Each week we recognize veterans who served in either World War II or the Korean War with a cap representing their military service.  Our veteran of the week is Mr. Arlis Sudbury of Wynnewood, Oklahoma.  He is a World War II veteran who served our country honorably during that war.  We also introduced him to our visitors as we presented his cap.  Thank you, Mr. Sudbury, for your service to our country.

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For our organization to continue to make a difference in the lives of veterans and the surviving spouses of veterans who served we need your help.  As a 501-C-3 Non-Profit we are dependent you and the donations from the men and women we have served to help the next veteran who comes through our doors.  As it seems we are not going to run out of veterans and their families who need assistance. Please consider signing up for a small monthly donation to help the next veteran.  There are a lot of Homeless Veterans who have been finding their way to our location who and are in very bad shape emotionally and financially.  We are doing everything possible to improve their lives with food sacks, transportation and helping them with the cost of medical evaluations that may help them receive VA benefits.  On an average month, we are spending $25,000 to provide our services to veterans and their families.  Another way we raise money to help others is through our automobile program where we accept the donations of cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats or other things that can be given to veterans or sold to provide funds to support veterans.

We want to be able to assist veterans to meet their needs in other areas. We will host a Veterans Services Forum twice each month.  Organizations will be onsite two Mondays a month between 9:00 and 11:00 A.M.  Some of the groups that have been invited are those that provide services for veterans such as education benefits, job training, business development, as well as other benefits.  If you have a veteran’s service to offer, or if you want more information, please contact Lora Malone, our Executive Director.  She can be reached at 405-550-8806, extension 101.

I want to say Thank You to the men and women who have served and those who continue serving in the military.  Without your dedication to this United States, we would have lost our freedom many years ago.  In today’s world, less than two percent of our population will ever step forward to join the military.  Those who are serving today are carrying a very heavy load with multiple deployments in many faraway lands where death or injury could happen at any moment.  Personally, I believe our county would be much better off if everyone was required to do some sort of federal service in the military or some type of community or national programs.  We might be better off if we followed President Kennedy’s words when he told us to ask not what our country can do for us, but what can we do for our country.  In these times of many ways of thinking what is right and what is not we need to be united in the middle.

Last Tuesday and Thursday morning there were 265 veterans and surviving spouses our volunteers assisted with their VA claims and questions.  We ask for your help by arriving early so that we can take care of you before we are at our maximum for the day.  I wish that we were able to help everyone no matter when they got there.  As all of us are volunteers and we have other responsibilities that must be taken care of each day.  On Tuesday and Thursday, many of us arrive at our building before five each morning which makes for a very long day.  Maybe you could join us as a volunteer so that we could help more veterans and surviving spouses.  This organization continues to reach veterans from every county in our state and many states from the East Coast to the West Coast. Currently, we represent more than eighteen thousand veterans and surviving spouses with their VA claims.  Remember if you need transportation to visit us, please contact our drivers Clayton and Louie.  Last week they logged 63 ½ hours transporting 21 folks 1127 miles.

As a VA Accredited Claims Agent, I receive all the VA rating decisions and other correspondence on every veteran and surviving spouse represented.  Having that information, plus being able to review their claims in the VA computer system, makes it much easier to know what the next step should be to help a veteran receive all the benefits for which they are eligible. When logged into the VA computer system I can review the medical evaluations the VA medical evaluators and the VA contractors such as QTC or LHI. This is probably one of the most important tools we have available when assisting veterans with their claims for service-connection of a disability.  Most of the people who are trying to help veterans with their claims do not have that access.  By not having access to this powerful information might be why so many veterans have been denied benefits over the years.

We received a decision on a surviving spouse who we represent that was awarded DIC benefits back to 2014 last week.  Being able to help veterans and surviving spouses receive their VA benefits is the most rewarding thing I have ever done.  There were nine veterans awarded a 100% rating for their service-connected disabilities.  These men and women will receive an annual combined disability income of $342,899 per year.  Twenty veterans received disability ratings from 10% to 90% for their service-connected disabilities. These men and women will receive a combined annual amount of $229,229,316 per year.   We received three decisions on surviving spouses for DIC, and one for Aid and Attendance benefits and they will receive an annual combined amount of $60,382 per year.

Dale K. Graham Veterans Foundation has food boxes 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 Rhonda 405-550-8806 Extension 103 to request a food box.

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 at 1268 North Interstate Drive in Norman, Exit 110 off I-35 each Tuesday and Thursday morning at 5:30 am. Please arrive by 8 am.  We accept the first 130 veterans and spouses. The only reason we are here is to help all veterans and their families receive the VA benefits for which they are eligible. Contact us with any questions at 405-550-8806 Extension 101 or dale@dalekgrahamveteransfoundation.org or Shirley Clark-Cowdin for spouse benefits at Extension 104.  Visit our website at dalekgrahamveteransfoundation.org. Semper Fi!