First, immediate local assistance for veterans.
American Legion Post 41 Service Officer is Glen McKinney. You can call him at 417-967-7119. If Glen doesn’t have an immediate answer, he knows where to find it.
Ron Jones, Director of the Military Museum in Houston, is also an experienced Service Officer. He is available at his office at the Museum from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. each Thursday.
VFW Post 6337 in Licking also has a Service Officer. Call 573-674-4214 from 1 to 10 p.m. on Fridays.
Your DD-214 is a record of your military service and is often necessary to access veterans’ services. If yours is lost, a replacement can be provided free of charge by the National Archives at Archives.gov. If you need help with requesting a replacement copy, call one of the veterans’ service officers listed above.
Next, Armed Forces Appreciation Day will be May 20 at the Texas County Fairgrounds. This year’s event will focus on veterans’ services and benefits, with service officers from local and state veterans organizations. Answers to questions about medical coverage, family services, financial and educational opportunities will be available. This event is still in the planning stage, so stay tuned.
Suicide-Prevention and Peer-Support:
Several studies have shown that peer support is beneficial for military veterans experiencing mental health issues or are having difficulties transitioning to civilian life.
The American Legion has a “Buddy-Check” program to help veterans with PTSD and other difficulties who might be considering taking their own lives. The American Legion also supports legislation to establish a peer-support program that would offer grants to place peer-support specialists in local posts of veterans service organizations (S.544 – “Buddy Check Week” Act).
Back in 1982, our little ship, the USS Quapaw (ATF-110), was tasked to support underwater training off the coast of Hawaii. We sailed from Port Hueneme, Calif., to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and picked up a team of Navy divers and two caged sea lions.
We anchored off the coast of Kawai in 10 fathoms so that the sea lions could be trained to find and recover lost torpedoes. One of the divers told some younger members of our crew that the sea lions were commissioned officers and rated a salute each time passing their cages. One of the young sailors asked if they should hold the salute until the sea lions returned it!
Veterans organizations in Texas County:
•American Legion Post 41 meets at 6 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month at the meeting hall on the west end of Chilton Oil Company in Houston (just north of Pizza Hut). Changes to membership eligibility now allow U.S. veterans of all branches and periods of service to join the American Legion.
•Fleet Reserve Association Branch 364 meets at 2:30 p.m. on the fourth Sunday of each month at the American Legion Post 41 meeting hall in Houston. The FRA exists to serve all veterans and active-duty members of the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Coast Guard.
•Veterans Of Foreign Wars Post 473 meets at 6 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month at its meeting mall on U.S. 63 north of Cabool.
•Veterans Of Foreign Wars Post 6337 in Licking meets at 5:30 p.m. on the third Monday of each month at the meeting hall on Main Street just south of Highway 32.
Houston resident Robert E. Simpson is a retired U.S. Navy chief electronics technician who served from 1969 to 1990. Email email@example.com.