Veterans learn benefits at VA Summit

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DENISON, TX -- Life after military service can be difficult for veterans, so Wednesday, some veterans learned just that.

Wednesday, veterans from across Oklahoma were invited to hear how the department of veteran affairs can help them.

"The purpose of the event today is to bring information sharing, with the tribal staff that service our Indian veteran population, and information to the veteran population themselves," said Mary Culley.

The veterans training summit, held at Choctaw Casino, was meant for all former servicemen and women, but specifically Indian veterans.

Tribal government specialist Mary Culley says Indian veterans serve at a higher per capita than any other group nationwide, but less than 3% of them receive healthcare and that's alarming.

"We're finding much elderly veterans, that years later, have never applied for a claim---who could be walking around with shrapnel in their head---who could be walking around with hearing loss; with eyesight loss, as a result of what happened to them in those wars," said Culley.

Many of the benefits can change throughout the years. So local veteran, Robert Foster, wants to stay informed.

"I don't get around a lot, but when I come to a place like this, and I see different things, read pamphlets; I take advantage of it," said Foster.

The summit focused on homeless, housing and job assistance programs, along with small business administration and social security disability administration.

Pawnee Business council member Richard Tilden hopes this event will show veterans just how much help is available to them.

"I'd like to see all veterans come here, and see what's offered to them, what's available to them, and they just don't do that," said Tilden.

The second day of the summit begins Thursday at 8 am and runs through 1 pm.

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