Last week we recognized five veterans who served in the Korean War and presented each of them with a military cap representing their service to our country.  Of those, we selected Mr. Alfred Godfrey as our veteran of the week. Mr. Godfrey served in the Korean War as a member of the United States Army.  He makes his home in Binger, Oklahoma.  Thank you for your service, sir! We are very proud of all the men and women who have served in the military and their families who supported them.

Last Tuesday morning we were overwhelmed by the large number of veterans and surviving spouses who visited us at 1268 North Interstate Drive in Norman, Oklahoma.   We were able to assist 156 of them with their VA claims and questions.  I’m very sorry to say there were 45 veterans and spouses we asked to return another day as we had reached our maximum before 6:30 a.m.  Veterans are lining up outside our door at 4 am on both Tuesday and Thursday mornings.

One of the most important things that separate our organization from others is we use the VA Disability Benefits Questionnaires (DBQ) that includes the evidence to support the veteran’s application for service connection of a disability.  We also use that same form when we ask the VA for an increased rating of a service-connected disability. One of the problems we see is that some veterans will use their E-Benefits account to file for a re-evaluation of a service-connected disability without realizing that by doing so their rating may be reduced.  Last week I received a rating from the VA on a veteran who was reduced from a 70% to 10% rating after the veteran had filed their own claim.  One of the things I suggest is never to ask to be reevaluated for any hearing loss rating over 30% percent.  Many veterans who do file for an increase on that disability could see their rating reduced.  The VA rating schedule located in CFR 38 parts 0 thru 17 shows the minimum and maximum for most every increase in a rating for a disability not knowing that it is already at the maximum rating level.  We try to review every rating that a veteran has before filing for re-evaluation of current disability.

As a VA Accredited Claims Agent, I receive a copy of all the correspondence that the VA sends to those who represented.  This enables us to know if we are providing the appropriate evidence in support of each veteran and surviving spouse claims for VA benefits.  Receiving this vital piece of VA correspondence helps us to track the number of veterans who receive increased ratings and spot trends for service-connection of new disabilities.  As all of us have goals in our lives, one of ours is to help one thousand veterans receive a 100% rating for their service-connected disabilities in one calendar year.   We may not make it this year, but we have already helped more than 550 veterans both men and women receive the 100% rating for their service-connected disabilities.    Maybe it’s time for you to visit to be one of those who reaches that rating.

Of the VA rating decisions, I received last week, 35 veterans received a 100% rating for their service-connected disabilities.  Those veterans were both male and female and ranged in age from their early twenties to the late eighties.  I want every veteran to receive all of the VA benefits for which they are eligible.    The veterans who receive that rating may also be eligible for the Champ VA Medical insurance for their spouse and dependents.  Another provides educational benefits to their dependents.  The VA educational benefits for dependents of veterans who rated 100% can equate to more than $1000 per month for each dependent.  We encourage all veterans who are rated at that amount to visit us for more information about educational benefits.  Those 35 veterans will receive a combined annual income from the VA of $995,101 per year for their service-connected disabilities.  We received 37 rating letters for our veterans rated 10% to 90% and this group of veterans will receive a combined annual income of $577,362 per year.  Those who receive a 30% or higher rating will be eligible for an increased amount for each dependent they have.

One of the missions we take very seriously at our Veterans Foundation is our transportation service we provide to veterans who are unable to drive or do not have anyone to take them to their VA appointments.  Last week the drivers worked 95 hours and logged 1,756 miles transporting 37 passengers.  Several of these veterans require the use of our handicapped accessible bus as they are wheelchair bound.  As we continue to grow there will be a need to add another driver or two to continue meeting the increased demand for this service.  There are many veterans in our community who are not aware we provide transportation to our location and to the VA Hospital so please pass the word.

I want to take this opportunity to say Thank You to those of you who are helping us to make a difference in the lives of our veterans and their families.  As a 501 (c) (3) we are not funded by anyone other than the men and women who we help and any grants we may receive.  Currently, we are spending more than $25,000 each month in direct support to the men and women who have served our nation in the military.  We also have our donor program where cars, trucks, motorcycles and other items are donated to us so that we may give them to veterans or their families in need or sell them to raise funds to support the needs of veterans.  As a Non-Profit, these donations may be tax deductible on your tax returns.

As always we appreciate the sacrifices that all veterans and their families have made for this United States of America.

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 morning 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 7:00 a.m.  Contact us with any questions by email  For telephone assistance, please call 405-550-8806 to listen to our options. For general information dial extension 101, to schedule transportation dial extension 105 or 106.  For help with Surviving Spouse Benefits, dial extension 104, or stop by any Tuesday or Thursday morning. Visit our website at Semper Fi!