Albert Gallaher, World War II Veteran
Dale K. Graham Veterans Foundation
I hope that all of you enjoyed the recent Memorial Day with family and friends. As we get older, most of us will be thinking more about the people who shaped our lives who are no longer with us. As veterans, some of us remember the men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice so that others could live. Our prayers are with the families of those men and women who have gone before us.
Each week we recognize the veterans who served in either World War II or the Korean War. We introduce them to our volunteers and the hundreds of veterans who visit us each Tuesday and Thursday morning. We would like to honor World War II veteran, Mr. Albert Gallaher, as our veteran of the week. Mr. Gallaher served honorably as a member of the United States Army. He makes his home in Blanchard, Oklahoma. We appreciate the sacrifices that he made during his military service. A military cap signifying his military service in World War II was presented to him.
Last week the rainy weather did not prevent over 290 veterans and surviving spouses from visiting our Veterans foundation for assistance with their VA claims and questions. For many years we thought that at some point in time we would see a decrease in the number of veterans who visited us each week. As many of you know, just the opposite has happened as we continue to see an increased number of veterans each year. When we first started helping other veterans, most of us did not understand what was required by the VA for their claim to be approved. Today the first thing we do is file an (Intent to File) VA Form 21-0966. This establishes a start date for either a new claim or for a re-evaluation of an existing service-connected disability. We then ask the veteran to request that their medical provider fill out a VA (DBQ) Disability Benefits Questionnaire. These completed forms are then used as evidence to support the veteran’s application for benefits Form 21-526 EZ. When a veteran claim for increase or service-connection of a new disability is filed using DBQ evidence, their chance or an increased rating or approval of a new disability will be improved significantly over those that file without evidence. Maybe one of the reasons we are so successful helping veterans to receive VA benefits is our system of filing evidence-based claims using the VA DBQ Forms. Since the VA uses similar forms to evaluate the veteran’s disabilities, we should do the same.
Last week our volunteers assisted 140 veterans and surviving spouses on Tuesday and 150 on Thursday. Needless to say, by the time we finished, most of us were exhausted. Some of us arrive at four AM to start preparing everything that is required to serve the men and women who served in the military. We stay until the last person has been assisted, which means our days are from eleven to twelve hours each Tuesday and Thursday. For those of you who would like to help us to make a difference in the lives of veterans and their families, volunteer applications are available. If you would like to be a donor to our organization, please contact Lora Malone, our Executive Director at our location or by calling 405-550-8806. There are always veterans and their families who will need a hand up at some point in their lives. We are a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit, and your donations will make a difference in the lives of those who have served in the United States Military.
As a VA Accredited Claims Agent, I receive a copy of all of the VA correspondence that those who we represent. On a weekly average, this is over seven hundred separate pieces of mail received, each of which we review and send letters to those who need to return for a follow-up visit. Twenty-five veterans were approved at 100% and will receive a combined annual $1,016,368.68. Sixty-one veterans were approved for service-connected benefits rated 10% to 90% and will receive a combined annual amount of $1,078,456.44.
Our organization is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that relies on donations to be able to provide services to the thousands of veterans and their families who need assistance. We accept the donation of cars, trucks, motorcycles, or other types of items that can be given to veterans or sold to raise funds to provide for veteran’s needs. Please remember that your donations should be tax deductible on your income taxes. Thank You for supporting our Foundation. You can also donate anytime online at dalekgrahamveteransfoundation.org or by mail at PO Box 592 Washington, OK 73093.
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