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Nov. 5 forum may open eyes of veterans to their benefits

Lake Oswego area veterans will have a special event on Veterans Day on Nov. 5, and it will be much more helpful than a parade.

A benefit information forum will be held at Legacy Meridian Park Hospital in Tualatin, and it will feature two guest speakers from Lake Oswego in Mike Riedel and Nancy Raske.

Riedel, author of 'Veterans Unclaimed Benefits,' is rapidly becoming known nationwide as an authority on helping veterans receive benefits for which they are eligible.

Raske is the owner of N.W. Senior Resources and is widely recognized for her work with helping senior citizens find appropriate living situations. While not specifically targeting veterans in her work, Raske does work with many senior citizens who are veterans.

'I want to help families with the resources that will put the whole game plan together when they get that crisis call,' Raske said.

Her presentation will touch on legal matters, geriatric doctors, dementia evaluation, following the progress of a senior citizen, and taking steps for appropriate housing.

Riedel focuses much more specifically on veterans. Last spring his bluntly titled book, 'Veterans Unclaimed Benefits,' drew a huge response from veterans of many eras. In fact, it spurred so much interest that Riedel and his partner Virgil Hockett formed a new consulting business called Veterans Resource Group, which guides veterans on how to obtain the benefits to which they are entitled.

'The Veterans Administration and the federal government are not doing anything to inform veterans about these benefits,' Riedel said. 'There are great programs, but no one knows about them. If they knew, the government would be inundated with applications.'

The Veterans Day forum is an excellent opportunity for area vets to tap Riedel's wealth of knowledge.

'There's the Veterans Administration financial aid and benefits for long-term care,' Riedel said. 'There's also disability pay for inservice injuries and illness, VA hospital and medical care, survivors' benefits, and ultimately VA burial benefits. The number one thing is the financial aid.'

Riedel will give a well-honed presentation, since he and Hockett (a retired VA employee) have had a nearly nonstop schedule of speaking at health fairs and care facilities ever since they formed Veterans Resource Group.

'Between the both of us, we're pretty well armed with information,' Riedel said.

Veterans in many states - Arizona, Florida, Texas, Georgia, Connecticut, Colorado, California, Washington, Idaho - have been using Riedel's services via fax and e-mail. But the Nov. 5 forum will be done in the way that Riedel prefers: face to face.

Legacy Meridian Park Hospital is located at 19300 SW 65th Ave. in Tualatin. The forum will be held in the Community Education Center from 2 to 4 p.m.

To RSVP, call Raske at 503-680-9407.

More information is at www.veteransresourcegroup.com .