CLEMMONS, N.C. — They had to bring in extra chairs on Friday for all the folks who turned out at an event designed to hook up veterans with organizations that could help them, according to the Winston-Salem Journal.
More than 50 people turned out for a veterans information open house, with booths all over a room at the Broyhill Conference Center in Clemmons. Fifth District Congresswoman Virginia Foxx sponsored the event.
“I’m here to get some assistance,” said Winston-Salem resident Gerald Boles as he waited in line at table with health care information. “I’ve got cataracts and it has taken about a year for the VA to act on it.”
The groups with tables at the event included the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Paralyzed Veterans of America, and even the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputy Patrick Huey said he was there in case a veteran came by looking for a career in law enforcement. Veterans make good deputies, he said.
“They are a little bit older and have had more time to mature,” he said. “They are from a structured background. They are looking for a profession they want to do rather than a job.
Greeting the veterans were Foxx and Ilario Pantano, the assistant secretary of North Carolina’s Division of Veterans Affairs.
“War has been with us. War will stay with us,” Pantano told the veterans. “Does our society understand that? Not in the way you do. There was a time when everybody in the country bore the burden. Today, one or two men or women are serving multiple tours so that other people don’t have to.”
Pantano acknowledged the troubles the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has had with a scandal that erupted over delays in treatment. But he said things would get better.
“This unfortunate scandal that developed has put the light … on reforming the system,” he said, adding that more needs to be done.
Foxx told the veterans that her office had worked for months to put together the event.
“Please know that you have our undying admiration and thanks for the service that you have given to this country,” Foxx told the veterans as the event got under way.
Winston-Salem resident Stan Urban, sitting in one of the chairs waiting for the event to start, said he was there to find out what he could about getting help for his mother. Urban’s father was a veteran.
“My mother is 91 and I am filling out the forms,” he said, adding that applying for help sometimes means a lot of paperwork.
Jim Schaller and his wife Carol were handling the table of the Military Order of the Purple Heart and its ladies auxiliary.
“Our mission is to help veterans and their families and to promote patriotism,” Jim Schaller said.