave
Sep 19           POW/MIA Day
Sep 18           US Air Force Birthday
Oct 9            DAV 66 ExComm Meeting; 1000; DAV Bldg
Oct 14          DAV 66 Meeting; 1900; @ 202 W. Walnut Ave
Oct 13          Navy Birthday
Nov 6           DAV 66 ExComm Meeting; 1000; DAV Bldg
Nov 10         USMC Birthday         
I have had the pleasure of meeting Veterans from many different generations. We have shared many stories over coffee. I have sought guidance and advice from my elders.  As a young Veteran, I always feel indebted to my elder Veterans. They laid the foundation for my generation. I ask that you be mindful of the younger generation of Veterans. They have their own familiarity with war, and inner demons to fight with. As Veterans we are our own special type of “family”, so reach out, put all bias aside, and try to grasp a level of understanding. Share your experiences, wisdom, and guidance, and hopefully you will find a balance between generations. --- Leisa Leonard, Jr Vice.
The new cards are distinguished by additional security features and will have a different look and feel. In addition to being more secure, the card has been transformed into a Veterans Health Identification Card (VHIC). Similar to a typical health insurance card, the VHIC displays the Veteran’s Member ID, a new unique identifier, as well as a Plan ID, reflecting the Veteran’s enrollment in VA health care. “VA is committed to providing high quality health care while ensuring the personal security of Veterans,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “These new identification cards are an important step forward in protecting our nation’s heroes from identity theft and other personal crimes.” The VHIC is personalized to display the emblem of the Veteran’s branch of service. It also provides features that make it easier to use, such as the addition of “VA” in Braille to help visually impaired Veterans, and the printing of VA phone numbers and emergency care instructions on the cards. The card replaces the Veteran Identification Card (VIC), which was introduced in 2004. As part of a phased rollout, starting this month, the card will only be offered to newly enrolled and other Veterans who have not been issued a VIC. Then, in early April, VA will begin a three month effort to automatically issue the more secure VHIC to current VIC cardholders. VA recommends Veterans safeguard their VIC as they would a credit card, and cut up or shred the card once it is replaced. While not required to receive VA health care, all enrolled Veterans are encouraged to get a VHIC. Enrolled Veterans can get more information about the VHIC by visiting their VA medical facility enrollment coordinator or the website, calling 1-877-222-VETS (8387).
Yes; I would like to support NWOK DAV Chapter 66 with a donation. Enclosed is my contribution. 
Name _____________________________________________________________________
Address  ___________________________________________________________________
City ___________________________    State _______________     Zip ________________
Please use my donation to: 
  • Support Chapter Operations Fund
  • Support the Transportation Fund
  • Support the Building Improvement Fund
  • Support the new Scholarship Fund
Amount Enclosed _________________
NWOKDAV Chapter 66 is a 501(c)4 tax exempt organization.
  • I wish to get my newsletter by email.  Please send it to:  _____________________@_____________________.
Send to:  NWOK  DAV Chapter 66
               202 W. Walnut Ave
               Enid OK 73701

Text Box:    Disabled American Veterans                  Non Profit Org.
Northwest Oklahoma Chapter 66                         U. S. POSTAGE
202 W. Walnut Ave                                P A I D
    ENID, OK 73703                                  Permit No. 50
         “Return Service Requested”                      Enid, Oklahoma