Lee Sullivan, United States Navy Veteran
Dale K. Graham Veterans Foundation
Last Week our volunteers and their spouses were treated to our Annual Appreciation breakfast at Legends Restaurant in Norman. Each volunteer received a framed certificate and a small gift for everything they do for the thousands of veterans and surviving spouses who are assisted each year at our Foundation. Many people wonder if they are really making a difference in the lives of others, our volunteers know that what they do is changing countless lives for the better. I just want to say Thank You to each volunteer and their families for letting us borrow them each Tuesday and Thursday morning.
Congratulations to our Veteran of the Week, Mr. Lee Sullivan. Mr. Sullivan served our country as a member of the United States Navy. He makes his home in Choctaw, Oklahoma. Thank you for your service, Mr. Sullivan! We appreciate you.
We are continuing to increase the number of volunteers who are available to assist the veterans and surviving spouses who visit us for assistance. We have also started recruiting some of them to start working at 10 AM so that those who started at 4 AM can shorten their days. We have signed the lease on the building next door, which will allow us to add more workstations. Hopefully, by the first of January, we will be able to increase the number of veterans we can accommodate each day. Currently, we stop accepting them each Tuesday and Thursday morning when we reach 150. We appreciate each one of you for your patience and understanding as we work to accommodate all of the veterans who need our assistance.
Last week 37 veterans were awarded 100% ratings for their service-connected disabilities. This group of veterans will receive a combined annual $1,525,358. Sixty-seven veterans received disability ratings between 10-90% and will receive a yearly combined $1,054,094. One surviving spouse was awarded benefits totaling $16,082 a year.
For those of you who are not aware, we can hold the Board of Veterans Appeals video hearings at our Foundation. Through video conferencing, we can meet with their Judges in Washington DC, while the veterans we represent are here along with us at our Foundation. This has been a game-changer for our veterans and us. Last Wednesday, we represented eight veterans using our new video hearing capability at our foundation.
In January of last year, we set a goal to assist twelve hundred veterans in receiving a 100% rating for their service-connected disabilities. I’m proud to say that because of volunteers, we are going to reach that goal. As of today, 1170 have received that rating. I don’t think any small local group of people has ever done so much for so many any place else in this United States. The men and women who are volunteering at our foundation are the ones who are changing lives. We appreciate each one of you for your time and efforts.
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 need copy paper if you would like to donate some. You can drop it by the Foundation any Tuesday or Thursday or have mailed to the address above.
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