• October 20, 2014

In the spotlight Volunteer rewarded by helping veterans

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Posted: Friday, May 17, 2013 4:30 am

Harker Heights resident Willie Browning, 67, is a military mentor who volunteers her time to help veterans and families file Veterans Affairs claims at the Vet Center in Heights.

How long have you lived in Heights?

I’ve lived in Harker Heights since 1980.

Where are you from originally?

I am from Waco … came to Fort Hood and never looked back.

What do you enjoy most about living in Heights?

This is a very small, tight-knit community and I like that.

How long have you been working with the Harker Heights Vet Center?

Just to make one thing clear — I do not work with VA nor the Vet Center. I volunteer my time helping these men and women. I just happened to have a desk at the center.

What made you want to volunteer helping military families file their VA claims?

When my husband passed away in 2005, I was crushed. I needed a reason to get up out of bed. I help not only just disabled veterans, but widow, widowers, even Vietnam veteran children. Knowing that I am helping out someone during a tough time is just as rewarding.

How many people do you see in a week or a month?

In about a week maybe 40. In about a month around 250 tops.

From how far away have people called for your assistance?

Honey, I get phone calls from Berlin, Baghdad ... all over the world. I even had veterans fly from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to Killeen just to see me. But to answer your question: A man on an airplane heading to Kuwait.

What is your favorite vacation spot and why?

Gosh, I hadn’t had a vacation in so long, I can’t give you an answer for that one.

What was the best advice you were ever given?

Get all the education you can because they can’t take that away from you. And buy all the land you can, because they don’t make any anymore. Now, this man who gave me this advice didn’t even get a high school education nor own any land — my father.

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