Disabled American Veterans is a 100 percent volunteer organization that provides assistance to disabled veterans and their families. Steve Foster, the group adjutant, has been in his position for six months and he described the services the group provides to these veterans.
“We will answer any question they’ve got to the best of our ability,” Foster said. “We will actually fill out their paperwork if they’d like to submit a claim for something that happened while they were on active duty. We will mail it, communicate with them and make sure everything gets done in a timely manner.”
He went on to describe the process more in depth.
“The veteran comes in and gives us power of attorney so we can handle their case and keep track of it beginning to end. We show them how to go online and monitor it through the e-benefits that they can be a part of as a veteran, as long as they have been recognized by the Oklahoma City VA hospital.”
In addition to providing free clerical services, the group also provides free rides to Oklahoma City on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays for veterans to get to their doctors’ appointments. The service also assists veterans’ families.
“We’re there not just for the veteran,” Foster said. “We’re there for the veteran’s spouse, child, widow, or a disabled child the widow may have. There are certain benefits that we can help them with through the VA because of the veterans status upon passing.”
Originally from Benton County, Arkansas, Foster moved to Oklahoma in 1997 upon retiring from the Navy in 1995 after 20 years of service. He is himself a 100 percent disabled veteran who is recovering from his disability. He says the work and conversation that comes along with it is a form of therapy for him and that it is helping him immensely. He stated the goal of the group and underlined just how important that conversation is.
“We want veterans to know that we provide this assistance, that we’re here to help them in any way that we can, and that they’re more than welcome to come and talk,” Foster said. “Some of them might just want to come and talk. That’s fine.”
Any disabled veteran that needs assistance can visit the Ardmore chapter of Disabled American Veterans, located inside the Ardmore Veterans Center. When going in the front doors of the main building it is the first office on the left. Their business hours are every Tuesday and Thursday morning from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. They also have monthly meetings every second Tuesday from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. In addition to these meetings, the group is also in desperate need for volunteer drivers so they can offer rides to appointments every weekday instead of only Monday through Wednesday.