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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : latest news : latest news September 15, 2014


8/12/2014 6:01:00 AM
The cavalry shows up: Help for a veteran
Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier
Harold “Dave” Davidson a 91-year-old senior talks about how hard it is to get by on Social Security.
Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier
Harold “Dave” Davidson a 91-year-old senior talks about how hard it is to get by on Social Security.
Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier
Independent Medicare and benefit Councilor Shirley Shaw, Canyon River Community Hospice’s Georgi Percan and Laura Dreibelbis director of Adult Care Services work on the final details for a new free community resource to assist seniors and those on disability to find all the benefits and services that are available to them.
Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier
Independent Medicare and benefit Councilor Shirley Shaw, Canyon River Community Hospice’s Georgi Percan and Laura Dreibelbis director of Adult Care Services work on the final details for a new free community resource to assist seniors and those on disability to find all the benefits and services that are available to them.
Phone numbers of programs that help seniors and others on fixed income:
Meals on Wheels referral, 877-521-3500

Meals on Wheels, Mayer, 928-632-7511

Meals on Wheels, Prescott, 928-445-7630

Meals on Wheels, Prescott Valley, 928-445-7630

Low-Income Ratepayer Assistance (LIRA), 877-860-6020

UniSource Energy low-income programs, 877-837-4968.

APS assistance programs 800-253-9405 or http://www.aps.com/en/residential/accountservices/assistanceprograms/Pages/home.aspx

Phone: Department of Economic Security Senior Telephone Discount Program, 800-582-5706

Prescription Assistance 800-772-1213







Tom Scanlon
The Daily Courier


There is help for people like Harold "Dave" Davidson, the 91-year-old World War II vet struggling to pay rising bills with limited Social Security income.

After last week's Daily Courier article on the Mayer resident, Georgi Percan of Canyon River Community Hospice contacted the newspaper.

In collaboration with Adult Care Services, Canyon River has two volunteer financial counselors.

The volunteer counselors - who have been trained by the State Health Insurance Assistance Program - provide advice on navigating the often-confusing Medicare system.

"It's an absolutely free service," said Percan. "I have found that many of our seniors are not aware of what Medicare pays for or how to advocate for services that are available to them."

But the financial advice doesn't stop at Medicare. "There's a lot of ways we partner and find help for people," Percan added.

In addition to Medicare advice, volunteer counselors Mel Berger and Shirley Shaw offer their expertise on a variety of potentially cost-saving topics, such as:

• Qualifying for APS and UniSource energy discounts

• Cell phone assistance

• The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

• Weatherization Program through the Northern Arizona Council of Governments (NACOG)

• Prescription drug assistance/Medicare Part D plan options

• Social Security questions (Berger worked for the federal agency for 30 years)

To schedule a consultation with Percan, phone 928-441-1091. "I get their information, find out what their need is and then call Mel if it's Prescott and Chino Valley or Shirley if it's Prescott Valley and beyond," Percan said.

A meeting by phone or in person with one of the advisors happens "within a couple of days - the turnaround is really quick."



In addition to Percan, several others contacted the newspaper after the Davidson story.

In the feature, Davidson shared that he lost some of his hearing as a tail gunner in WWII. Dee Spitler of ZOUNDS Hearing Center wrote to offer "to help Mr. Davidson with his hearing challenge. We would consider testing his hearing and providing him hearing aids, at no charge whatsoever."

Another reader who was touched by the story of the vet stopped by the newspaper office, offering to donate $400 to Davidson.

"Tell him to give it to someone who needs it more," Davidson said, when the offer was relayed. "I'm getting by all right."

Davidson was also contacted by a veteran's organization that offered him a free scooter. "I told him I already had two," Davidson said.

Two other WWII tail gunners who live in the area contacted Davidson, who said he was glad to hear from them.

And a fellow hobbyist read about Harold's pigeon raising and contacted him to talk birds. (A neighbor cat got a few of Davidson's baby birds the day the story ran.)

The story outlined some of the agencies that provide assistance for low-income seniors. Davidson had not previously heard about the APS energy assistance program, but filled out an application.

And, within a week, he got a letter back saying he was eligible for the APS discount.

Davidson, who said he has lived a lonely life since the death of his second wife, said he has enjoyed talking to the people reaching out to him.

"Those telephone calls are still a-coming," Davidson said on Wednesday.

"These people are so gracious. I appreciate all these people ...

"There sure are a lot of good folks out there."



Follow Tom Scanlon on Twitter @tomscanlonpress.






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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Article comment by: Way to Go!

We hear so much horrible heartbreaking news every day sometimes it's easy to forget there is still good in the world. Stories like this restores my faith in humans.

Posted: Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Article comment by: Byte Me

I'm glad to hear that Mr. Davidson is receiving much needed, and deserved, assistance. It's heartening too that the people and agencies are reaching out to him, rather than making him search for them. All these various programs should be promenately promoted so those who are legitimately in need can access them. This is where our money should be going, not to illegals, or foreign countries who do not like us, and wish to destroy us, but to benefit our own. I hope that the Courier keeps publishing the names and contact info of the various resources available to our seniors. Again, thanks for your service Mr. Davidson, I'm sorry it took so long for us to find you.

Posted: Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Article comment by: Carnivorous Buttock Fly

Nice follow-up story. It’s good to see so many options available for Mr. Davidson to take a look at and that so much outreach has been offered by members of the community.

I believe that he should be open-minded to receiving the assistance that is made available by these programs. They exist for people just like Mr. Davidson, who has worked hard his entire life. He should feel no shame in taking part in the programs that will assist him financially or otherwise.

It’s nice to see the offer by Dee Spitler (and I’m sure from his wife Dusty too) from Zounds Hearing Center in Prescott. I can’t think of two people in the area that consistently do so much good for their community. They are wonderful people, who are exceptionally honest and caring. Mr. Davidson should have no reservations about meeting with them to see if they are able to assist him. If they are not able to assist him, I am sure that they would recommend the best course of action for him to take.

Good for the folks that have had similar life experiences and interests that have contacted Mr. Davidson and to the Courier as well, for featuring the initial story and the follow-up!

We certainly do have a loot of good folks here!




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