Pratt & Whitney Laptop Donation
Dale K. Graham Veterans Foundation
We would like to thank Pratt & Whitney for their donation of ten laptops to our organization. Each of our volunteers who work with veterans and their family members rely on computers to get the correct paperwork filed.
We are also still looking for donors to help with our chair upgrade. 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. 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. Please contact Lora at 405-550-8806 Ext. 101 or stop by and see us on a Tuesday or Thursday to help with this project. Thank you.
As most of you know, we are a 501-3-C Non-Profit that is only funded by the people we serve or by any local grants that we may receive. Each month the average cost to provide our services is approximately $25,000. Another way we raise funds is through our vehicle donation program. Some of the veterans who are approved for VA benefits will purchase that new truck they always wanted and will donate their old one to us. We will either give it to a needy veteran or sell it to raise funds to be used to help veterans and their families. We also accept Handicapped Items, cars, motorcycles, RV’s tractors or other items. Currently, we have available a hospital bed, a push wheelchair, electric wheelchair, and a small scooter along with a few shower chairs. These items are free to veterans and their families. Thank you for thinking of us!
As we continue to see an increase in the number of veterans and surviving spouses who need help with their VA claims questions, our Board of Directors is making plans to be able to accommodate them. They are looking at several options to be able to meet the needs of the men and women who have served in the military along with the surviving spouses of veterans. Each Tuesday and Thursday we accept the first 150 veterans who arrive. Sometimes, we may have extra volunteers that will allow us to assist more veterans or if we have some out with the flu or other illness, we might not be able to help as many. One day when we had extra volunteers, we were able to process 195 applications for VA benefits. We are always looking for men and women who would like to join our team of volunteers who would like to give back to the men and women who served in the United States Military.
Over the many years that we have been trying to make a difference in the lives of those men and women, I have met thousands of good people who only needed a Hand Up not a Hand Out. All of us know someone that has never had a break in life but has continued to do the best that they could. We see a lot of men and women who have reached a point in their life where they are no longer able to work for medical or other types of conditions. When they visit us one of the things that we do is to give them hope that they may be able to receive VA benefits that will enable them to continue to live out their lives. The first thing we tell them is we are a free service provided to all veterans and their surviving spouses. Most of the men and women we help with their VA claims and questions will receive either compensation for an injury that occurred in the military or was presumptive to their service. We also help with VA Pension, DIC and Aid and Attendance for those that qualify. Our goal is to do everything that we can to help those who served and their families. What makes us different than other organizations is we use an evidence-based claims system. We use the VA Disability Benefits Questionnaires filled out by a medical provider showing a Diagnosis of a disability, and also the severity of that condition. The VA made these DBQ forms available for everyone to use in support of veterans claims for the service connection of a disability or to re-evaluate a condition as it got more severe. By using this type of evidence to support a claim for VA benefits, it is more likely than not that it will be approved. There are some veteran’s advocates who only list disabilities on the veteran’s application for benefits with no evidence or current diagnosis of the condition. Veterans who were discharged fifty years ago may have been treated in the military for a condition, but without a current diagnosis of a disability, their claim will probably be denied. We see veteran’s every day who were denied VA benefits because no evidence was sent in with their application for benefits when they went to other places.
We are working on adding other Accredited Claims Agents to our staff that will enable us to be open on added days at our location. Training classes are provided once or twice each month for all of our volunteers to improve their skills to help veterans and their families. All of the men and women who work at our Foundation know that without the sacrifices of the men and women who served in the military our country would not be what it is today.
Last week was another busy one for all of us as there were over three hundred veterans and surviving spouses who visited us at 1268 North Interstate Drive in Norman, Oklahoma on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. For those of you who have not been there before take exit 110 on I-35, we are in the Robinson Crossing Shopping Center about one block west of the Braum’s. Be sure to arrive very early as we reach or maximum every morning. As a VA Accredited Claims Agent, we receive a copy of all decisions the VA makes on the men and women represented. This then enables us to review the decision and to send a letter to everyone who needs to return for a follow-up visit. Another critical part of the decision letters it lets us know who was approved and what percent their rating was or if they were denied. Most of the veterans advocates only see that information if the veteran returns with it for a follow-up visit. We received notification that 21 veterans were approved for a 100% rating for their service-connected disabilities and will receive a combined annual amount of $856,003. Thirty-five veterans received a rating of 10-90% and will receive a combined $692, 522 annually.
We are fortunate to have several partners in our efforts to get veterans and their families what they need. One of our partners is the Vet Center, which has locations in Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and Lawton. They provide counselors on site each day we are open. They also allow us to use their space when we have a hearing before a Judge with the Board of Veterans Appeals.
Our transportation service for veterans to our location and to the VA appointments is a popular program. Currently, we have three drivers and could use another volunteer to drive one of our vans to provide that service.
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. 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