Being able to help veterans and their families is the most rewarding thing that any of us at our Veterans Foundation has ever done.  It is better to give than to receive.

Our veteran of the week was Mr. Johnnie Lawrence Jr. who served in the United States Air Force during the Korean War.  Mr. Lawrence resides in Shawnee, Oklahoma. We recognized him for his military service during that war and presented him with a new cap while an admiring crowd of 150 guests gave him a standing ovation.    It is an Honor and privilege for us to have the opportunity to say Thank You to Mr. Lawrence and all the veterans who have kept this nation free.

In the next couple of weeks, we will have the ability to transport veterans confined to a wheelchair.  We recently received the donation of one of the VA Transportation Service Vans.  It has a side lift and seating for ten.  As soon as we have our Logo on the truck, we will be ready to transport veterans to our location or to the VA Hospital.  Last week our drivers spent 58 hours traveling 1,0989 miles to transport 19 veterans.

We are continuing to accept the donations of cars, trucks and handicapped equipment that can be given to veterans or sold to raise funds to help other veterans or their families.  Currently, we have a hospital bed, electric wheelchairs, walkers and other types of handicap items that are available to veterans or their families at no charge.

The donated 1965 Mustang is still available at a reduced price of $3800.   This car is partially completed, needs minimal bodywork and a seat cover for the driver’s seat.  It has a bad six-cylinder 200 cubic inch engine with an automatic transmission.  The odometer shows less than one hundred thousand miles is tight and was stored in Ohio until recently.  It would make a good project for a family to finish.

We had an inspiring week with more than 280 veterans and surviving spouses visiting us Tuesday and Thursday morning for help with their VA Claims and questions.  What separates our organization from the others who help veterans and their families; is our volunteers?  They are some of the most dedicated and knowledgeable we have ever had working with our organization.  I check every claim for accuracy before it is submitted to the Department of Veterans Affairs.  The most common mistake that I find is where someone did not sign their application. The other 99.9% of the applications I review are correct.  I’m very proud of the men and women who volunteer their time each week helping our organization to make a difference in the lives of over one thousand veterans each month.  For those of you who would like to be a part of what we do, please contact Lora 405-550-8806 or stop by any Tuesday or Thursday morning to fill out a volunteer application.  A background check is required for all applicants.

Our Wish List program is working well.  We’ve created a list of the consumable items that we use each week.  Several veterans we are working with have brought in some of the following items: copy paper, pens and pencils, staplers, cups, and gas cards.  Most of the money it takes to provide our services comes from veterans we help and other local organizations.  On any given month we are spending an average of $25,000 in direct support to veterans and their families.  We could not provide these services to the men and women who have served our nation without your support. Thanks to each you who are helping us make a difference in their lives.

As the number of visitors we have continues to grow, I will continue to encourage others to become involved with our organization.  After many years of volunteering, I have found that people who spend time helping others will be happier and live longer.  Of course, this is just from my own experience knowing hundreds of people who do volunteer and knowing many who are not involved in anything besides the TV.  Lots of ways of looking at what we all do. I for one feel that it is imperative to help those who are not able to help themselves.  The men and women who are volunteers at our Veterans Foundation know how it feels to make a difference in the lives of others.  Please consider volunteering with us or any other organization.  Let’s allmake a difference!
Last week 13 veterans received a VA disability rating of 100% for their service-connected conditions.  They will receive a combined annual income of $512,451 per year.  A record-breaking 44 veterans both male and female received VA disability ratings ranging from 10% to 90% for their service-connected disabilities.  They will receive an annual combined amount of $712,519 per year.  There were two surviving spouses of veterans awarded either DIC, Pension or Aid and Attendance benefits based on their veteran’s military service.  All of us are very proud to have helped these veterans and surviving spouses receive the VA benefits that they were eligible.  Many of the veterans we have helped with their VA applications for benefits have been applying for more than fifty years before coming to see us for help.  There is not a day that goes by that I don’t receive calls or E-mails from veterans or their families who say they have heard that we are the best and would we, please help them too.  We try to help every veteran or surviving spouse who visits us.  Sometimes I’m able to assist veterans or surviving spouses using the internet if they are unable to make the trip to see us.  It is harder to help people from a distance, but it is possible on a case by case basis.

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 as soon as we reach the quota for the day, and that time varies depending on the number of visitors and the number of available volunteers, which usually occurs around 8:00 a.m.  Contact us with any questions by email dale@dalekgrahamveteransfoundation.org.  For telephone assistance, please call 405-550-8806 to listen to our options.  For help with Surviving Spouse Benefits, Shirley can also be reached at 405-361-9322, or stop by any Tuesday or Thursday morning. Visit our website at dalekgrahamveteransfoundation.org. Semper Fi!