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SERVING OUR VETERANS: Update on veterans events, benefits

By Staff | Mar 23, 2018

The Minot Vet Center is hosting the 7th Annual Vietnam Veteran’s Celebration on March 29, 2018. It will be held from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Grand Hotel in Minot at 1505 N. Broadway. Food and drinks will be provided by donations and it is open to the public. Call 701-852-0177 if you would like more information.

Educational scholarships are available through the VA. Renewable scholarships for up to $7,000 per year will be granted to honorably discharged veterans or spouses of disabled veterans. Recipients must be high school or GED graduates. Scholarships are determined by financial need and consideration of academic performance, work experience, leadership, community service, and challenges with completing a post-secondary education. Each award renewal will increase by $1,000 over the previous year to encourage program completion for each recipient. Emergency grants are also available on an on-going basis for eligible veterans who are enrolled in post-secondary education and experience unexpected financial difficulties that might cause them to drop out of school. Grants will be available for a one-time distribution up to $1,000 based on the cost of emergency need such as rent, utilities, day care and medical expenses.

I would like to remind everyone again there is a van available for transporting veterans to the VA Medical Center in Fargo. It leaves Minot the first and second Tuesday of every month. The pick-up time in Rugby is 8:20 a.m. at the Cenex C-Store and arrival time at the Fargo VAMC is 12:30 p.m. The van picks up patients on Tuesday and returns on Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. So, please do not schedule second day appointments after 11:00 a.m. To reserve your seat on the van, call 701-857-6492. Veteran’s riding this van will be staying overnight at the Econo Lodge (voucher covers cost) or Days Inn (veterans pay $15.00) in Fargo. You will receive a voucher for the room. Please indicate preference and be sure to call when you get your appointment as seating is first come, first served, and limited.

Besides the above Minot to the Fargo VA Hospital transportation van, there is also another mode of transportation for Pierce County veterans. Because of our sparsely populated area and distance to medical facilities, Pierce County (along with several counties in the state) was awarded a Highly Rural Transportation Grant (HRTG). This grant provides free rides for veterans to any medical appointment, VA or non-VA. The veteran can be picked up right at his home and driven to his medical appointment free of charge. In fact, a veteran could even schedule a ride to a place like the Mayo Clinic if needed. The transportation company has several drivers and is confident they would find a driver for these long distance trips. Obviously, it may take more planning and coordinating, than the shorter trips, but it can be done. The van can provide transportation to any medical facility in North Dakota and the bordering states of Montana, South Dakota, and Minnesota without prior approval from the Commissioner of the North Dakota VA. Appointments for this HRTG van can be made by calling 701-228-2115. As proof you are a veteran, you will need to show the driver a military ID card, VA medical card, or your DD-214.

Feel free to visit or call me for any further questions regarding these veteran events and benefits. Until then, don’t forget to thank a vet.

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