Office of Veterans Affairs co-director gives presentation to Golden K

Golden K chairman Gil Engel introduces Dickinson County Veterans Affairs Co-Director Denise Formolo as guest speaker at the weekly meeting.

KINGSFORD — The topic of the day for the Dickinson area Golden K Club on Monday morning was service to our veterans. A very enthusiastic presentation with lots of information was given by Denise Formolo, the co-director of the Dickinson County Office of Veterans Affairs.

Formolo was introduced by Chairman Gil Engel and welcomed with the “Welcome Song.”

“Auld Lang Syne” was sung in memory of faithful Golden K member Marty Waananen, who recently entered his eternal rest.

“Happy Birthday” was sung for Lorraine Jacobs on March 25, Walter “Whitey” Jensen on March 27 and Joan Jouppi on March 30. Winner of the Pot of Gold was Sue Proudfit.

Happy Dollars included “thanks to our veterans.” Golden K is blessed with the presence of many veterans as members; many of them also are members of the GK Golden Throats, who sing at nursing homes each week.

Formolo began her talk with a couple of jokes. One was about the memorable phrase well-known in the military, “Secure the Building.”

The local office for serving veterans use to be operated by the Veterans Alliance, relying strictly on donations.

She thanked everyone for several years ago voting for the Dickinson County millage request, which now funds the Dickinson County Office of Veterans Affairs. Fomolo’s co-director in the office is a veteran, James Brown.

The office serves 2,500 Dickinson County veterans — of these, 700 receive some kind of compensation through the Veterans Administration and the VA Medical Center.

Formolo and Brown are nationally accredited with the VA, Disabled American Veterans and American Legion. They are trained and very knowledgeable to help veterans.

Some of the services include burial benefits; compensation and pensions; educational for spouse, children and veterans if eligible; veterans relief; military medals or awards; discharge requests; and upgrading of discharges; along with organizing or coordinating various veterans efforts and events and more.

A Golden K veteran mentioned the fact that World War II brought on health problem from mustard gas.

Each war has caused problems that exist today, such as Agent Orange from Vietnam, lung issues from Afghanistan and Kuwait with open-air burn pits, and herbicides. A recent Supreme Court ruling for the U.S. Navy was about Blue Water, Brown Water and waters of 12 nautical miles of Vietnam and the presumptive of Agent Orange. Presumptive is an assumption that a veteran was exposed, which could be causing some of their health issues today.

One thing being found is veterans developing hearing problems as they get older. There was no protections provided. Also, during the Vietnam era, in the ’80s many are diagnosed with PTSD.

The Dickinson County Veterans Affair Office is the oldest county veterans office in the state of Michigan. The office is at 800 Crystal Lake Blvd., the YMCA building in Iron Mountain. Dickinson County veterans with any questions or concerns can stop by or call the office. An appointment is recommended by calling 906-774-2820.

Their goal more than 70 years ago that remains today is, “We exist to serve the veteran and their family.”

Many thanks to Formolo for her informative program and service to Dickinson County veterans.

The Golden Throats will sing at 2 p.m. Wednesday at Victoria Pines in Iron Mountain.

The GK program Monday will have member Gary Proudfit sharing some Navy stories. April Golden K chairperson is Sharon Scholke.

All are welcome to attend starting at 10 a.m. each Monday at the First Presbyterian Church in Kingsford.