Muriel Bratcher, Korean War Veteran
Dale K. Graham Veterans Foundation
Recently we sent out almost twenty-two thousand annual newsletters to the veterans and surviving spouses we serve. I want to say Thank You to all of you who responded to our funding request. Your dollars make our organization one of the best in the nation when it comes to helping all of those who have worn the uniform of our military. Last year with your help we provided more than two hundred thousand dollars in assistance to veterans and their families. Expenditures for medical testing is the largest category of our expenses.
One of the ways we raise funds is through our auto donation program. As a 501 (c) (3) donations to our organization are tax deductible. We accept Cars, Trucks, Motorcycles, Tractors, Handicapped Equipment and other types of items that can be given to veterans or sold to raise funds to help them.
We have a couple of different ways you can help us. For those who shop online with Amazon, choose us with AmazonSmile. Just type in AmazonSmile and select us as the organization you wish to support. Each time you make a purchase using this method triggers a donation back to us through AmazonSmile. We also have our Wish List project that identifies items we use daily, where to locate those items, and indicates the quantities we need. After you pick an item on our Wish List just bring it in and we will graciously provide you with a receipt for your records. If you are onsite and wish to make a cash contribution but find no cash in your wallet, just use your credit or debit card in our DipJar. Of course, you can always mail us a check or donate through our website, where you will find Frequently Asked Questions, hours, etc. at dalekgrahamveteransfoundation.org.
Our veteran of the week, Mr. Muriel Bratcher from Lookeba, Oklahoma served in the Korean War as a member of the United States Army. Thank you for your service and sacrifice Mr. Bratcher. We appreciate you!
During 2018 of the people we helped there were more than 2900 veterans and surviving spouses approved for the VA benefits for which they were eligible. The veterans and surviving spouses we helped were awarded more than was $67 million in 2018. I believe the financial impact our volunteers are making on those we serve and on the Oklahoman economy has made a huge difference for our entire state. As we begin in 2019, we are looking forward to increasing our presence in Oklahoma and other states. We are now providing our services in Lawton, Oklahoma, one Friday each month. Please go to our website for location and scheduling information.
As we were closed on Tuesday Christmas Day, last Thursday many of our volunteers were not available and there were more veterans and spouses at our Norman location than we could serve. Although we accepted 125, a large group of folks were asked to return after the holidays. As many of you know, we are assisting veterans and spouses from 48 states and six countries. It seems to me that we need to help others to set up an evidenced-based claims system in some of the other states in this country. The state where we have a high number of veterans and surviving spouses needing our assistance in Texas. Most of them are coming from the Dallas and Fort Worth areas with another large group traveling from the San Antonio and Houston. As we offer free services delivered by trained, caring volunteers, I’m sure we will continue to be very busy in the coming years. We also offer free transportation to veterans’ medical appointments or to visit us. Last week our drivers spent 58 hours traveling 1117 miles to transport 17 veterans
As a VA Accredited Claims Agent, I receive a copy of the VA rating decisions on everyone I represent. This enables us to review each decision VA makes and to send a letter to veterans and surviving spouses suggesting what their next step should be. The biggest benefit of having the VA Accreditation is the ability to review all the veteran’s service records online. Last week when I was reviewing a rating decision for a veteran whose claim for a back injury was denied, I checked his service medical records in the VA computer where a Line of Duty classification was issued in 1975 for his back injury. Needless to say, we filed a CUE (clear and unmistakable era) on the denial of service-connection of his back injury. The VA does not have the personnel or time to review all the medical records and service records available to them. It’s up to the veteran to become proactive in their claims process. One of the things we encourage veterans and spouses to do is to request their service and medical records from St. Louis, MO using a Form 180. We also suggest veterans order their complete Claims File from VA which we routinely do by using a VA Form 21-4138.
Last week I received the following VA rating decisions. Twenty-one veterans received a 100% disability rating for their service-connected disabilities. They will receive a combined total annual amount of $836,010 per year. Twenty-eight veterans both male and female were awarded disability rating from 10% to 90% for their service-connected disabilities. These veterans will receive an annual combined amount of $494,081 per year. We send notification letters to each person in these groups explaining some of the other benefits for which they may be eligible and suggest they return for a follow-up visit.
If you would like to donate to Dale K. Graham Veterans Foundation, you can do so at dalekgrahamveteransfoundation.org or mail a check to Dale K. Graham Veterans Foundation at P.O. Box 592 Washington, Oklahoma 73093. As a 501-C-3 non-profit your gift may be tax deductible. We appreciate your support of our nation’s veterans and their families.
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.
Several organizations have services at our location each week. Legal Aid for veterans is available each Thursday morning. Counselors from the Vet Center will be available each Tuesday and Thursday morning to answer questions about their services.
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 at 8:00 a.m. and urge you to arrive as early as possible. Contact us with any questions by email at email@example.com. 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 dalekgrahamveteransfoundation.org. Semper Fi!
As always, I want to say Thank You to all veterans and their families for their service to this United States of America.
Dale K. Graham, USMC, VA Accredited Claims Agent
Dale K. Graham Veterans Foundation