John Logan of the Masonic Charity Foundation and his Masonic brethren presented a $25,000 check to Dale Graham and Lora Malone at Dale K. Graham Veterans Foundation in Norman.
Dale K. Graham Veterans Foundation
The Masonic Charity Foundation of Oklahoma gifted Dale K. Graham Veterans Foundation with a $25,000 donation last week. John Logan of the Masonic Charity Foundation and his Masonic brethren presented the check at Dale K. Graham Veterans Foundation in Norman. Lora Malone, Executive Director for Dale K. Graham Veterans Foundation, said, “It is a complete honor to accept this gift from the Masonic Charity Foundation of Oklahoma due to the fact that our missions are parallel in the goal of giving back to America’s Heroes. This gift will provide so many with the opportunity to heal and be appreciated.“
As the weather continues to improve the number of veterans who are making the trip to our Foundation at 1268 North Interstate Drive in Norman, Oklahoma each Tuesday and Thursday. One of them had been planning a journey from the high country of Colorado for several months while he waited for the snow to melt off and his road to clear. He made it in last Tuesday morning arriving at our location at 0300 ready to start his claim for VA benefits. After reviewing his Medical records and his VA claims folder, we decided to send him to a medical professional for an evaluation of his service-connected disabilities using a VA Disabilities Benefits Questionnaire. We also asked for an evaluation of secondary conditions to some of his other disabilities that are already service-connected. As many of the veterans we see are already receiving benefits for injuries that occurred in the military, many of them may also be suffering from depression that is secondary to those disabilities. An example would be if a veteran received an injury to their knees during their service, and now they are unable to enjoy the outdoors with grandchildren or other friends and family members. One of the things I have found out over the last twenty years or so is that many veterans are depressed because they can’t enjoy the things they did before becoming disabled.
For those of you who were not aware of our onsite mental health counselors from the Vet-Centers, please consider stopping to visit with them about any mental health issues you feel were caused or aggravated by your military service. They can provide onsite services or at any of the Vet Centers located in Lawton, Tulsa or Oklahoma City. Over twenty years ago I was part of a program that was called A Walk through Vietnam established to help veterans deal with PTSD and other issues that were caused by that War. I can honestly say that the services they provided to us not only changed my life but the lives of countless other veterans who were suffering from PTSD and other Depression-like symptoms. What many of us learned during that program was that we were not alone and there were thousands of veterans from all wars who suffered from disabilities that were caused by traumatic events that occurred. After we finished that program several of us began to encourage other veterans who we knew to visit a Vet Center near where they lived.
I know that some of our readers have heard my request for more volunteers many times; we believe there will always be a need to help veterans and their families. Last week I was talking to some veterans in the Enid area who wanted to know if we ever sent volunteers to their town. The answer is not yet, but we are looking at ways to provide services in that area. One way might be to have volunteers who live there to fill out the VA Form 21-22A and the 1-0966 to be sent to our location to be reviewed. This would then give the veteran or surviving spouse one year to obtain the evidence needed to support their application for VA benefits. They would need to make one or two trips to our location to visit our Health Care professionals or one of their choices before filing a Fully Developed Claim. There are many ways that we can increase the number of people that we assist. I would like to see every veteran receive the VA benefits they are eligible for.
I continue to receive questions about Blue Water Navy people, the personnel who served aboard Navy Ships supporting those who served in Vietnam. Some of you have heard that VA is going to start granting benefits to those who may have been exposed to Agent Orange and now have some of the presumptive disabilities associated with that chemical. My advice to anyone who is part of the Blue Water Navy is to file a claim for service-connection of any disease that was presumptive to exposure to that chemical. That goes for the surviving spouses of Blue Water sailors and airmen. Some of the conditions that are presumptive to exposure to Agent Orange include: Hairy Cell and other B-cell Leukemia’s, Parkinson’s disease, Ischemic Heart Disease, AL Amyloidosis, Chloracne, Diabetes Type 2, Hodgkin’s Disease, Multiple Myeloma, Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Peripheral Neuropathy Early -Onset, Porphyria Cutanea Tarda, Prostate Cancer, Repertory Cancers (Includes Lung Cancer), and Soft Tissue Sarcomas.
I receive all the rating decisions and other correspondence for the men and women we represent. This enables us to be more proactive in the claims process for everyone who we are the POA for their VA claims. Last week 31 veterans received ratings of 100% for their service-connected disabilities. Their combined annual dollar amount is $1,261,484 per year. Those men and women will be eligible for the Oklahoma state tax benefits including property tax exemption on their primary residence, Sales Tax Exemption of purchases up to twenty-five thousand dollars per year, and there are several other state benefits that available to them such as reduced auto tags for two vehicles. Forty-three veterans were awarded disability ratings from 10 percent to 90 percent. Those men and women will receive a combined annual amount of $721,327. Three surviving spouses of veterans were awarded DEIC, Pension or Aid and Attendance based on their spouse’s military service and will receive a combined annual amount of $54,768.
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 donations 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.
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