Veterans Corner

Published 6:17 pm Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

This month, we are going to list a number of information sources and websites that could be of value to our readers. If you are not a veteran but reading this, please consider passing it on to one.

MyVetBENEFITS is a mobile app and website that matches service members, Veterans, and their families to the service-connected benefits they’ve earned in a matter of minutes.  The app includes 2,500+ benefits from the VA, state Veteran departments, service organizations, and more.  Get your own personalized list of benefits by downloading the app in the App Store or Google Play.  Or you can access the app online at

Story Corps is a program to capture stories from veterans about their time in service. If you would like to contribute to this living history project and pass your experiences on to others, especially future generations, consider attending a lunch and learn session coming up in Williamsburg on June 5th

Email newsletter signup


The VA continues to experiment with services that will better serve their veteran clients.  A 24-hour telephone emergency service might be something you can use in the future.  Keep this URL if an occasion arises where you need this type of consultation.


The question often arises, sometimes too late for family members after a veteran passes, what benefits pass on or are available to family members of a deceased veteran.  This video describes those.  We recommend you and your family members review it so they will be aware of the available benefits to which they are entitled.

Veterans and family members should also know how to access the Veterans Crisis line (DIAL 988 press 1) provided by the VA.  If you are a Veteran in crisis or concerned about one, you can reach a caring, trained responder 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  You don’t have to be enrolled in VA benefits or health care to connect

  • A qualified responder will answer your call, ready to listen and help.
  • The responder will ask a few questions, such as whether you or the Veteran you’re concerned about may be in immediate danger or at risk for suicide.
  • The conversation is free and confidential, and you decide how much information to share.
  • Responders can connect you with the resources you need.


Veterans Affairs has established another on-line aid to help those who are newly receiving VA Services or just want to insure they know about and understand what is available to them.  It is at:

On a related note, on April 24, 2024, Secretary of the Navy authorized the award of the Combat Action Ribbon and/or the Air Medal, to include devices, to all eligible service members for any actions they have performed since Oct. 19, 2023, while operating in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. Service members meeting the criteria are now eligible for additional VA benefits as well as qualified for membership in the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Here is  the Secretary of the Navy’s message:

May is Military Appreciation Month and there are numerous retailers and entertainment venues which offer attractive discounts (sometimes even free) to active military and veterans.  While you can search for any number of sites that list such discounts, the American Legion has a website that covers a large number of opportunities for you and your family:


Locally Busch Gardens and Williamsburg offer discounted and free admission but you have to request the latter by May 22nd use it by July 7th.  See this web link for further details.

We want to remind our veterans and any other readers of this column to please take time to recognize Memorial Day the end of the month.  If you are in Smithfield-Surrey area, the Isle of Wight Memorial Day Commemoration is on the national holiday, May 27th.  It starts at 11:00 AM at the Veterans Memorial in downtown Smithfield, the inclement weather venue is Smithfield Center.  Please join us to show our respect to fallen colleagues.  If unable to attend please take some personal time over that weekend to reflect on the sacrifices of our colleagues who died serving their country.

As always your feedback and suggestions are welcome, send them to either of us.

Thomas W. Mastaglio

AL Post 49


Laurie Clay

VFW Post 8545