Veterans' Voices - KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Veterans' Voices

Many organizations around Texas may be entitled to a hefty grant. The Texas Veterans Commission has 6.5 million dollars available to programs serving veterans. 

The commission has about 1.5 million in veterans mental health grants, and 5 million in general assistance grants. The grants are available to non-profit organizations, local governments, and any other organization that services local veterans.

The grants are designed to help fill gaps where there may not be enough funding and veterans resources.

“These grants will be awarded to organizations that serve veterans in need across Texas,” said Elliot Sprehe, with the Texas Veterans Commission. “The Texas Veterans Commission encourages organizations serving the 13,000 veterans and their families in the Wichita area to apply for this funding.”

Any of those organizations have until 5 p.m. on Thursday, January 8, 2015 to turn in applications. You can get application information on the Texas Veterans Commission website, http://tvc.texas.gov/apply-for-a-grant.aspx

Priority of those grants will be given to organizations with peer networking services, according to the press release. Peer networking services are those that have veterans interacting with other veterans. By sharing stories, and events it encourages veterans to seek help, and also allows them more access to resources and services.

 Other priorities are given to services that specialize in military related injuries, and projects serving veterans in rural areas, according to the press release. The Texas Veterans Commission funds come at a good time, veterans everywhere are seeking answers and solutions in the midst of the nations Veteran Affairs scandal.

One local Vietnam Veteran is still seeking compensation and recognition after a nearly 7 year appeals process.

 “I started having difficulties, a lot more difficulty with my right knee and left knee in the early part of 2008,” said Carl Lilly, a Montague County resident.

The right knee injury was sustained in the service around 40 years ago. After having two knee injuries he was honorable discharged from the Navy in 1969.

Since then, he says, his condition has worsened and created problems for his other knee. However the Veterans Affairs administration disagreed.

“They denied the right knee additional damage and said no evidence supported the left knee being connected to the service related injury,” said Lilly.

In 2008 after his claim denial the VA operated again on the knee they claimed had not worsened in condition. And since 2008 his appeals for VA acknowledgement and additional compensation has been on-going.

“I believe that the VA doctors do the best they possibly can but they are instructed to report losses in such a way, it's a lot easier for veterans administration to deny a claim,” said Lilly.

 In the years fighting appeals, Lilly has spent time writing to the president, while seeking congressional answers. But in a 2014 claim hearing Lilly was notified that although his doctors supported his claim, the way his documents were worded were insufficient to grant support or additional compensation.

 “They had those papers for a long time they could have told me that a long time ago,” said Lilly.

 Lilly was given  additional time to submit the correct documentation.

“If they're doing this to me, what are they doing to other veterans,” said Lilly.

He said the fight is not over. He will continue to work, not only on getting justice for his case, but also for other veterans everywhere.

Brittany Costello, Newschannel 6
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