Raymond Starkebaum, World War II Veteran 

Dale K. Graham Veterans Foundation

Today we recognize the men and women of our Oklahoma Vet Centers for the work that they do for our Oklahoma Veterans and their families.  For those of you who are not aware of their services, please consider visiting with one of them.  Located in Tulsa, Lawton and Oklahoma City, they provide a variety of services, one of which is counseling.  Each Tuesday and Thursday morning we have someone from their office available at our location to work with both veterans and their families.  I know that if more veterans were aware of their services that there would be less veteran’s suicides.  Everyone needs to be mindful of what is available to veterans who are in a crisis.

Our veteran of the week, Mr. Raymond Starkebaum served in World War II as a member of the United States Army.  Mr. Starkebaum makes his home in Choctaw, Oklahoma.  Thank you for your service, sir.

As everyone knows we do not receive any Government Funding. Everything we receive is from the men and women we help or from grants from local businesses or charities. Currently, the cost is approximately thirty thousand dollars per month to support our mission to improve the lives of veterans and their families.  We appreciate those of you who are giving back to your brothers and sisters who have served in this United States Military.  Our automobile donation program has been an easy way for veterans to give back to others.  As a 501c3 non-profit your donations of cars, trucks, motorcycles, etc.  is a win-win for both the donor and our foundation.  Many of those who we help to receive VA benefits will purchase that new car or truck they have wanted for so long.  Some of them will then donate their old one to us where we either give it to a needy veteran or sell it to raise funds to support veterans and their families.

We are currently looking at ways to improve your visit to our 1268 North Interstate Drive location in Norman, Oklahoma.  For those of you who would like to help us with the cost to upgrade our facility, please contact Lora at 405-550-8806.   There are several types of improvements we are planning that should make your time with us more enjoyable.  The first thing we want to do is to replace the worn-out chairs we purchased used from the OU Junk store for a $1 each when we first opened.   Replacements can be bought for twenty-five dollars each at one of our local business or online.  The next thing on our replacement list is our carpet. I believe that anyone who has visited us before will agree that our carpet looks like something out of a crime scene with so many stains. Thanks to all those who are helping with our carpet and chair replacement. We are very grateful you have found us worthy of your donations.  We aren’t yet to the halfway mark so if you can help us, there is still time to do so.  For both replacement projects, we are looking to raise $20,000. We would like to purchase 36 chairs. For a donation of $300 or more, we will buy five.  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, you will be recognized on our website and newsletter. As for any contributions, 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.

We were recently able to replace many of the individual laser printers that our volunteers use to process veterans’ applications for benefits.  As we continue to grow there will be a need for a larger facility for us to better serve the men and women who have worn the uniform of a member of our military.  Until then, our only option is to add more volunteers to our membership that would allow us to add another day to provide services.  Currently, some of our volunteers are available to schedule a visit on Monday mornings.  For more information Lora Malone @ 405-550-8806 there will be a limited number of openings.

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 essential pieces of information makes it possible to help folks better as we can see what has 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 fourteen veterans awarded benefits at the 100% rate.  They will receive $569,495 per year.  Thirty-six veterans were awarded benefits at the 10-90% rate.  Last week there were 23 in that category, so we are excited about this jump.  This new group will receive $543,377 on an annual basis.

We are available every Tuesday and Thursday morning 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.

Counselors from the Vet Centers are here each session, and a Legal Aid representative is here 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.

Visit our website at dalekgrahamveteransfoundation.org for more information. There you will find a section on Frequently Asked Questions. Call 405-550-8806 to schedule transportation.

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

Semper Fi!

Dale K. Graham, USMC, VA Accredited Claims Agent

Dale K. Graham Veterans Foundation