Our veteran of the week is Mr. John McMurtey of Haileyville, Oklahoma served in the Korean War.  We recognized him for his military service and presented a cap to him representing the war he fought in.  Thank You Mr. McMurtey for the sacrifices you and yours made while serving in the United States military!

We still have the 1965 mustang that was donated to our organization to be sold to raise funds.  For those of you who are looking for something to do, this car is 75% restored.  It has a broken six-cylinder engine with an automatic transmission.  One of our veterans is bringing an engine to us this week, and it will need to be rebuilt.  We are asking $3800 or best offer for this classic car.   If I were not so busy helping veterans and their families I would buy it myself.  My wife says no more projects unless it’s something she wants done around the house.  Our program to accept cars and trucks that can be given to veterans or sold to raise operational funds for veterans continues to be a benefit to everyone.  The donor receives a tax deduction, a needy veteran receives it, or we sell it and use the money to support veterans.  We also accept any type of handicapped items that we can recycle to other veterans.Our handicap accessible bus made its maiden trip last week transporting a veteran in a wheelchair from the Veterans Center in Norman to his QTC appointment for an evaluation of his disabilities.  We have a new driver Mr.  Terry O’Dea who is certified to operate the lifts and has a commercial driver’s license.  We hope to have all the decals and our logos on the bus in the next week or so.  For those of you who need this service, please call Lora @ 405-550-8806.  Our other two drivers donated 65 hours to transport 20 veterans 932 miles.

Did you know that we have food items that can be given to veterans or their surviving spouses who need this type of services?  During the last few weeks, we have provided electric scooters and wheelchairs to seven veterans who were in need. As always, we provide these items at no charge to our veterans and their families.  Currently, we do not have any scooters left, but we do have two electric wheelchairs available for veterans.  We may have a few walkers and shower chairs that are available.

One of the things I have not written about in a while is the presumptive illnesses caused by military service.  One of the largest groups are those veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange while serving in Vietnam, Thailand, Korea and other places.  The items below are presumptive for veterans exposed to Agent Orange.  Al Amyloidosis, Chronic B-cell Leukemia’s, chloracne, Diabetes Type 2, Hodgkin’s Disease, Ischemic Heart Disease, Multiple Myeloma, Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Parkinson’s Disease, Peripheral Neuropathy, Early –Onset, Porphyria Cutanea Tarda, Prostate Cancer, Respiratory Cancers and Soft Tissue Sarcomas (other than osteosarcoma chondrosarcoma Kaposi’s sarcoma or mesothelioma).  For those of you who are suffering from any of these conditions VA compensation may be payable.  The surviving spouses of veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange may be eligible for DIC benefits if any of the presumptive or conditions that were service connected are listed on the Veterans Death Certificate as primary or secondary to cause of death.  Next week I will write about Presumptive conditions to service in the Gulf Wars and presumptive conditions to Veterans who served at Marine Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina

Last week there were 275 veterans and surviving spouses who visited us last week at 1268 North Interstate Drive for assistance with their VA claims and questions. The reason so many veterans and their families visit us is our reputation and our volunteers.  Ask yourself why we have helped veterans and spouses from forty-one states and three countries.  I doubt that there is any place else in this United States that people will travel thousands of miles for assistance with their VA claims.  I’m very proud of the men and women who volunteer each Tuesday and Thursday morning helping to make a difference in the lives of the men and women who have served in our military.  Some of those who visit us were injured during their military service over fifty or more years ago.  They have suffered from physical or emotional disabilities that occurred or were aggravated by their military service and have only recently filed their first claim for VA benefits.  When these men and women visit us for the first time most do not know how the VA claims process works or that they may receive compensation for an injury that occurred so long ago.  Our goal is to help every veteran and surviving spouse who visits to receive all the VA benefits for which they are eligible.  For those of you who have been putting off a visit to our organization, please consider this an invitation to do so.  We do not charge for our services.

Last week the men and women who work at our Muskogee VA Regional Office must have worked overtime based on the number of rating decision letters we got back.  Thirty-nine veterans were approved for disability compensation from 10% to 90% based on their injuries that occurred in the military or were aggravated by their service.  These men and women will receive an annual combined compensation of $585,902 per year.   There were 19 veterans awarded a 100% rating for their service-connected disabilities.  They will receive an annual combined amount of $770,120.

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!