Joseph Hazlitt, World War II Veteran 

Dale K. Graham Veterans Foundation

Remember last week when we talked about Groundhog Day predicting an early spring?  Well, I guess the groundhog got the last laugh because Thursday was chilly where we are.  With subzero temperatures causing school closings and icy conditions our volunteers still soldiered on.  We had a moderate temperature Tuesday and helped 150 visitors that day but only 100 visitors on the snowy Thursday.  Our drivers kept the vehicles moving and donated 66 hours transporting 22 veterans 1,063 miles.

We recognize World War II veteran, Joseph Hazlitt as our veteran of the week.  Mr. Hazlitt served in the United States Navy during that war.  We introduced him and honored his service with a cap representing World War II.  Thank you for your service, sir.

A recent court ruling discussed the extension of Agent Orange-related VA benefits to “Blue Water” veterans.  We are fielding many calls on this topic and will continue to monitor the legal progress on this issue.  We don’t yet know what changes if any, the VA will make.  As we have more information, we will pass it along.

From time to time, a veteran’s appeal is scheduled on the docket for the Board of Veterans Appeals.  To attend those hearings, the veteran was required to travel to Muskogee, Oklahoma.  Such a trip involved six hours for round trip travel from our Foundation offices at 1268 North Interstate Drive in Norman, Oklahoma.  A couple of times we could use the video conferencing equipment at the Oklahoma City VA Medical Center.  When that permission was withdrawn, we had to quickly make other arrangements.  We are pleased to announce additional assistance provided to us by the Oklahoma Vet Centers.  It turns out they have a mobile unit equipped with a video conferencing facility.  Last Friday, this mobile unit was parked in front of our building so that our veterans’ cases could be heard by the VA Law Judge in Washington, D.C.  We are grateful for the wonderful services provided through the Oklahoma Vet Centers.

When we moved into our building in the Robinson Crossing Center, we were able to quickly set up shop through the many items given to us by our donors.  Some items were purchased to fill in what wasn’t donated.  One category of purchases were three dozen chairs we bought for $5.00 each.  As you might guess, at $5.00 per chair each of them had plenty of miles on them before we began using them.   Since the year and a half at our place, many, many veterans and their families have continued using these same chairs.  We feel we must replace the second-hand chairs with new ones.  Many of you have commented on the state of our carpet.  Although it was adequate when we moved into our building more than three hundred people visit us each week.  Although we’ve had the carpets cleaned several times, we’re at a point where cleaning isn’t all it needs.  Appropriate carpet will help decrease the noise levels often associated with large crowds like ours.  We’ve been thinking about these items for some time.  When we received an offer from local college students to help with moving furniture and carpet removal, we decided it was time to move ahead.  Plus, one carpet group offered to run two crews on the day when the college students are available.  Our plan is coming together so we plan to have everything done over a weekend and be fully ready when our veterans arrive for their visits the following Tuesday.  For both replacement projects, we are looking to raise $20,000. We need to buy 36 more chairs. For a donation of $300 or more, we will buy five chairs. We will attach an inscription plaque on the back of one chair for those who want to be recognized. For those making a $500 or more donation toward carpet replacement, we will recognize you on our website and newsletter. As for any donations, you will receive a very grateful thank you from our Foundation because through your generosity you are helping us to make this world just a little bit better. If you have any questions about these projects, please contact Rhonda at 405-760-0917.

As an Accredited VA Claims Agent, I receive a copy of all decisions for those veterans that have signed up with me.  This status also allows me to view the electronic records of a claimant.   Having these important pieces of information makes it possible to help folks better as we can see what’s been filed, a veteran’s records relating to appointments with the VA’s contract doctors (LHI, QTC, etc.), and notes made by the VA.

The VA decisions received this week included those for the nine veterans awarded benefits at the 100% rate.  They will receive, on an annual basis, $361,124 per year.  Twenty-three veterans were awarded benefits at the 10-90% rate.  They will receive on an annual basis, $351,959.

Thanks to all who call and visit us.  We are happy and honored to assist you with your VA claims and questions.

Please remember we are a 501 (c) (3) non-profit so your donations should be tax deductible.  We are grateful for your monetary donations that help us provide medical testing for those folks who can’t afford that cost.  The cost of a $100 hearing test is often a barrier to obtaining the evidence a veteran needs to support the claim.   We also accept the donation of running autos that can be given to a needy veteran or sold to help fund some of a veteran’s medical expenses.

Counselors from the Vet Centers are here each session, and a Legal Aid representative is on Thursdays.  We have food baskets available for those who qualify.  We look forward to your visit and thank you for trusting us to help you with your VA matters.

We are available every Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 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 early as possible.

Visit our website at for more information. Semper Fi!

As always, I want to say Thank You to all veterans and their families for their service to this United States of America.

Dale K. Graham, VA Accredited Claims Agent

Dale K. Graham Veterans Foundation