Dale K. Graham Veterans Foundation
We want to thank one of our veterans, Mr. Bell, for presenting our foundation with a bell he made from commemorative coins. We appreciate your thoughtfulness and your service to our country.
We have been working every day to find a way to accommodate the many veterans and surviving spouses who are visiting us in Norman at 1268 North Interstate Drive each Tuesday and Thursday morning. We are in the process of trying to add space to our facility to enable or organization to add more volunteers and increase the number of veterans we see each day. Currently, we can only accept the first 150 veterans on each of the days we are open. I don’t know what time they are starting to line up outside our building, but when I arrive at 4 in the morning, there are more veterans and their family members than we can accommodate. We are averaging approximately forty veterans each day who are visiting us for the first time. Adding the new veterans, those returning with evidence, and those recently awarded benefits are overloading our ability to handle everyone in a timely matter.
One thing that continues to improve is the number of veterans awarded VA benefits for their service-connected disabilities. As we move forward, our staff of volunteers will continue to make a difference in the lives of the veterans and surviving spouses we assist each week. As many of you know, men and women are coming from forty-eight states and many countries because each of our volunteers is making a difference in the lives of our veterans. Last December, I wrote that we were on schedule to have helped over one thousand veterans to receive a 100% rating in 2018 for their service-connected disabilities. As of July 1st, of 2019, we have received over five hundred 100% ratings for our men and women veterans and are on schedule to pass up that 1000 mark this year. The Department of Veterans Affairs continues to streamline the appeals process and have reduced the total number of appeals by over two hundred thousand. We have been helping them to clear the backlog of cases by stacking the number of clients we can assist with their appeals through the Video Hearings held at the Vet Centers in Oklahoma. Before that move, we were required to drive to Muskogee to meet with the veterans at the Regional VA Office there. By using the Vet Centers nearby, we have been able to serve many more of them the same day. One day last week, we assisted seven veterans using the Video hearings with a Veterans Law Judge who was in Washington DC. Since January of this year, we have represented over 100 veterans using video hearings to serve veterans and their families. The VA rating decisions have been positive for most of those we have represented. Our philosophy is the same for hearings as it is for veterans first claim, we believe the evidence of a disability must be provided showing a diagnosed condition with a nexus linking the disability to their military service. We know that evidence is crucial to anyone who is requesting service-connection of a disability.
As many of you know, our services are free to all veterans and their surviving spouses. We provide transportation to VA medical appointments and our location at no charge. Our drivers average one thousand miles each week, providing this service to the men and women who have served our nation. As there are many homeless veterans, and others who have no one to take them to the VA medical facility, our drivers are making a difference each day providing this service. We are hoping to upgrade our vehicles this year if possible, as they have traveled many miles. I hope we will be able to have a van with a wheelchair ramp to transport the veterans who are unable to walk. Currently, the only one we have with a lift is on our large 13 passenger bus.
Last week our volunteers assisted over 300 veterans and family members with their VA claims and questions on Tuesday and Thursday morning. They came to us from Florida, Alabama, Texas, Arizona, Colorado, Arkansas, and Nebraska. Most of them ended up spending several days in Norman and the surrounding areas. Our local motels and restaurants had visitors that they ordinarily would not have had. I believe that we are helping our state’s economy to grow with the many veterans who we have helped to receive VA benefits along with the many visitors who are coming to Oklahoma for help with their VA claims.
For those of you who would like to join our team of volunteers, please stop by any Tuesday or Thursday for an application. On OSBI background check is required on each volunteer.
Please remember everything we do is at no charge. We spend over $25,000 a month in direct support of veterans and their families. All donations go to provide transportation, help pay for DBQ Exams, food items, rent, and other unforeseen needs of our veterans and their families.
Our organization is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that relies on donations to be able to provide services to the thousands of veterans and their families who need assistance. We accept the donation of cars, trucks, motorcycles, or other types of items that can be given to veterans or sold to raise funds to provide for veteran’s needs. Please remember that your donations should be tax-deductible on your income taxes. Thank You for supporting our Foundation. You can also donate anytime online at dalekgrahamveteransfoundation.org or by mail at PO Box 592 Washington, OK 73093.
We have power wheelchairs and scooters that have been donated. If you know a veteran who needs one, please contact us.
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.
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.
Visit our website at dalekgrahamveteransfoundation.org for more information. There you will find a section on Frequently Asked Questions. You may also contact us at 405-550-8806 for information or 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.
Dale K. Graham, VA Accredited Claims Agent
Dale K. Graham Veterans Foundation