Quite often, command service officers will be called upon to provide services that clearly go beyond the norm when it comes to helping veterans. The following is a good example of personalized service involving the president of a local branch, a command service officer and a Korean War veteran.
In mid-September, the provincial command office received a phone call from a branch president. He’d been approached by a fellow living in his building, seeking assistance with completing a number of forms sent out by Veterans Affairs Canada.
Not wanting to misinform the veteran, he referred him to the command office for support.
A command service officer agreed to meet the veteran and assist, where possible, with completion of the various forms and documents.
Upon arrival at the veteran’s residence, the service officer discovered a confused and frail veteran, suffering from the effects of a recent stroke. His spouse, while substantially more mobile and coherent, was perplexed and somewhat at a loss by the whole state of affairs. After introductions were made, the command service officer offered assistance with the paperwork.
During the visit, the service officer noted that a disability claim application was being initiated for post-traumatic stress. Discussions with the couple gave no indication that they knew or had familiarity with an appropriate medical provider. The service officer arranged an appointment with a local psychologist, and then confirmed the timings with the couple. The service officer advised the couple to contact the office if additional assistance was required.
Two weeks later, taking up the service officer’s offer, the spouse called to request assistance with transportation to a previously arranged appointment with an audiologist–for an assessment of tinnitus. The service officer graciously agreed to help out and saw them both to their scheduled appointment and back home.
Shortly thereafter, the couple again called the command office for transportation to attend the psychological assessment that had been arranged previously on their behalf. Again, the service officer provided transportation from the residence to the specialist and accompanied the couple.
To alleviate the two-hour waiting period, the service officer took the spouse to lunch, which afforded an opportunity to discuss their situation.
There was no family to speak of and they were pretty much on their own with no close friends or acquaintances on whom they might depend. Because of the traumatic experiences he had encountered during the Korean War, the veteran was reluctant to initiate any form of association or bonding. A further obstacle to any personal interaction was the substantial loss of mobility caused by the stroke.
Over the course of these encounters, there was always an expression of heart-felt appreciation and genuine thanks. A re-occurring theme mentioned was that the couple never knew “there were good people like the Legion around to help them.” But there are. It didn’t matter that the veteran was not a Legion member; he was an old soldier who needed a hand.
Serving You is written by Legion command service officers. To reach a service officer call toll-free 1-877-534-4666, or consult a command website.