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Services come to veterans

August 27, 1998|By DAVE McMILLION, Charles Town

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A roving workshop to help veterans get medical services and set up pensions made its way to the Eastern Panhandle on Thursday.

U.S. Rep. Bob Wise, D-W.Va., decided to bring all the agencies together under one roof at the National Guard Armory off Paynes Ford Road in Martinsburg to help veterans get what they need. Mobile offices offering everything from cholesterol screening to Social Security assistance were set up inside the building.

Filing for benefits is a lengthy process and can involve dealing with several different agencies, he told officials.

"We're trying to make this as easy as possible," said Wise.

The workshop, which was held from 3 to 8 p.m., has also been held in Charleston, W.Va., and Buchannon, W.Va.

Wise's office also recognized veterans and their families who received help with pensions and other benefits through his office.

Phyllis Crouch of Summit Point, W.Va., will receive monthly compensation from the federal government. Her husband, James Crouch, who worked as a gunfire technician for the U.S. Navy, died last month.

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He was exposed to asbestos from working on a ship. At age 68, James Crouch was diagnosed with a rare form of lung cancer in January, his wife said.

Because his death was related to the military, Phyllis Crouch was entitled to a "dependent indemnity compensation." When he died, she was left only with a Social Security check for income.

"This helps out. The Veterans Administration has been very good. They were very good to my husband," she said.

James W. McDaniel, 44, of Preston County, located near Morgantown, W.Va., received a $38,000 grant to make modifications to his house.

McDaniel was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and sometimes needs a wheelchair to get around. The grant can be used to widen doorways in his house, make modifications to bathrooms and make other improvements, officials said.

William Dennis Taylor of Martinsburg and Lawrence E. Rowe of Bunker Hill, W.Va., received pensions.

Taylor, who was a combat construction engineer for the U.S. Army, has arthritis throughout his body and has been told not to work.

Rowe served in the U.S. Marines in Cambodia just as the Vietnam War was beginning.

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