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Fairbanks woman receives VA benefits 60 years after military service

Published: Aug. 6, 2021 at 3:48 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - 60 years after a Fairbanks woman served in the Air Force, she is now signed up for Veterans Affairs benefits.

Gloria Desrochers served in the early 1960s as a nurse, but until this week had never been signed up for VA benefits. That all changed when she visited the Tanana Valley State Fair.

“I had been told when I was at the booth at the fair that there were such things as VA benefits and I didn’t realize there was anything like that,” Desrochers said. She said that she figured her Medicare benefits were all she could get.

However according to Samuel Hudson, the chief public and congressional affairs officer for the Alaska VA, when Desrochers came to the VA booth at the fair they were able to help her get signed up to receive the benefits she was entitled to.

“Miss Gloria was with her daughter and her daughter said, ‘Hey mom, you need to sign up for the VA,’ and her exact words were, ‘what’s the VA?’” Hudson said.

Hudson told Desrochers about the benefits the VA offers and how it could help her. He said she didn’t think she was entitled, but he informed her she was. After talking with him, Desrochers was able to sign up for VA benefits on Thursday.

Hudson said that this happens too often. “A lot of people don’t think they are entitled and one of the philosophies we have in the VA that we kind of self-took in is, ‘Let us say no. Don’t you say no. Come and talk to us.’”

Hudson said Desrochers’ story is an example of what can happen when someone contacts the VA to see if they can get benefits. He encouraged any veteran who doesn’t get benefits to call, and said that friends and family of veterans can also call the VA to find out more information.

Desrochers said that she is excited to get the benefits the VA offers. “It sounds like it’s going to be something special and I can use it.”

Veterans can call find the Alaska VA online or call them at (907) 257-4700.

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