Jim Muhr

Jim Muhr, one of the founders of the local Veterans Advocacy Committee, participated in a recent RCH program for veterans.

Rim Country Health hosted the Veterans Benefits Resource Meeting Feb. 20 in its community room. Members of the RCH Veterans Steering Committee presented updates on what’s happening with benefits, events, housing and more.

Thirty-five veterans and veterans’ family members attended to learn and meet the contacts serving Rim Country.

Wayne Kirby, Honor Flights Representative (Arizona), kicked off this year’s meeting with the announcement of new applications being accepted for 2019. Kirby shared information and the forms for upcoming trips to the Veterans’ Memorials in Washington, D.C. He has chaperoned veterans’ three trips himself and is a welcoming face upon the return trips, greeting veterans when they land at Sky Harbor Airport. The Honor Flight program is now focused on spreading the word to Vietnam veterans to sign up. Tell a friend. For more details on Honor Flight trips, go to https://honorflightaz.org/flight-information/ or phone 928-377-1020.

The presentation continued with Quincy Aulisio and Shaggy who represented (the official) Veterans Helping Veterans, Inc. (VHV). VHV is known for their local support groups for the following: Women (Veterans/Spouses), Processing and PTSD, along with focus groups for those with Combat Issues.

VHV is also helpful with claims and benefits information, even to the point of driving a veteran to Phoenix so they can get to the right department to complete documentation.

In many cases, you will need to make an appointment and visit one or both locations listed below for paperwork (i.e. benefits and/or claims). Veterans are encouraged to enroll in the system in order to learn what they’re qualified to receive.

There are two (2) locations in the Phoenix area: Disabled American Veterans, 3333 N. Central Ave., Suite 1053, Phoenix, AZ 85012, 602-627-3286; U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs — Phoenix VA Health Care System, 650 E. Indian School Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85012, 602-277-5551.

It was also announced that VHV is a recipient of a grant that is allowing it to build steel structure homes for qualifying veterans. This initiative is a hand-up program that includes an application submission and work initiative to qualify. The first home is near completion and the second home is on the schedule.

For information on any of the items above, you can contact Shaggy at 928.978.9924.

Payson Veterans Advocacy Committee founders Bud Huffman and Jim Muhr wrapped up the meeting with these updates.

• Payson Veterans Town Hall is back by popular demand in July 2019. More than 150 veterans and their families are projected to attend and meet the VA Support Team and get responses and answers in real time. The date will be announced when confirmed.

• Vietnam Veterans Wall Tour returns to Payson’s Green Valley Park. Many may remember when Payson hosted this special tour a few years ago. Specific dates and volunteers needed will be announced by the end for the year.

• Veterans in need of medical equipment (i.e. motorized wheelchairs, etc.) are encouraged to make their need known. Many times medical equipment donations are waiting for the right veteran to make use of it.

• Purple Heart License Plates – a visit to the State Capitol has been made to request that Purple Heart Veterans receive their custom Purple Heart plates without an extra fee. Updates on this request will be announced as it progresses.

• Do you know a young adult who wants to apply to a Military Academy? Applications are available in Payson and Jim Muhr sits on the review committee. Information and guidance on how to complete the application is available. For more information, contact local committee members Bud Huffman, 951-500-2127 or Jim Muhr, 562-857-7655

Veterans Benefits Counselor Rob Thompson with the Arizona Department of Veterans Services now has two (2) locations to meet with veterans. Select between the Rim Country Health campus location or Mesa.

Scheduled appointments with Rob Thompson are necessary. Please directly contact Rob at 480-834-2127 or email rthompson@azdvs.gov to review what information is needed to make your appointment more productive, which will lead to more efficient processing.

RCH sincerely values the time and commitment from our steering committee members to be able to provide updates/resources to the community. To all veterans in Rim Country, thank you for your service!

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