As we start off the first week of September, I would like to pass on a few things that have been happening at our Veterans Foundation at 1268 North Interstate Drive in Norman, Oklahoma.  The most important was the 300 hundred veterans and surviving spouses we assisted with their VA claims and questions last week.  Most of the veterans and their families we help with their VA claims will receive VA the benefits for which they applied. The main reason we are successful is that we consistently use the VA Disability Benefits Questionnaires.  The VA designed those forms to speed up and improve the accuracy of the VA claims process.  When the VA sends a veteran to one of their contract evaluators, such as QTC or LHI, for an evaluation of a claimed condition, it uses a similar Disability Benefits Questionnaire to evaluate the veteran’s disability. If the VA is using that type of form for evaluations of veteran’s claims, then the veteran should use that same form in support of their application for VA benefits.

It continues to come to my attention there are people in other organizations who are telling veterans and spouses that we charge for our services.  Please rest assured that if we did there would not be more than 300 people each week wanting us to help them with their VA claims.  It seems to me there is a big problem in our state when these kinds of statements are being said by individuals who are supposed to be helping all veterans.  I also find it sad that some of these statements are coming from folks who claim they are working to help veterans and families.  To me, I think anyone who is trying to make a difference in the lives of the men and women who served this country should be doing just that.  All of us who care about veterans and their families should stay focused on what we can do for others.

Our veteran of the week, Mr. William Fletcher was a part of the Greatest Generation who served honorably in World War II. Mr. Fletcher resides in Norman, Oklahoma and served during the 1940’s in the United States Marines. Today we want to say Thank You for your service to the United States of America.  For those of you who know a veteran, please give them a Thank You for their service.

The VA Regional Office must be working overtime as we received 450 pieces of VA mail last week.  These included 117 decision letters on some of the veterans we represent. Currently, there are almost twenty thousand represented by us.  A veteran visited us from Alaska Tuesday morning.  He has made several trips to our location for help with his service-connected disabilities.  Maybe we all need to load up and visit him for some lessons on fishing.  He showed us pictures of some of the Flounders he had been catching.  It makes me want to take a week or so off and try my luck.  It seems like we stay so busy helping veterans we don’t have time for those fishing trips anymore.  Guess if it comes down to it I would rather change a veteran’s life than catch a fish anyway.   There is not a day that goes by that someone doesn’t call or send a note telling us what a difference we have made in their lives.  The money received by a veteran or surviving spouse makes a huge difference for most of those we help.  Therefore, I always say if a person has a little walking around money in their pocket their lives will probably be better.

As many of you already know I am a VA Accredited Claims Agent which means that I receive a copy of all the communication from VA that those represented receive.  This enables us to then send a notice to the veteran or spouse instructing them what their next step should be in the claims process.  Last week 19 veterans received a 100% rating for their service-connected disabilities.  They will receive an annual combined amount of $753,201 per year.  They will also be eligible to receive other benefits from VA and our State Government.  For those of you who received that award, please visit us to apply for the other benefits for which you are now eligible.  We had 55 veterans, both male and female, who received ratings from 10% to 90% for their service-connected disabilities.  They will receive an annual combined amount of $783,585 per year.

One of the reasons we have dedicated our lives to helping veterans is because many of them were scarred forever when they returned home.  Over the years, I have known many of them who were never able to reintegrate back into the life they had before military service.  Some of them lost their innocence and became hardened by the things they did or witnessed.  Some have tried to forget by using drugs, and alcohol, while others have withdrawn from everyone and everything they once enjoyed.  We don’t have a miracle pill that makes everything all right for those we help.  However, we do care deeply about all veterans and their families.  We know that without the VA benefits for some of those we can help, many of them would probably have taken their own lives.  Like I have always said if you have a roof over your head and something to eat life is going to be OK.

We now have staff from the Vet Centers onsite to answer veteran’s questions for help.  Our Legal Aid team is available each Thursday morning also to help veterans.  Staff from the Social Security is also available on and will be onsite Tuesday, September 18, 2018, to answer your questions.

As a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit organization, we assist veterans and surviving spouses.  One of the ways we do that is with their applications for VA benefits, assistance with rents, food items, transportation, medical testing along with a host of other things.  One of the ways we are funded is by your monthly donations that can be set up for an automatic withdrawal from your bank or credit card.  We also accept the gifts of cars, trucks, motorcycles or other items that can be given to veterans or sold to raise funds for veterans.   We have several powered wheelchairs and ramps that are available to veterans and their families at no charge.

One of the things we would like to see is more people paying it forward to help the next veteran or surviving spouse.  On a monthly basis, we average between twenty-five and thirty thousand dollars in direct support to veterans and their families.  One of the things we need help with is increasing the number of our reoccurring monthly donation.  Currently, we receive donations from about only ten percent of the men and women we have helped to receive their benefits.  If we have helped you, we ask you to consider helping us help the next person in line.  I would like to see this organization be able to do more for the men and women who have served in uniform.  As we are all brothers and sisters, we should help each other as much as possible.  With your help, we can do so much more.

Dale K. Graham Veterans Foundation has food sacks available to those in need.  An application for this type of assistance will be available on Tuesday and Thursday mornings.  A DD-214 or military discharge will be necessary to apply.  Please contact 405-550-8806 Extension 103 to request a food sack.

If you need a ride to and from a VA Medical Appointment, please contact 405-550-8806 to reach Clayton at Extension 105 or Louie at Ext. 106.

We are available every Tuesday and Thursday mornings at the 1268 North Interstate Drive Norman, OK 73072.  We open the doors by 5:30 a.m. and we begin working as soon as volunteers have their computers ready.  We stop taking clients at 8:00 a.m. and urge you to arrive as soon as possible. Contact us with any questions by email at dale@dalekgrahamveteransfoundation.org.  For telephone assistance, please call 405-550-8806 to listen to our options. For general information dial extension 101, to schedule transportation dial extension 105 or 106. For help with Surviving Spouse Benefits, dial extension 104, or stop by any Tuesday or Thursday morning. Visit our website at dalekgrahamveteransfoundation.org. Semper Fi!

 

Dale K. Graham

Dale K. Graham Veterans Foundation, VA Accredited Claims Agent