DAV (Disabled American Veterans) Commander CJ Masters found words hard to come by when Garth Brooks donated his guitar to the Claremore DAV Chapter 44 to help raise money for a new building.
“I’m not shocked that Mr. Brooks would donate or jump in to help anyone that needed it — he’s known for his generosity and kindness around here,” Masters said. “I was just shocked it was us, but I am not surprised by his kindness.”
DAV Chapter 44 has been selling tickets for a chance winning in last Monday’s drawing for Garth’s guitar, which will later be signed by the country singer and endorsed to the winner, Norma Spalding.
“We need a new building since we have outgrown ours which can only hold about 55-60 occupants,” he said. “We have 293 members, with an average increase of 6-7 new veterans a year and know we can help more if space permits. The sale of the tickets will get us closer to our new building because right now, it is standing room only. Being disabled, you cannot stand very long.”
The current location of the DAV in Claremore is in a flood waste zone and cannot facilitate expansion, Masters said. To maximize the use of the space, dirt would have to be taken out in which cannot meet city code approval.
“We’re just going to have to continue our efforts of raising money to build or acquire a building once we have secured enough funding,” he said. “We are hoping there is a vacant building in town to accommodate our members because I know we could do so much more for them.”
Masters believes there are many more disabled veterans who do not know about DAV services.
“The youngest veteran that we are currently assisting is 24. That is a young age,” he said. “He has a life ahead of him and we are here to assist by ensuring he receives all of the benefits for the sacrifices he made for our country.”
The mission of the DAV is dedicated to empowering veterans to lead high-quality lives while maintaining dignity and respect. Veterans and their families have full access to the large range of benefits available to them. The DAV also fights for the interests of injured heroes on Capitol Hill and educates the public on the great sacrifices made.
Veterans transitioning back into civilian life has become more of a challenge.
“Soldiers today are not as open about their needs. Their issues remain hidden because they try too hard to be normal,” Masters said. “Suicide among veterans is at a critical level across the United States; one is too many.
Masters also noted veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) rarely ask for help until it begins to affect those around them and even then they may just isolate themselves.
DAV Chapter 44 also provides transportation and support to veteran services within their district.
Additional services include survivor’s benefits, link to job training, providing food/shelter/medical resources to homeless veterans and emergency grants to ill and injured veterans.
“We are honored that Garth Brooks saw a need and responded with such kindness. He is one remarkable man. We have added him to our list of heroes,” Masters said.