Lora Malone, Executive Director
Dale K. Graham Veterans Foundation
As many of you know, we are a 501-C-3 non- profit corporation. Each month we spend approximately twenty-five thousand dollars in support of veterans and their families. We receive no State or Federal funds and exist on the money donated by you and the local grants we receive from organizations in our community. If you would like to be a supporter, please visit our web page for details or contact Lora at 405-550-8806. We support all veterans who have served in the U.S. military. Another way to help is by donating a car, truck, tractor, motorcycle or another item that can be given to veterans or sold to raise funds to support them. We also have food sacks available to those veterans and their families who need this service.
We would like to highlight our Executive Director, Lora Malone. Lora has served in this role since June of 2017. She is responsible for the overseeing the day-to-day operations of the foundation, she works with the volunteers and board of directors to accomplish the Foundation’s goals. She works to collaborate with others in the community to increase and maintain the foundation’s visibility. Before coming to Foundation, Lora served as the Vice President of the Oklahoma State University Alumni Association, President of the UT Arlington Alumni Association, and served Oklahoma City University as the Principal Gift Officer. Lora and her husband, Gallen, have one daughter, Reagan and currently reside in Edmond, Oklahoma. She currently serves as the Secretary for the Dale K. Graham Veterans Foundation Board of Directors. We are thankful to have her leadership. Thank you, Lora, for all you do to help us serve veterans and their families.
Did you know our drivers, Clayton and Louie are logging more than one thousand miles each week transporting veterans to their VA medical appointments? We have a handicapped accessible truck available to transport wheelchair-bound veterans. I would like to have a couple more volunteer drivers join our team. 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. If you would like to join our dedicated volunteers in this capacity or any other, applications are available on our website. Please contact us if you have any questions. We’d love to tell you about the rewarding work we do. Each of us is committed to making a difference and enjoy the comraderies shared by our fellow volunteers.
The first full week of 2019 started with a record number of veterans and surviving spouses. On Tuesday we helped 197, and on Thursday we helped 150. One of the veterans who traveled from the east coast said our organization was the best-kept secret in the United States. Both men and women are traveling from other states for our help with their VA claims and questions. We average 30-50 out-of-state veterans and surviving spouses each week. Yesterday I received my first call from a veteran who is living in Canada and planning a trip to see us. Many of those traveling to our state ask us why isn’t there is a place like ours in their state? I tell f them I wish there were other veteran’s advocates and service officers who would use our methods and the VA’s evidence-based claims process. For our methods to work for veterans and surviving spouses, it takes a group of knowledgeable and dedicated people who understand the VA claims process. We encourage all veterans to use the VA Disability Benefits Questionnaires the VA provides for evidence and diagnosis of a disability. These forms are filled out by a medical provider. In most instances, these forms need to be filled out by a non-VA provider as our VA does not have time to do them for veterans. I have not yet found a condition for which there is no DBQ.
I have been writing about what our volunteers do each week for veterans and their families. The results produced by our volunteers is remarkable. Most of those who visit us will find their lives change when they start receiving the benefits our volunteers have helped them to receive. There are thousands of folks who never thought they were eligible for anything from the VA until they visited with us. The most common disability we find is Hearing Loss and Tinnitus (ringing in ears). These conditions are presumptive to many military jobs due to the exposure to acoustic trauma. Tinnitus is rated at 10% with hearing loss ranging from 0% up to 100% depending on the severity. Many of us attempt to communicate with people who have hearing loss because of their occupation in the military. Some of the most common noise exposure jobs were artillery, infantry, flight line, working in ships’ engine rooms, mechanic, helicopter and aircraft flight crew members, construction workers, along with many other types of noise hazardous military jobs.
Many veterans hearing loss and tinnitus started in the military, yet they didn’t know until years later they might be eligible for VA compensation. I remember precisely when my hearing and tinnitus started. It was in Vietnam at a place called Artillery Hill. Later the name was changed to Camp JJ Carroll in honor of a Marine who died there. I was very close to a 175 Howitzer when a fire mission was called. Needless to say, I could not hear for more than a week and have continually suffered since then from both hearing loss and tinnitus. I’m sure many of you have the same type of history when it comes to hearing loss and tinnitus. If so, please stop by any Tuesday or Thursday morning for a visit with our volunteers.
Several organizations have services at our location each week. Legal Aid for veterans is available each Thursday morning. We also have Counselors from the Vet Center here to help you each Tuesday and Thursday morning and answer questions about their services.
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.
Visit our website at dalekgrahamveteransfoundation.org for more information. 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, VA Accredited Claims Agent
Dale K. Graham Veterans Foundation