We are thankful for our volunteers!  Thanks to each of you for all you do and the endless hours you put in to help our veterans and their families.  We salute you!

Dale K. Graham Veterans Foundation

I would like to say Thank You to the Veterans and their families who have done so much for this United States of America.  Without the sacrifices the men and women who served in our military have made for us, this country would not have continued to survive.  When we look at the many countries around the world where people have no control over their lives and face hunger every day, our country looks pretty good.   I also would like to take this opportunity to say that without the financial support from the people we serve what we do would not be possible.  The number of veterans and surviving spouses who visit us each Tuesday and Thursday morning at 1268 North Interstate Drive in Norman Oklahoma continues to increase weekly.  Every day more veterans and surviving spouses arrive than we can accommodate.   Our goal is to assist the first 140 veterans each day.  That number is being reached before our doors are opened at 4 AM or so.   Daily thirty to fifty veterans are asked to return on another Tuesday or Thursday morning.  We are doing everything possible to provide services to every veteran who needs our assistance.  Some of our volunteers have assisted veterans fourteen hours or more on many days.  As most of us are retired, those long days are more than we want to have.  We are looking to start bringing volunteers in from 10 AM to 2 PM to relieve some of those who began to work at 4 in the morning. This might help us to accommodate more veterans and surviving spouses.  For those of you who are late sleepers, that start time might be just the ticket for you.  Those interested in becoming a part of our group please contact Lora at 405 550-8806 or stop by any Tuesday or Thursday morning.

Last week we assisted 325 veterans and surviving spouses with their VA claims and questions at our foundation.  Many of them made their first trip to Norman, Oklahoma from other states. There were so many from Texas that we told them that we were going to build a wall along the Red River!  Seriously though, I am hoping some of the veterans who travel to Oklahoma will use our evidence-based claims system to help us make a difference for the veterans, and surviving spouses in their area.  This week we will try to track the number of out of state veterans who visit us for assistance.  I’m curious to see what the percentage is and the different states they are from.  One of the reasons we have so many people coming to see our volunteers is the sharing of Social Media and our E-mails that are forwarded to so many people.  Each week this newsletter is sent to fifteen thousand of the veterans and spouses we have helped, and from there it is forwarded by you to others.  We thank you for telling your friends about us and hope we can be of some help.

This week 37 veterans received a 100% rating for their service-connected disabilities.  That group of men and women veterans will receive an annual combined amount of $1,416,749 per year.  They will also be eligible to receive many other benefits from our state of Oklahoma with the biggest being the property tax exemption on their primary residence in our state.  Some of the other benefits they may be eligible to receive are two reduced cost auto tags, exemption of excise tax on a vehicle once every three years, and free hunting and fishing licenses.   Our state supports all veterans and their families more than many others do.  Sixty-three veterans were awarded VA benefits from 10% to 90% for their service-connected disabilities.  These men and women will receive a combined annual amount of $1,038,867 annually.  One surviving spouse was approved for DIC, Pension or Aid and attendance based on their veteran’s military service and will receive $15,828 annually.  Surviving spouses whose veteran was not retired from the military may be eligible for the Champ-VA medical insurance if they are approved for DIC (when a veteran dies from a service-connected disability or one that was presumptive to their service).  We also see surviving spouses whose spouse’s death certificate list a service-connected disability as a contributing condition.

One of the most important things that I can tell a veteran who has never filed a claim for benefits is it is much easier to help a surviving spouse of a veteran who died if they were receiving VA benefits.  It bothers me a lot to see surviving spouses walk in our door with no chance of receiving VA benefits because their spouse would not take the time to do so.  Many times, the veteran is the only one who knows where they traveled during their service, and the different types of chemicals, fumes, radiation or other types of things they may have been exposed to while in the military.  We have been reading some of the medical studies that have been done linking hearing loss to heart disease and dementia.  We have had cases approved where the veteran was service-connected for hearing loss and later died from either heart conditions or dementia.  There are many ways we can help veterans and their families if they only knew about them.

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 donation 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. Thank You for supporting our Foundation.  You can also donate anytime online at dalekgrahamveteransfoundation.org or by mail at PO Box 592 Washington, OK  73093.

We have power wheelchairs and scooters that have been donated.  If you know a veteran who needs one, please contact us.

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.  People are lined up as early as 4 a.m.

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.

Semper Fi!

Dale K. Graham, VA Accredited Claims Agent

Dale K. Graham Veterans Foundation