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What is one of your favorite things about living in Oklahoma? Epworth Villa

“I like the climate here in Oklahoma.  It is very pleasant.  It is better than any other state that I have been to.” Reba Dawkins

“My family is here.  My nieces and nephews helped me get settled in here and it makes me feel good to know they are here.” Martha Johnson

“I like the people here.  I have been to all the states and people here are so nice.” John Culbertson

“One of my favorite things about living in Oklahoma is the weather.  I’ve lived here all my life and I love the weather.” Diane Freeny

Derry’s 17th-century ramparts create a view walkway around the old city.

Photography and Text by Rick Steves

No city in Ireland connects the kaleidoscope of historical dots more colorfully than Derry, which is in British-ruled Northern Ireland. Small and pretty, the city is a welcoming and manageable place for visitors – and most of its sights can be covered easily on foot.
Now a worthy tourist destination with the best city walls in Ireland, during the 20th century, sectarian struggles plagued Derry. When Ireland was divvied up between the North and the Republic in the early 1920s, Derry’s waterway – the River Foyle – was a logical border. But, for sentimental and economic reasons, the Protestant North kept all of this predominantly Catholic Nationalist city. Subsequently, the two sides have fought over its status.
Even its name has been a source of dispute. It’s “Derry” to the Catholics and “Londonderry” to the Protestants. I once asked a Northern Ireland rail employee for a ticket to Derry; he replied that there was no such place. Still, I call it Derry since that’s what most of the city’s inhabitants do.
The name has a good pedigree, dating back to 546. In that year the holy St. Columba established a monastic citadel here. He chose a hilltop site in the middle of an oak grove, or “doire.” The name stuck.
Fast-forward a thousand years to 1613, when the English arrived. To establish a Protestant toehold in this Catholic part of Ireland, they began “planting” the region with loyal Protestant colonists imported from Scotland and England. Since many were financed by wealthy London guilds, they changed the name to “Londonderry.”
To keep out the Irish, who’d been forced onto less desirable land, the English surrounded the city with a stout defensive wall. Today those walls make Derry one of the best-preserved fortified cities in Ireland. They stand almost 20 feet high and nearly as thick, with 24 cannons standing sentinel.
The walls are a good place to start a Derry visit. Poetically described as the city’s “necklace,” they form a mile-long loop encircling the original old town, and give a good view of its 17th-century street plan. The top o’ the wall promenade (open from dawn until dusk) is a popular destination for Derry’s inhabitants too.
The walls proved their worth in 1688-89, when the Catholic King James II and an Irish army besieged the city. Derry’s determined Protestant defenders, loyal to King William of Orange, slammed the town gates shut and successfully outlasted their foes for 105 grinding days.
The townsmen held off James with the help of “Roaring Meg,” a cannon renowned for the fury of its firing. You’ll find her, beautifully restored, on the walls at the Double Bastion, a fortified platform.
From the Double Bastion, you can also enjoy a fine panoramic view over the Catholic Bogside neighborhood. These days, this gritty part of town is quiet and safe, but it wasn’t always so.
For many years, Bogside was the tinderbox of the modern “Troubles” in Northern Ireland. Most notably, the tragic 1972 Bloody Sunday events unfolded here, during a march protesting the internment of pro-Catholic activists. When a British regiment moved in to make arrests, 13 marchers died. The clash sparked a sectarian inferno whose ashes took decades to cool.
Today, visitors come to Bogside to honor this sad past and to view 12 memorial murals, painted along a 300-yard stretch of road where the march took place. Dramatic and emotional, these political murals – and others around Northern Ireland – form an enduring travel memory.
Sectarian violence in Ireland has given way to a settlement that seems to be working. Both sides have come to the position that “an eye for an eye leaves everyone blind.” In Derry, the growing hope for peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland is expressed in a powerful public-art sculpture of two figures extending their hands to one another.
Given the city’s complex history, it’s worth taking the time to drop by the Tower Museum Derry. Occupying a reconstruction of a fortified medieval tower, the exhibits at this well-organized museum help sort out Derry’s tangled historical roots.
These days, the once divided city sees itself as a shared city. The symbol of that recalibration is the Peace Bridge across the River Foyle. This pedestrian span, built with European Union funds, is intended to bring the two sides together: east bank and west bank, Irish and British, Catholic and Protestant, Nationalist and Unionist. And to the surprise of locals, it’s working. In a sign of the times, a British army base that once occupied prime real estate near the old city wall has been transformed into an outdoor concert venue and a gathering place for all of Derry. It’s an emblem of what’s happened here; you’ll find that now the long-divided communities love their “legend-Derry” Irish city.
IF YOU VISIT…
SLEEPING: Merchant’s House, on a quiet street a 10-minute stroll from Waterloo Place, is a fine Georgian townhouse with nine rooms (moderate, www.thesaddlershouse.com). Inside Derry’s walls is Maldron Hotel, offering 93 modern and immaculate rooms (splurge, www.maldronhotelderry.com).
EATING: The Custom House Restaurant and Wine Bar is the classiest place in town, serving great meals and a selection of fine wines in a posh, calm space (Queens Quay, tel. 028/7137-3366). Busy Fitzroy’s is stacked with locals, serving quality food at reasonable prices (2 Bridge Street, tel. 028/7126-6211).
GETTING AROUND: Derry is compact enough to see on foot, so you won’t need a car or public transportation to get around.
TOURIST INFORMATION: www.derryvisitor.com.

By Rex Huppke

Marco Rubio is right.
He was right four times during the most recent Republican presidential primary debate, and he has been right a lot more times since: President Barack Obama knows exactly what he’s doing.
And not the good kind of “knows exactly what he’s doing.” The bad, “he’s an evil mastermind hell-bent on destroying America” kind.
On the eve of Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary election, Rubio’s GOP opponents were slamming him for using a campaign talking point over and over and over again.
During Saturday night’s debate, Chris Christie mocked Rubio for repeating some variation of this phrase: “Let’s dispel with this fiction that Barack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing. He knows exactly what he’s doing.”
Christie implied that Rubio is only capable of parroting canned lines.
I implore all of you to ignore Rubio’s critics and acknowledge that the senator from Florida is absolutely correct. As he told ABC’s “This Week” the day after the debate: “When it comes to what he’s trying to do to America. It’s part of a plan. He has said he wanted to change the country. He’s doing it in a way that’s robbing us of everything that makes us special.”
Look out your windows, people. Look at the smoldering remains of this once-great nation. During Sunday night’s Super Bowl there was an ad featuring a creature that was part puppy, part monkey and part baby — THIS IS NOT THE AMERICA I REMEMBER!!
In a 2008 campaign speech, Obama said: “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” If you view his words completely out of context and are prone to paranoid ideation, that is terrifying.
What’s more terrifying is that Obama followed through.
He has trampled the First Amendment, making it impossible for people like me to write a column like the one you’re presently reading. He also prevented Fox News contributor Monica Crowley from writing in 2013, in a column on the conservative news website The Blaze, that Obama is responsible for “radical wealth redistribution.”
That radical wealth redistribution was conveniently debunked in 2015 when another conservative news website, The Daily Caller, trumpeted: “Income inequality got WORSE under Obama.”
Not only has Obama strangled our First Amendment freedoms, he has forced us to use them in ways that are staggeringly hypocritical.
But the insidiousness that Rubio highlighted — four times during the debate and many times since — doesn’t stop there.
According to FactCheck.org, run by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, Obama also has caused:
–Corporate profits to go up 166 percent (classic socialist move).
–Fifteen million to get health insurance (a radical infringement on our right to die of preventable diseases).
–The unemployment rate to drop from a high of 10 percent during his first year in office to about 5 percent now (way to make having a job seem less special).
He has destroyed education in this country, as evidenced by Rubio saying during a campaign event Sunday: “Barack Obama is the first president, at least in my lifetime, that wants to change the country.”
A 1985 Los Angeles Times story cited Monday on Twitter by Princeton University history professor Kevin Kruse quotes President Ronald Reagan saying “he intends to ‘change America forever’ in the next four years.”
See? Obama has screwed America up so much that even Rubio didn’t know that Reagan (hero) made the same comment as Obama (nation-destroyer).
As if all that wasn’t enough to prove Rubio’s talking point, talking point, talking point, there’s also the fact that Obama has: moved the nation’s capital to the Black Panthers headquarters in Chicago; allowed gay people to get married, bringing on the plague of locusts that destroyed Texas and half of New Mexico; and forced every American to survive on government-issued, gluten-free protein paste distributed via hamsterlike feeding tubes.
Wake up, America. Rubio is right. Obama has transformed this country into an unrecognizable, sad, pathetic, on-fire, bat-infested, immoral, decaying, puppymonkeybaby-loving, sorrowful, steaming, malodorous pile of filthy detritus and broken dreams.
So let’s dispel with (technically that should be “dispense with,” but who cares about word choice when your country has been getting destructioned) this fiction that Barack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing.
As Rubio said in a fundraising email sent out after the debate, Obama’s “really trying to change this country for the worse.”
And if you repeat that enough times, you’ll start to believe it as well.

 

(Rex Huppke is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune and a noted hypocrisy enthusiast. You can email him at rhuppke@tribune.com or follow him on Twitter at @RexHuppke.)

c)2016 TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.

Dear Savvy Senior, Can you help me calculate about how much my wife and I need to save for retirement? We are both in out late-fifties and want to see where we stand. Looking Ahead

 

Dear Looking,
Calculating an approximate number of how much you’ll need to save for a comfortable retirement is actually pretty easy, and doesn’t take long to do. It’s a simple, three-step process that includes estimating your future living expenses, tallying up your retirement income and calculating the difference. There are even a host of online calculators that can help you with this too.
Living Expenses
The first step is the most difficult – estimating your living expenses when you retire. If you want a quick ballpark estimate, figure around 75 to 85 percent of your current gross income. That’s what most people find they need to maintain their current lifestyle in retirement.
If you want a more precise estimate, track your current living expenses on a worksheet and deduct any costs you expect to go away or decline when you retire, and add whatever new ones you anticipate.
Costs you can scratch off your list include work-related expenses like commuting or lunches out, as well as the amount you’re socking away for retirement. You may also be able to deduct your mortgage if you expect to have it paid off by retirement, and your kid’s college expenses. Your income taxes should also be less.
On the other hand, some costs will probably go up when you retire, like health care, and depending on your interests you may spend a lot more on travel, golf or other hobbies. And, if you’re going to be retired for 20 or 30 years you also need to factor in the occasional big budget items like a new roof, furnace or car.
Tally Income
Step two is to calculate your retirement income. If you and/or your wife contribute to Social Security, go to ssa.gov/myaccount to get your personalized statement that estimates what your retirement benefits will be at age 62, full retirement age and when you turn 70.
In addition to Social Security, if you or your wife has a traditional pension plan from an employer, find out from the plan administrator how much you are likely to get when you retire. And, figure in any other income from other sources you expect to have, such as rental properties, part-time work, etc.
Calculate the Difference
The final step is to do the calculations. Subtract your annual living expenses from your annual retirement income. If your income alone can cover your bills, you’re all set. If not, you’ll need to tap your savings, including your 401(k) plans, IRAs, or other investments to make up the difference.
So, let’s say for example you need around $55,000 a year to meet your living expenses and pay taxes, and you and your wife expect to receive $30,000 a year from Social Security and other income. That leaves a $25,000 shortfall that you’ll need to pull from your nest egg each year ($55,000 – $30,000 = $25,000).
Then, depending on what age you want to retire, you need to multiply your shortfall by at least 25 if you want to retire at 60, 20 to retire at 65, and 17 to retire at 70 – or in this case that would equate to $625,000, $500,000 and $425,000, respectively.
Why 25, 20 and 17? Because that would allow you to pull 4 percent a year from your savings, which is a safe withdrawal strategy that in most cases will let your money last as long as you do.
If you need some help, there’s a bevy of free online retirement calculators to assist you, like the ones offered by T. Rowe Price (troweprice.com/retirement) or Financial Mentor (financialmentor.com/calculator).

Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.

by Rhonda Baze

Have you seen that commercial for the cognition enhancing medication that has been on TV lately? The wife says that she is his sunshine and he has always been her everything…. It brings to mind the many ways we show love on a daily basis to those we care for. Love isn’t always about emotion; sometimes it’s giving your time to someone who is lonely or a friend who is frightened because of a new diagnosis. Love sometimes is laughing together because things are just so confusing or sitting quietly together when no words will come. You may have heard it said that Love is an action word. Suppose we define love as: seeing a need, knowing you have the resources to meet that need, and then taking action.
But what about when love becomes emotionally or physically difficult for the person giving the love? What then? Are you a failure when you cannot meet the need presented to you? In his book When Love Gets Tough, Doug Manning speaks to this at length. As a matter of fact, Chapter 1 is titled “Love is Doing What People Need-Not What They Want”. Our lives can be completely consumed with caring for someone we love. There can be ‘very little life of your own. The house can become your whole world. There are no vacations, no nights out, no weekends off. Every decision has to be made in the light of how care could be provided for the loved one” (paraphrased from Manning’s book). “On the surface it seems that love would mean we would care for our loved ones at home no matter what the cost. It might be true if the cost was ours alone. The fact is the cost is NOT ours alone” according to Manning, “The people we take into our home must also pay a cost. It costs their privacy. It costs them social contact. It costs them the meeting of their physical needs.”
When caring for a loved one, there is also a cost to our other relationships. We become more isolated from friends and family. Our relationships with children, grandchildren, and friends often suffer. Don’t be afraid to admit that you are tired and need a break occasionally, ask for help. Tell friends when you are lonely, and plan to spend some time with them, talking about your feelings can help. It also provides a way for those that love you to know what your needs are at the moment. Remember that there are people out there who love you and want to show you love… let them! When friends offer to help, let them! And don’t feel guilty when someone does help you… let them show YOU love!
Often there is a physical cost when caring for a loved one also. The simple act of helping another person up and down out of chairs, helping with meal preparation, extra housekeeping and/or laundry takes its toll. According to an article on AgingCare.com, “Many caregivers taking care of parents or grandparents are simply not suited for such physical stress. With the physical demands of physically lifting, turning and transferring loved ones, injury is common. In fact, it is estimated that musculoskeletal injuries that occur as a result of lifting or moving patients affects nearly 52 percent of caregivers. Most caregivers in home environments are in their 40s, and 50s. Keeping them, as well as their loved ones, safe and healthy is vital. Learning how to practice good body mechanics in all aspects of home care is essential in preventing injuries.”
There are community resources available to help. Having help from friends, family, or paid caregivers is meeting the need. It does not have to be you all the time. Oklahoma DHS, Department of Aging is a great resource to find help for caring for seniors. There are respite vouchers available to provide paid caregivers to step in when time away is needed. There are Veterans benefits that also pay for caregivers to provide care. Senior Centers are an excellent way for loved ones to stay connected with people their own age, engage in social activities, and have a meal, all while providing a break for caregivers and sometimes provide transportation to and from there.
So when love gets tough… we do the best we can. We make decisions based on the best options we have available to us and the information that we have at the time. The possibilities are endless to show love to others, but loving and caring does not have to consume our daily lives. We can be their “sunshine”, and they can be our “everything”. Love takes seeing a need and taking steps to meet that need… while loving ourselves too.
Right Choice Personal Assistance would be happy to talk to you about your needs and to help you get connected to resources for those needs. Call today 405-595-7066 and let us help you get started.

It’s a reality no mother ever wants to imagine; being discharged from the hospital and leaving your newborn baby behind.
That fear became real for Keely Mallory. On Jan. 17, with more than a month left in her pregnancy, Keely gave birth to her first child, Rhett.
“We had a talk the morning I gave birth to him. I told him he was only 35 weeks and that he needed to stay in there, but he was determined to make a grand entrance,” Keely joked.
Keely laughs about it now, but for almost a month she and her husband put their lives on hold to be by Rhett’s side in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Mercy Hospital Oklahoma City.
They found comfort in a surprising place: a tiny piece of handmade cloth in the shape of a heart. Rhett had an identical heart inside his neonatal incubator. Keely would wear or sleep with hers one night, before exchanging it with the heart in Rhett’s bassinet the next day. “The idea is that the mother’s or child’s scent rubs off on the cloth,” said Mercy Hospital Chaplain, Trisha Wiscombe, who helped implement the idea. “We found through research that scent plays a large role in bonding.”
In turn, the scent of her child may help release a flood of happy hormones in the mother that assist with milk production. For Keely, she said it also helped provide her with a sense of comfort and calm during a time that was often stressful.
“It was a way to have him at home when he couldn’t be,” Keely said. “It was so hard leaving him at the hospital every day, so to just be able to lay the cloth on my pillow at night was very comforting and helped with our transition.”
Each of the hearts is handmade by Mercy Hospital Oklahoma City volunteer Fran Thibedea, who estimates she’s made close to 200 so far. All mothers with children in the NICU receive them. The idea is also in place at other Mercy hospitals in Missouri.
Rhett was discharged from the hospital on Feb. 12. Both he and Keely are doing well.

Moore’s Legion Commander, Mike Devenitch is asking all vets to stop in for a free hot dog! The Moore American Legion Post 184 Richard Harrison Memorial Post will be holding an open house with FREE HOT DOG for veterans on March 12th from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Chartered on April 17th, 1947 and has been in Moore for nearly 69 years. Formed after World War II Moore has grown and it’s an exciting time to live here! The post has just over 200 members and looking for find more. Current members have served from the Korean conflict, Vietnam War, WWII and even Afghanistan. Mr. Devenitch said, “We are always looking for new members to get involved and helping out community. Sometime vets are too busy raising a family and the kids are gone. It is the perfect time to get involved” The Moore post hosts a programs with the VFW on Memorial Day and Veterans Day each year for the community in Veterans Park located at 4th Street and Bryant.
The post holds its meetings always the second Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. Long time Adjutant/Finance Officer Bobby Onspaugh said “I encourage our members and vets to arrive at 6:30 and chat before the meeting.” Mr. Onspaugh has handled the funds of the post for 15 years. If you are a veteran and have served in time of war, you are qualified to be a member. In fact, if you served a day since August 2nd, 1990 to today you are eligible.
The American Legion was chartered and incorporated by Congress in 1919 as a patriotic veterans’ organization devoted to mutual helpfulness. It is the nation’s largest wartime veterans service organization, committed to mentoring youth and sponsorship of wholesome programs in our communities, advocating patriotism and honor, promoting strong national security, and continued devotion to our fellow servicemembers and veterans.
The post is located just one block north of the Moore Library at 207 SW 1st Street in Moore. If you have questions, please leave us a message at 794-5446 and we will get back to you.

A fall can happen in a split second, but it may take a lot of time, pain and rehabilitation to recover. Falls can cause injury at any age, but they can be especially devastating for seniors. In fact, falls are the leading cause of injury-related deaths among individuals over age 65.
About one-third of the population over age 65 falls each year. (Source: U.S. Centers for Disease Control) This is a serious problem affecting seniors. As we age, the risk increases for injury from falling and these injuries may result in hospitalization and long term loss of freedom and independence. However, you can reduce your risk.
To help you, INTEGRIS Third Age Life Center in collaboration with INTEGRIS Jim Thorpe Rehabilitation, developed an educational program, Prevent Slips, Trips and Broken Hips. The program includes discussion of risk factors for falling and prevention of falls, and the opportunity for individual assessment of one’s risk for falling.
The program is available to senior groups in the metro Oklahoma City area. To schedule Prevent Slips, Trips and Broken Hips at your location, please contact Marge Jantzen, 405-717-9823, at INTEGRIS Third Age Life Center. For more information click here:  http://integrisok.com/senior-community-services-third-age-life-oklahoma

By John D. Doak, Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner

February is the month of love, and many of us are searching for the perfect gift for our Valentines. According to the National Retail Federation, Americans spent an average of $142.31 on Valentine’s gifts last year. But instead of giving roses or chocolates, consider giving the gift of security to your loved ones this year. Give the gift of life insurance.
Many people think life insurance is too expensive, but according to LIMRA, the cost of a $250,000 term life insurance policy is around $150 a year. That’s nearly the same amount of money the average person spent on Valentine’s Day gifts last year.
Choosing the right type of life insurance can also be confusing. Here are some guidelines that can help you narrow down your options.
You might consider term life insurance if:
– You need life insurance for a specific period of time. Term life insurance enables you to match the length of the term policy to the length of the need. For example, if you have young children and want to ensure that there will be funds to pay for their college education, you might buy 20-year term life insurance.
– You need a large amount of life insurance, but have a limited budget. In general, term life insurance pays only if you die during the term of the policy, so the rate per thousand of death benefit is lower than for permanent forms of life insurance.
Premiums for term life insurance policy are lower when you are younger. Some term insurance policies can be renewed when the policy ends, but the premium will generally increase as you age.
You might consider permanent life insurance if:
– You need life insurance for as long as you live. A permanent policy pays a death benefit whether you die tomorrow or live to be over 100.
– You want a savings element that will grow on a tax-deferred basis and could be a source of borrowed funds. The savings element can be used to pay premiums to keep the life insurance in place if you can’t pay them otherwise, or it can be used for any other purpose you choose. You can also borrow these funds even if your credit is shaky. The death benefit is collateral for the loan, and if you die before it’s repaid, the insurance company collects what is due before determining what goes to your beneficiary.
Premiums for permanent policies are generally higher than for term insurance, but it remains the same no matter how old you are.

There are also a number of different types of permanent insurance policies, such as whole life, universal life, variable life, and variable/universal life. For more details, talk to your insurance agent.

Dale K. Graham (rear center) and an army of volunteers are helping veterans get the benefits they deserve through the Dale K. Graham Veteran’s Corner.

by Bobby Anderson
Staff Writer

It’s Thursday morning at 10 a.m. and the parking lot to Pastor James Gann’s Faith Pointe Baptist Church in Norman is completely full.
On this day there isn’t a service scheduled but people are pouring in from miles away to find help, hope and healing.
“You know that’s what the church is for,” Gann said after bellowing out the name of the next military veteran who will find help that day.
Gann isn’t preaching God’s word but he is making sure the flock is being tended to. That’s why he routinely opens up the the doors to his church to allow staff from the Dale K. Graham Veteran’s Corner to minister to America’s vets.
Graham’s 501(c)(3) organization helps vets navigate the seeming labyrinth that often separates them for the benefits they so rightfully deserve.
People from across the country have made the trek to one of the weekly workshops.
Graham started the ministry in the early 1990s. He began opening up the workshop at his country home.
By 2008, he was in the Goldsby community center. He separated from his original organization and now works out of Norman.
“I just want to help people,” Graham said. “My board of directors and I couldn’t agree. We parted ways and moved on.”
“This move to Norman has been the best move I’ve ever made. What we’re doing is we’re changing lives one at a time.”
Graham estimates his organization helps nearly 150 veterans a week in addition to 10 surviving spouses.
Benefits that veterans once thought impossible or didn’t even know about are often within reach.
Veterans who can get a 70-percent service-connected disability rating can enter a state VA center free of charge.
“One of the biggest drawbacks of getting old is they’re going to take everything you’ve got when it’s finished,” Graham said. “I like to see the kids or grandkids get something.”
An army of between 30 and 40 volunteers – all clad in red polo shirts – are present to help veterans at any given workshop.
The organization supports itself through donations and grants.
Currently, Graham says there is a desperate need for a donation of transportation to help veterans get to the Oklahoma City VA Medical Center and doctor’s visits.
A handicap van would also be a lifesaver as would a permanent location to open up daily for veterans.
The stories continue to flow in. On this morning a woman from Kansas City called and told Graham her brother was living with her after being homeless. After the Gulf War he was unable to function and struggles daily with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
She asked if there was anyone in her area that could do what Graham’s organization does.
Sadly, he couldn’t think of any.
“Most people don’t care,” Graham said. “The main thing is people don’t know how to do it.”
Graham is accredited as a claims agent for veterans.
He says he accepts no pay.
Volunteer Rhonda Reynolds recently retired as chief deputy of the Western District Federal. Her late husband was a Navy pilot.
“It’s money they’ve earned,” Reynolds said. “The difference is we’re not talking thousands of dollars we’re talking hundreds of dollars but to people living on $750 a month” it’s a huge difference.
Graham’s group has a network of doctors and healthcare providers that understand the needs of our veterans.
Shirley Clark Crowdin’s Navy husband passed away from Agent Orange exposure. She specializes in working with the spouses of veterans who have passed.
She said World War II surviving spouses, kids or grandkids whose loved one died of cancer are eligible for up to $75,000 in radiation benefits.
“They should have got it 50 years ago,” Crowdin said. “I’m doing claims for surviving spouses (whose husbands served) in Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Nobody told them.
“One of the toughest things is we have so many suicides, but we’re able to service connect them once they pass away.”
Vietnam Veterans are of particular concern.
“Vietnam Veterans – there shouldn’t be one alive that doesn’t get 100 percent (disability),” said Crowdin, who notes the average age at death of a Vietnam Veteran is 63 years old, due to chemical exposure.
“We have World War II surviving spouses that live on about $300 per month and we can get then another $400,” Crowdin said, fighting back tears. “During the holidays we worked with three that had committed suicide.”
Graham nods his head.
“Every time you deal with one of them you feel the pain,” Graham said.
If you or a loved one need help with benefits you can contact Graham at 405-609-9895 or email him at dalekgrahamveteranscorner@gmail.com. Tuesday mornings from 8 a.m. to noon are open for veterans. Walkins begin at 6:30 a.m. until noon on Thursdays.
“So far, we’ve never sent anybody home,” Graham said.

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