Dale K. Graham Veterans Foundation
We would like to introduce you to Board Member, Stanley L. Evans. Mr. Evans assumed the position of Assistant Dean for Students at the University of Oklahoma College of Law in August 2003, immediately after his law school graduation. His selection for this position was unprecedented in two ways. It is almost unheard of for a person to be a student one year and be the Assistant Dean responsible for all student-related actions and activities the following year. Second, Dean Evans is the first African American to be appointed to a Dean position at any law school in the state of Oklahoma. As Assistant Dean for Students, he had responsibilities encompassing the entire range of law student activities and services. Although he retired from OU Law in 2012, he has continued to help students and the College as a counselor, advisor, and recruiter. Stanley L. Evans retired from the United States Army in March 2000, with almost 32 years of military service, and started law school at the age of 54. Colonel Evans’ final military assignment was as a Dean of the Army’s Command and General Staff College, at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. There, he was responsible for the daily operations and management of the Army’s premier academic institution that had a yearly student body of over 5700 officers. He led the Fort’s initiative to provide over 700 computers to Kansas public schools. He was honored as the Alpha Phi Alpha’s “Leavenworth Man of the Year” in 1998 and again in 1999. In the years, 1997-1999, he was instrumental in helping prepare and present the Congressional Proposal that led to the new $130M Lewis and Clark Military College Facility. We are honored to have him as a member of our board.
We are doing the best we can to assist veterans and their families in many ways. One of the most important that has not been affected by the virus pandemic is the claims for veterans and surviving spouses who are currently in the appeal process. We have two types of hearings that we work on. The DRO (decision review officer) reviews are done by telephone where we can discuss what types of evidence the veteran has that supports their claim for service of a disability or for an increased rating based on the severity of the condition. We encourage all veterans to obtain medical evidence and statements from people who knew about the injury or illness when it occurred. Most of the DRO officers we have worked with have been very fair to the veterans. The other type of hearings we have quite frequently are the BVA (board of veterans appeals) hearings. These are the claims the VA has had the backlog on for many years. Until just a year or so ago, there were hundreds of thousands of cases that were waiting to be heard by the judges at BVA. We are extremely fortunate to have been approved to hold these video hearings in our building before judges who are in Washington DC. Not long ago we would be required to commute to Muskogee, Oklahoma to meet with judges or DRO personnel there. As most of you know, it is a three hour drive each way for us and the veterans to travel there for hearings. The Department of Veterans Affairs has come a long way in just a few short years to improve the way they operate. Of course, with this virus going around it is keeping a lot of people home which is going to affect their productivity.
As some of you know when people give us handicapped items such as wheelchairs, canes, walkers, hospital beds or other medical type items we recycle them to another veteran or their family to use. Currently, we have two electric hospital beds, one twin adjustable bed and one queen size adjustable bed with mattresses that are available at no charge. We also have several fireproof file cabinets that are looking for a new home. These cabinets are the property of our foundation and are for sale. If you or someone you know needs any of the items listed above, please contact us at 405-550-8806.
Last week one of the veterans we assisted, donated his used car to us after he purchased a new one. He told me that he would receive more out of it as tax donation than what it would go for as a trade-in. We usually sell these types of donations then use the monies to fund veteran needs.
We are still receiving about the same amount of rating decisions each week as we did before everything slowed down. Last year we said that we would be trying to set another record on the number of veterans who were going to receive a one hundred percent rating in 2020. I am here to tell you today that these two months of not working veterans’ claims is certainly going to affect the overall number of veterans who receive a VA rating for their disabilities.
Last week 19 veterans received a disability rating of 100% for their service-connected disabilities. This group will receive a combined annual $712,028. They will also be eligible for the state benefits of sales tax exemptions, property tax exemptions, and other benefits that our state provides for disabled veterans. Thirty-five veterans were awarded disability ratings from 10% to 90% and will receive a combined annual $439,344. This group of men and women will be eligible for VA Health Care, and some of them may also be eligible for other state benefits. One was awarded a pension for a total of $2,772 annually.
If you would like to help us make a difference, we welcome your support. We spend over $30,000 each month in direct support of the veterans and family members we serve. We transport many homeless veterans to our Norman location each week to help make a difference in the lives of the men and women who have served in the military. As you know, we are a 501 (c) 3 non-profit and are wholly dependent on donations from the people we serve and local grants. We are not funded by a government entity, all the funds it takes to operate our facility and to assist veterans with medical testing, and other expenses come in the form of grants from local companies or other veterans. For those of you who would like to support the program, your gifts are always appreciated and may be tax-exempt. You can shop items from our Amazon charity list to stock our food pantry and shop AmazonSmile with us as the charity – we will receive .5% of your eligible purchases. If you are interested in including us in a gift, please contact Lora at 405-550-8806, ext. 101. Monetary donations can be made online or mailed to PO Box 592, Washington, OK, 73093.
For the latest updates about our reopening, please visit our Facebook page and website dalekgrahamveteransfoundation.org
We will post the re-opening date as soon as we are able to determine one.
Stay healthy! Our prayers are with all of you and your families during this time of trial in our country.
Dale K. Graham, VA Accredited Claims Agent
Dale K. Graham Veterans Foundation