Who do you think should manage Ferriday water?|
Story Archives: More benefits announced on Veteran's Day
- 2013 - 300 articles
- 2012 - 856 articles
- 2011 - 635 articles
- 2010 - 1276 articles
- 2009 - 1591 articles
- 2008 - 1763 articles
|More benefits announced on Veteran's Day|
The U.S. Veterans Administration estimated in September that there were 23.4 million veterans in the United States and in small towns and big cities across the country today (Wednesday) -- Veterans Day -- these men and women are being honored and the dead remembered.
As local celebrations are held, Concordia's veterans assistance coordinator C.C. Kimball says that recent changes authorized by the Department of Veterans Affairs will benefit some local vets.
"Changes include four new medical conditions that have been linked to military service," said Kimball.
Of the U.S. veteran population, of which 12 percent are women, the average age is 60 -- age 61 for men and age 47 for women. The average age of a World War II vet is 84; Korea, 76; Vietnam, 60; and Gulf War, 37.
The number of living veterans from World War II -- who served during the greatest war ever fought on the planet -- is dwindling even as you read this story.
A total of 16.1 million served in the U.S. armed forces in WWII between Dec. 1, 1941, and Dec. 31, 1946. Of that total, according to government estimates, only 2.5 million were alive in September and are dying at a rate of 900 per day.
Vietnam-era veterans -- about 7.9 million -- have now become the largest segment of the U.S. veteran population.
"I probably deal with an equal amount of World War II and Vietnam veterans," said Kimball. "We don't have a lot of Iraqi vets because not many are getting out of service. Reenlistments in the country today are at a 30-year high."
Kimball, 53, a Navy veteran who served as a recruiter for 18 years, said "when the current wars broke out (in the Gulf) our jobs got easier. We recruit to a number -- called 'in strength' -- and those numbers are being met by reenlistments not by recruitment. We only have to make up for those forced out by medical and retirement reasons."
A Concordia native, Kimball grew up in Ridgecrest, and has served as veterans assistance coordinator in Concordia, Tensas and Catahoula parishes for the past four years.
"My job is to keep the veterans informed," said Kimball, "and to assist them in every way I can."
Veteran benefits through Kimball's office for the three-parish area in 2008 totaled $7,068,000 in Concordia, $4,452,000 in Catahoula and $1,662,000 in Tensas.
He said benefits could rise with the addition of four new medical conditions now recognized and recently linked to military service:
• ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
This disease has been granted as a presumptive condition of military service, said Kimball. He said any veteran, regardless of when the veteran served, who develops ALS will be granted service connection for the disease. Additionally any widow of a veteran who dies of ALS could also have benefits paid under the provisions of VA's Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) which is a tax-free benefit for the surviving spouse and dependent children.
• Agent Orange-related conditions: Parkinson's, Ischemic Heat Disease, and certain rare cancers.
For veterans who served in Vietnam, Kimball said the VA has added these three new medical conditions by concluding that Parkinson's Disease, Ischemic Heart Disease (which may also be known as coronary heart disease, atherosclerotic heart disease, arteriosclerotic heart disease, coronary artery disease, myocardial infarction, etc.) and certain rare cancers (all chronic B-cell neoplasms, to include hairy-cell leukemia and chronic lymphoid leukemia) are presumptive conditions related to exposure to herbicides (Agent Orange) in Vietnam.
Veterans who served in Vietnam and have developed any of these conditions should apply for service connection even if they have applied before and were denied service connection, said Kimball. Widows of any veteran who served in Vietnam and died of any of these conditions should also apply for benefits under Dependency and Indemnity Compensation.
In addition, Kimball said that Louisiana recently began issuing The Louisiana Honor Medal to veterans, which was created by Act 695 of 2008 Louisiana Legislature. One side of the medal bears an outline of the state and the words, "United States Armed Forces." The flip side reads, "Louisiana appreciates your service to our country."
Kimball said all medals may be worn over the neck or pinned on a jacket. Some medals are distinguished for veterans killed in action or wounded in action; others designate veterans who were prisoners of war.
Eligible veterans must have served in the U.S. armed forces during wartime or peacetime and must have received an honorable discharge or died prior to separation, An additional requirement is that the vet be a current Louisiana resident, was a Louisiana resident upon entering military service or was a resident at the time of death.
Kimball said he can discuss these issues with local veterans at one of his three offices.
The Concordia office, provided by the Police Jury, is located at 109 Doty Road in Ferriday. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Kimball operates in Tensas Parish on Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. in an office in the Police Jury building in St. Joseph..
The Catahoula Parish veterans office is located in town hall in Harrisonburg and open Thursday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
"The Catahoula Parish Police Jury stopped funding for our office there in October," said Kimball. "They are out of money. I went to the mayors of Jonesville and Harrisonburg and asked them to fund our office and they agreed to split the costs and are waiting on approval from the town councils."
He said that if the office had to be closed in Catahoula Parish that the veterans could go to locations in other parishes.
"But we don't want that to happen," said Kimball. "Some are doing good to make it to Harrisonburg."
Kimball can be reached at 318-757-4952 or by email at email@example.com
|Frank Morris Murder Series|