Marius Anderson, United States Navy Veteran
Dale K. Graham Veterans Foundation
I hope that all our readers were able to be with friends and family on Thanksgiving Day. As we draw closer to Christmas and the New Year please remember we will be closed during the full week of Christmas so our volunteers can spend time with their families.
Congratulations to our veteran of the week, Mr. Marius Anderson, from Yukon, Oklahoma. Mr. Anderson served in the United States Navy. Thank you for your service Mr. Anderson. We appreciate you!
A special thanks to Kreativ Seasonal Decorating Services for donating their time and decorations for our foundation. We are all decked out for the holidays! We appreciate you very much!
During the past few years, there have been many changes in the way Veteran Claims for benefits are handled by the Department of Veterans Affairs. I believe the VA has made changes that will be instrumental in reducing the time a veteran waits for decision after filing for VA benefits. The decisions that are made today are less likely to be denied when veterans utilize the VA Disability Benefits Questionnaires to diagnose and evaluate a disability that occurred in the military or one that was aggravated by their military service. The VA has been using the same form to evaluate all veteran claims for service-connection of a disability for several years. We believe that when the veteran provides their own DBQ to support their claim for service-connection or to increase their rating for a disability the field is leveled. Many places that assist veterans will simply list the disabilities they want to file for, with no evidence to support their request to support service-connection or for an increased evaluation. The only time no evidence is needed is when the veteran files within one year of being discharged from active duty. It is very important that all veterans understand what is needed to help to ensure that their request will be approved.
Each Tuesday and Thursday morning we are assisting the first 150 veterans with their applications for VA Health Care, Disability Benefits, State benefits for those who are eligible, Applications for Champ-VA Medical Insurance for Dependents if eligible, Life Insurance, DIC or Pension for dependents and help for veterans applying for an Upgraded Discharge. Needless to say, we reach the maximum that can be accommodated by 4 am on each Tuesday and Thursday we are open. Our services are free for everyone who needs help with their VA claims and questions.
As many of you know. veterans and surviving spouses are traveling from all fifty states for our volunteers to assist them with their VA issues. Currently, we have veterans that have traveled from the following countries for our assistance, China, Australia, Philippines, Kenya Africa, England, Mexico, Dubai, Germany along with several European countries and New York City. It appears to me that our volunteers could be the best-kept secret around. We plan to continue helping veterans and their families as long as we can provide the best service around this United States. As some of you know we have been approved by the Board of Veterans Appeals in Washington DC to hold veterans video conference hearings at our location in Norman. Before being approved the veteran or surviving spouse and we were required to travel to Muskogee Oklahoma for BVA hearings or to the Vet Center in OKC.
We have signed a lease on the building next door we are working tirelessly to make the necessary updates to that will allow us to bring more people in out of the weather each morning. As we move forward, I will keep you informed of how this new area will be utilized.
We are a 501-3-C Non-Profit, which means our services are free to everyone who we assist with our services. We operate on donations from individuals, businesses, or grants we receive. Our budget each month to provide services such as rents, utilities, transportation, and medical expenses for the men and women we assist is over twenty-five thousand dollars. This equates to over $300,000 per year in services to veterans and their families. For those of you who want to help us help others, please consider becoming a donor. Your gifts should be tax-deductible. You can donate directly on our website or mail to PO Box 592 Washington, OK 73093
We have four transportation vans we use to transport veterans to their VA appointments. Our pantry also has food sacks big enough to feed a family for a week at a time. These are available to those in our community who are doing without. We want to do everything possible to make a difference in the lives of the men and women who served our country.
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