Special Report: Organizations Reach Out to Veterans

By: Denise Bradberry Email
By: Denise Bradberry Email

A number of non-profit organizations are in place now to assist veterans after they return home but soldiers from different foreign wars often have very different needs.

News 4's Denise Bradberry spoke with several veterans about what they're dealing with long after their war has ended.

The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that only about 12% of those who fought in World War Two are still living and we're losing them at a rate of 850 veterans a day.

As they age many of them are now dealing with health issues.

"I hear about a lot of them with medical problems and didn't plan for retirement,” says Korea and Vietnam veteran James hunter.

"Health problems is one, biggest one probably,” says WWII Veteran Bob Boettger.

"Old age in general, some of us I think are maybe living too long,” says WWII Veteran John Little.

At 86 John Little is still kicking it but VFW 3073 Post Commander C.J. Watson says many of our nation's veterans aren't receiving the benefits they deserve.

“Most of them don't get disability. most of them have never filed a claim. I've never filed a claim,” says Watson, "They don't think they deserve a disability or anything else and it’s unfortunate because a lot of the things they've encountered causes the illnesses in which they have.”

That's why groups like the Veterans of Foreign War, Disabled American Veterans and Veterans Affairs are working hard to take care of aging veterans' needs.

“Our main objective is to help veterans apply for any and all V.A. benefits they may be entitled to whether it be education, health care, compensation,” says Houston County’s Veterans Service Officer Sean Law.

“The V.A. is putting special emphasis in helping soldiers dealing with post traumatic stress,” says Law, "Your WWII veterans, your Korean veterans and Vietnam veterans, they were basically on their own so the V.A. has definitely stepped up their progress on that."

Today's newest generation of veterans are dealing with returning home to a struggling economic climate.

"A lot of my friends have just not been so lucky. They've come back, the economy's deflated and a lot of them are loosing their homes and cars and everything," says Iraq Veteran Billy Walls.

Fortunately the Post 9-11 G.I. Bill is making it possible to get a college education at very little cost to the veteran.

Service organizations want veterans to know there is help for those soldiers willing to ask.

“They need to talk to us talk to the D.A.V. any service organizations. We all have service officers that can help them file a claim, take care of things for them and help them and assist them,” says Watson.

Veterans struggling with health or financial problems or who want to learn more about earning an education can contact their local service organizations, their numbers are listed below.

Thursday night on "A Legacy of Heroes" older veterans will give the newest generation of veterans a few words of wisdom for the future.

Houston County Veterans Affairs
(334) 677-4749
Veterans Administration
(334) 678-0866
V.A. Outpatient Clinic
(334) 673-4166
Dothan Disabled American Veterans
(334) 792-1687
Coffee County Disabled American Veterans
(334) 308-2480
Dothan VFW
(334) 793-7312
Daleville VFW
(334) 598-6211
(334) 493-3796

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