Local Group Working to Get Veterans Health Benefits

By: Dara Rees Email
By: Dara Rees Email

They put their life on the line for our freedom, but some local veterans say they never even knew what health benefits they were entitled to. One local group is trying to get veterans the benefits they deserve.

Men and women who fought in World War Two through Operation Iraqi Freedom came out to a veteran's health fair in Jackson County. There was food and fun for the family, but more importantly, some much needed help for these local heroes. Organizers say the event was created to honor veterans and make it easy to find out what the Department of Veterans Affairs can offer them.

Event organizer and veteran James Truett says, "What we're offering here today is probably, the way I think about it, two years of red tape cut through right here today, all the different programs the VA has set up to help us."

Veterans say they never knew what benefits were at their fingertips.

"I didn't even know what was available. what amazes me about this is that there is a tremendous amount of information and help available to veterans, and I think it's obvious that we're going to need a lot of it," says Trueman Hays, a Vietnam Veteran.

"It's something i needed to know, I've been out of the service 52 years, and I never knew about any of the benefits, says veteran Vernon Truett.

The county clerk was also on hand, encouraging men and women to file their discharge papers to help veterans and their families down the road.

"They can't have a military funeral unless they have proof they were in the military. So it's very important that those are filed at every clerks office in the state of Kentucky," says County Clerk Donald "Duck" Moore.

Most veterans walked away with help from the VA.

"I can get my medicine a whole lot cheaper than I am now through the VA," says Vernon Truett.

"I'm on a lot of medications and they're saying all of it could have been covered if I had just known to go down there and have it taken care of," says Hays.

Jim Truett says he hopes to have more events like this one and possibly bring a veterans center to Jackson County in the future.

VA officials say rather than waiting for veterans to come to them, they are now working to get out to the communities where veterans are to offer their services.

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