By Randy Mitchell
ADA — An organization known for helping veterans of U.S. Armed Forces is going a step further by setting up donation bottles around Pontotoc County.
Korean War Veteran Jack Jones, with the Ada Company of Combat Infantrymen’s Association (CIA), said donation bottles have been set up at 17 locations around the area. The CIA has helped many veterans and their families when in need, he said.
“We helped a veteran get a kidney transplant,” Jones said. “We’ve provided for families whose husbands are deployed overseas and their families needed help financially. We’ve bought groceries for veterans’ families we’ve bought shoes and clothes for the kids.”
Jones said funds collected from the bottles will continue to be used to help veterans and their families.
“Our VA (US Department of Veterans Affairs) is doing all they can, but they are overloaded,” Jones said. “I don’t know if you’ve ever been to that VA clinic in Oklahoma City, but it’s wall-to-wall people and you’ve got veterans from all these wars trying to get help.”
He said if it weren’t for outfits like the VFW, American Legion, AMVETS and the CIA, many veterans would be left out in the cold.
“Anything connected with the government moves at a snail’s pace,” Jones said, “and these young people need help now. Not tomorrow, now. When they call us and ask us for help, we’re going to give it to them now. That’s the only reason our organization exists.”
Jones said the current wars are taking a toll on veterans.
“In World War II and Korea, we went over there and we came home, and we knew it was over for us,” he said. “But these young men (and women) are going over there, coming home, going back, coming home and it tears up their family. If they’ve got a wife and kids, it’s not good for the family life if you’re gone a year at a time.
“Some of them come back in bad physical shape, some of them come back mentally damaged.”
Jones said the bottles have been set up at all Citizens Bank locations, Landmark Bank, Arvest Bank, Bank of the West, Oklahoma Heritage Bank in Roff and Stratford, Banc First in Stratford, Tinker Federal Credit Union, Farmer’s Bank in Allen, McGee’s Cafe in Stratford, Applebees, Chili’s and J.D.s Cafe in Ada.
Jones said several businesses have made donations, including Vision Bank, Walmart, Chickasaw Nation and Prairie Kitchen.
For more information about CIA or how to donate, phone Jack Jones at 320-6173, Jim Page at 759-2166 or Ada CIA Commander Charlie Holt at 559-2250.