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Manners, etiquette and a little common sense

You might think this is a strange topic for a column that is about veterans. Some of the following thoughts and information can help you and at the same time help someone who is trying to help you with better, faster and more accurate assistance.

I’ll explain.

1. Turn off your cell phone: When you come to my office or anyone that you want to help you, please don’t waste their time and your time by answering a cell phone. It’s disruptive and is very aggravating to the person trying to assist you. Turn your cell phone off before you visit the office.

2. Children: Please arrange for someone to care for small children when visiting this office. I love children, too, but they can be very disruptive while trying to resolve and assist with complicated matters.

3. Phone messages: When you leave a phone message for someone, please make your message very brief with your name and phone number where they can reach you. Give your name and phone number at the beginning of the message, not at the tail end. Speak very slowly and clearly, especially with phone numbers, etc. I can’t tell you how many times I have had to listen to long messages with hurried phone number information that I have been unable to decipher, and finally give up in frustration. Guess what, you won’t get a call back!

4. Veteran contact, please: It is always best that the veteran himself call or come by the office for assistance. Veterans, please don’t ask your spouse or others to come to the office on your behalf because you are too “busy.” By all means, I encourage your spouse to get involved and come with you. All VA matters are very complicated. It is best they be explained directly to the veteran, and most all VA benefit applications require the veteran’s signature.

5. Letters, paperwork: If you have documents, letters, etc. that you need assistance with, it only makes sense to bring that paperwork with you when you come to the office. I can’t tell you how many thousands of times I have had veterans or family members refer to official paperwork they need help with, only to tell me they left the paperwork at home. Get your act together and get organized and you’ll get the fastest possible assistance.

6. Call before you come by: Give a quick call to the office before you make a special trip here, to make sure I am available. I may be out of the office or not available, and I know how frustrating it is for you to come to the office and find me not here. If I know you are coming, often I can prepare for your visit and give you faster service.

These little courtesies can help any service person assist you much better.

Further information

For information on these and other veterans’ benefits, please call or stop by the Archuleta County Veterans Service Office located at the Senior Center in the Pagosa Springs Community Center on Hot Springs Blvd. The office number is 264-4013 and e-mail is