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DAV bus makes stop in Selma

Willis Chappell, left, and Willie Tatum, right, stand in front of the Mobile Service Office for the Disabled American Veterans. Chappell and Tatum are volunteers for the local DAV. The MSO is a way for national representatives from the DAV to answer questions for veterans and process paperwork and claims. -- Ashley Johnson

The Disabled American Veterans Mobile Service Office arrived and served more than 30 individuals on Friday. The bus is part of a national service that travels from location to location and their next stop after Selma is Mississippi.

Thanks to a $2 million commitment from the Harley-Davidson Foundation, officers that are professionally trained can service claims from disabled veterans on these mobile offices and can immediately file the claims. Commander of the Selma chapter for the DAV, Willie Tatum, said this was an informational opportunity for area veterans to learn about the claim filing process and get their questions answered by someone from the national level.

“We just really wanted to make the area veterans aware of their opportunities about their claims and a lot of the veterans they don’t know how to go about doing that,” Tatum said. “So there are a lot of people out there who have benefits available to them and they really don’t know.”

He said the Mobile Service Office filed 16 claims on Friday, and 15 veterans came additionally that did not file claims.

“All in all we had a really great day,” Tatum said. “The fact that they came and did that will continue to present interest to the area veterans, so we expect this to continue to generate publicity for the services we offer.”

Tatum and another local DAV volunteer, Willis Chappell, said there are 160 disabled veterans in their Selma chapter alone, or the William H Vest Chapter #61. They suspect there are many more disabled veterans that are members of the American Legion, VFW and other organizations that do similar services for veterans.

“So the need for this area is great,” Tatum said, explaining why the Selma chapter requested for the Mobile Service Office to come into town.

“I don’t know if we will have the bus here next year but we will certainly try because we think that it was a success today and we want to try again,” he said.