Ronnie Anderson says it’s easy for him to become emotionally involved with constituents he seeks to help as a field representative for Arkansas senior U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor.
“Sen. Pryor is big on helping Arkansans, and his staff feels the same way,” said Anderson, a 55-year-old Army retiree and former high school coach. “We try to help people with issues concerning the Veterans Administration, Social Security and the like. We help them get answers to questions or to solve their problems.”
Anderson and two of his counterparts — 48-year-old Frank Bateman and 22-year-old Jason Harper — were busily aiding others Tuesday morning inside the Pine Bluff Civic Center, manning a “mobile office” for Pryor, who was not present.
The most frequent requests for assistance concern veterans’ issues, said Anderson, an Iraqi War veteran.
“We’re seeing more and more World War II veterans coming in, letting us know that they’re owed a Purple Heart or other honor or benefit for their service,” Anderson said. “It’s an honor to just be in their presence, let alone help them. It always makes us feel good to be able to help anyone on any matter, but it’s especially rewarding to help a World War II veteran. And it’s nice when we get to participate in award and recognition ceremonies. We’re always honored to help any veteran, period.”
Pine Bluff Housing Authority Resident Director Karen Lee and Resident Coordinator Sabrina Walker said they had visited the field representatives to seek information and directions concerning how the federal sequestration might impact Social Security particulars.
“I would say we had a satisfactory experience,” Walker said.
“We have a number of residents who draw or are in the process of applying for (Social Security),” Lee said, “and they’re worried about what may happen. We got some key contacts that may help speed up the process of gathering more information, and that will let us bypass some prompts on the telephone.
“We were looking for help for those who aren’t computer-savvy so we can expedite their cases,” she said. “Some of the residents are worried over SSI cuts, even though we’re not at that point yet. Being able to have these contacts who have been so helpful is very beneficial.”