Page 10 - Senior Times South Central Michigan - May 2019- 26-05
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Page 10
Senior Times - May 2019 Serving Our
The Village of
VETERANS
Aaron D. Edlefson, Special to Senior Times
BRIAN, A TRUE HERO
Mill Creek A SENIOR LIVING COMMUNITY A Mission of Presbyterian Villages of Michigan
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On January 26, 2005, Lance Corporal Brian Hopper, along with twenty-nine of his fellow Marines and a Navy Corpsman, were killed when the CH-53E helicopter they were aboard crashed in the Al Anbar Province of Iraq. To add to the scope of the tragedy, Brian was only one week away from being rotated home.
his Marines on the battlefield. That decision exemplified his ethos as both a Marine and a man. He regarded the lives of those around him more than he regarded his own.
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300 Carl Avenue, Battle Creek, MI 49037
PH: 269-962-0605 • FX: 269-965-2285 • TTY: 800-649-3777 • www.pvm.org
I met Brian in November of 2004. His brother Patrick and I were in the same platoon in Fallujah. Patrick was always bragging about his brother and one day he received word that Brian would be stopping by our camp for
the day. He couldn’t have been more excited. When Brian arrived, one of
the first things he did was show us his flak jacket, which still had shrapnel embedded in it. He then, somewhat reluctantly, showed us his wounds from the shrapnel. Incoming fire had hit the armored personnel carrier he had been in. Thankfully, no Marines were killed in that attack, but from those wounds Brian was awarded his first Purple Heart.
On that tragic January 26th, at approximately 1:20am, our nation lost thirty-one heroes. Brian’s third Purple Heart, mournfully, was awarded posthu- mously for his wounds received in that fateful helicopter crash. Brian was, and still is, a hero.
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Throughout our nation’s history
men and women have sacrificed their lives in order that we have our free- dom and sovereignty and in the pursuit of worldwide democracy. While our remembrance of their sacrifices should be ongoing, it becomes even more poignant with the upcoming Memorial Day. It is important to always bear in mind that Memorial Day isn’t a cele- bration for everyone. For some it’s a day for quiet introspection, a time to remember those sons, daughters, broth- ers, sisters, aunts, uncles, fathers, moth- ers, and comrades who never made it home. Semper Fidelis, Brian.
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Shortly after his visit, I was flown back to my original company, but I continued to receive word about Brian. He was awarded his second Purple Heart after an insurgent’s grenade went off during a raid, sending shrapnel into his knees, legs, arms, and face. Brian was given the option of being airlifted to Germany to have his wounds treated, but resiliently decided to remain with
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Updates On Your
SOCIAL SECURITY
Vonda VanTil, Special to Senior Times
SOCIAL SECURITY HONORS AND SUPPORTS MILITARY MEMBERS
Every year, on Memorial Day, the nation honors service members who have given their lives for our freedom. Social Security acknowledges the sacri- fice of our military’s service members, and we honor these heroes and their families who may need help through the benefits we provide.
Widows, widowers, and their dependent children may be eligible for Social Security survivors benefits. You can learn more about those ben- efits at www.socialsecurity.gov/survi- vors.
Adult Day Care
(269) 962-1750
Bene ts Counseling
(269) 781-0846 - Marshall (800) 803-7174 - Battle Creek (517) 629-3842 - Albion
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(269) 441-0948
Dental Services
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Handy Helper Services
(866) 200-8877
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(800) 688-3951
Meal Delivered / Meal Sites
(866) 200-8877
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Money Management
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through one program but not the other, or that you qualify for both. Depending on the situation, some family mem- bers of military personnel, including dependent children, and, in some cases, spouses, may be eligible to receive Social Security benefits. You can get answers to commonly asked questions and find useful information about the application process at www.socialsecu- rity.gov/woundedwarriors.
Calhoun County Senior Services
315 W. Green St. Marshall, MI 49068 • 269-781-0846 www.calhouncountymi.gov/government/senior_services/
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For more information about ser- vices offered through Calhoun County Veterans Affairs call (269) 969-6735.
It’s also important to recognize those service members who have been wounded. Social Security offers bene- fits to protect Veterans when an injury prevents them from returning to active duty or performing other work.
Service members can also receive Social Security in addition to military retirement benefits. The good news is that your military retirement benefit generally does not reduce your Social Security retirement benefit. Learn more about Social Security retirement ben- efits at www.socialsecurity.gov/retire- ment. You may also want to visit the Military Service page of our Retirement Planner, available at www.socialsecuri- ty.gov/planners/retire/veterans.html.
Wounded military service members can also receive expedited processing of their Social Security disability claims. For example, Social Security will expe- dite disability claims filed by Veterans who have a 100 percent Permanent & Total compensation rating from the
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Both the VA and Social Security have disability programs. You may find that you qualify for disability benefits
Please share this information with
a military family who may not know about these benefits. In acknowledg- ment of those heroes who died for our country, those who served, and those who serve today, we at Social Security honor and thank you.
As I stood there in Iraq fifteen years ago, listening to Brian’s stories, I didn’t yet comprehend that I was standing in the presence of a hero. None of us, at the time, thought about stuff like that. Of course, he never would have called himself a hero. That is a task reserved for those of us who returned home.
Vonda VanTil is the Public Affairs Specialist for West Michigan. You
can write her c/o Social Security Administration, 3045 Knapp NE, Grand Rapids, MI, 49525 or via email at vonda.vantil@ssa.gov.


































































































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