The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

May 26, 2013

Man helping veterans who survived tornado

ENID, Okla. — An Enid-area man has been in Moore and other parts of Oklahoma in recent weeks helping veterans who were impacted by tornadoes.

Craig Vance, of Lahoma, a retired U.S. Navy captain and member of Disabled American Veterans, was in Shawnee last week assisting veterans following that tornado, and moved to Moore after the devastating tornado passed through there and a national unit went into Shawnee, he said.

“(DAV is) principally filing financial aid grants for veterans that have been impacted by tornadoes in Shawnee and Moore,” Vance said. It has processed about 200 veterans, both disabled and non-disabled, for about $250,000 in grants.

“We’re set up to almost hand them a check when they come to the van,” Vance said. “They can use it for anything they need to. It’s a $500 grant they can use for food, hotel, immediate aid,” he said.

DAV also processes Oklahoma Veterans Affairs and American Legion aid — those can be up to $1,500 each. Vance has no total on the amount of American Legion aid members have processed, he said.

Originally, DAV set up in the parking lot of Home Depot in Moore, but recently have been invited to set up by Walmart tonight. Whenever a disaster like the Moore tornado strikes, the DAV move in, he said. In the last two years since they obtained their mobile office, it has done a better job of reaching veterans. Vance said the office serves all veterans, not just the disabled. The organization assisted Woodward after that city was struck by a devastating tornado last year.

“These grants are not just for major disasters, but if a veteran’s home burns down, they would be eligible just like the people with tornado damage,” Vance said.

The DAV has people working from Enid, Moore, Midwest City and Lawton. “From all over the state, at any time, we will have five to seven people working on-site in Moore,” he said. There also are about three remaining in Shawnee.

Anyone wanting to donate to Disabled American Veterans should make their donation to DAV Tornado Relief, 601 N. 26th, Enid, OK 73703.

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