Gig Line: Updates and more

Published 4:34 pm Saturday, March 19, 2022

Please remember the Kelly’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade this Sunday, March 20 beginning at 1 p.m. in Nags Head. As always, lots of fun for the whole family and an event that celebrates tradition; the good workings of numerous Dare County organizations; our veterans and local veteran support organizations: V.F.W. Post 10950, American Legion Post 26, OBX Marine Corps League #1264, the Blue Star Mothers of America NC 6 Outer Banks and the Dare County Veterans Advisory Council. It also means a lot to Mike Kelly, creator/host, and Mary Ann Newman, organizer and “go to person” for every aspect of the annual parade, to see a robust turnout. This is their labor of love for our residents and visitors alike, so we need to make an effort to attend and show our appreciation for all that they do.

The monthly Dare County Veterans Advisory Council meets every fourth Tuesday at 6 p.m. and the public is always welcome to attend. The location is at the Dare County Administrative Building, (downstairs Rm. 168) 954 Marshall C. Collins Dr. in Manteo.

If you have a cell phone or tablet to donate to www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com, you can drop it off at one of four locations: Dare County Administrative Building lobby (Manteo); the Dare County Center directly behind the Administrative Building; the Thomas A. Baum Center in Kill Devil Hills and at the Fessenden Center in Buxton. The phones can be old, outdated and even broken but still of value to those who refurbish, rebuild or in whatever way to make use of them so please consider this unique way to benefit our heroes.

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Following our next Veterans Advisory Council meeting on Tuesday, I will be able to share with you the project I’m hoping to see come to fruition. Depending on where we go from there, it could be a big and welcomed project for all of us – so bear with me please until next Sunday’s Gig Line!

To tell you all that I appreciate your calls, texts and emails regarding Gig Line is an understatement. It helps me “hear” you, your thoughts, your questions, your ideas, input and how much YOU – our community of veterans and family members – care. We have quite a little network going on that’s grown exponentially over the last 10 years, so keep your communication to me open and flowing! To be honest, I have so many things to talk to you all about, I might start writing Gig Line columns twice a week to keep up.

If you are an artist, a woodworker, a potter, a canner of jars, jellies and jams, a photographer, a candlemaker, a jewelry maker, a baker, a master of recycle and refurbish, a birdhouse maker, a toy maker, a wreath maker, a candy maker, please get in touch with me on my cell at 252-202-2058 or by email at giglineheroes@aol.com. I organize craft shows at our church and though we have craft artisans who have been with us for years, I’d like to recruit veterans, especially, to participate this year. Why? Because it’s clear that veterans are talented in countless ways and though I will remain faithful to our annual artisans who may/may not be a veteran, I’d like to highlight veterans who have talents they would like to expose to the public and offer for sale at an upcoming craft show. I strongly believe in promoting our heroes and it could be a whopping opportunity to meet other veterans and their family members, make money and showcase beautiful talents. Call me, folks, so I can get you on the list for the next show!

One recent evening I was “cold called” from our Congressman Greg Murphy whereby a live town hall “call in” was available for those who wished to ask Congressman Murphy a question, make a statement, etc. When the call came through, I opted to participate and ask a question, but because so many callers responded to the chance to talk to him directly, I had to opt again for a callback from his office at a later time. Naturally, I was disappointed because my question/comment had to do with veterans: delays in communications when a veteran filed a claim and other issues I had on behalf of our most deserving. However, only a couple of days later I was called by one of his administrative personnel whose name was Adam and I’m happy to say that when I looked back at my phone call log, he had heard me out for 32 minutes!

During the call I did pretty well until I spoke of my beloved Billy and how he was denied on a VA medical disability claim for glioblastoma multiforme IV brain cancer even though other – MANY other – veterans have suffered and died from that darned disease too who were exposed to Agent Orange while serving boots on ground in Vietnam. I told him not only for my Billy who passed four months after his diagnosis in July 2016, but for so many others I had heard from or know about who have died from AO related illness (service connection) and the delays in decisions, follow up and sometimes their death never having seen the response and respect they deserved.

In other words, I vented. I was respectful and appreciative that Congressman Murphy’s office returned my call; for his service as a congressman and for Adam’s patience for letting me convey some of my feelings. In essence, Adam was extremely polite, patient and he listened, making comments about my comments and for that I am grateful. I told him how awesome our Dare County Veteran Service Officer, Patty O’Sullivan, is and that she always goes above and beyond serving our veterans and their families and that I recommend that veterans who call me, I always refer to Patty for help first but to remember she is not the decision maker on their claim application. He then asked me to make it known to veterans I talk with to reach out to their office directly if they have issues about the VA specifically so they can follow up from there.

Okay, so much more to share with you but for another day. Until next time, be healthy, safe and happy. Know that God loves you big time and the rest of us do, too! You are in my thoughts and my prayers and I love you all. Take care and stay tuned.

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