CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — Vivian Anderson says she hears it every day — stories of veterans dealing with problems with disability benefits or their VA mortgages.
For many, she has become a secret weapon in that battle.
As the daughter of a veteran of World War II and someone who was civilian Navy herself, Anderson has made it her mission to help veterans cut through the fog of bureaucracy.
“This is not right,” Anderson says about how veterans are getting treated these days.
Edward Jefferson is one of her recent success stories. At 93, he served in three wars and had been exposed to asbestos and Agent Orange.
Anderson remembers a conversation she had with the Hampton VA Medical Center on Jefferson’s behalf.
“He’s really serious about his benefits. We should do something to help him,'” she remembers saying.
But she had to take Anderson’s case to a higher level to get results.
Anderson contacted Senator Tim Kaine’s office, and Jefferson got a 100 percent disability rating.
She also helped Marine veteran Harvey Bray get his benefits, and keep his Chesapeake home, when he was in the hospital getting knee replacements.
“I was glad and lucky that I got her,” Bray said.
Ronald Green works alongside Anderson. He says when veterans get their due it’s a win-win for everyone.
“If the veterans were receiving their benefits like they ought to, the economy would be boosted because there’d be more people out there spending money, which would generate more jobs.”
Sometimes the help is in a form that you can’t see.
Anderson sat down with an Army veteran suffering from depression. His ex-wife, Avis Cooper, says that encouragement — and Anderson’s understanding of veterans’ issues — made all the difference.
“Ever since then he was uplifted. He had hope in his life.”
Vivian Anderson can be reached at 757-289-9955 or firstname.lastname@example.org