Dale K. Graham Veterans Foundation
On this Memorial Day, let us remember in the words of Sgt. Major Bill Paxton,
“May we never forget our fallen comrades. Freedom isn’t free.”
It seems like an eternity since we were at our Veterans Foundation listening to the stories that veterans and surviving spouses shared with us as we helped them with their claims for VA benefits. Hopefully, we will be able to return to our mission of making a difference in the lives of the men and women who served in the military of the United States of America. From the number of calls and e-mails we receive on a daily basis, I know that there are many people who are facing a financial disaster that this so-called pandemic continues to cause, Many of them I talk to have been let go from the jobs they have had for many years. Hopefully, as we can open our doors again, our volunteers will be able to assist some of them to receive VA benefits. Several of those that have called after they were laid off told me the only income they had was their VA benefit check and without that they would be homeless. It seems like most have been unable to put enough money aside for emergencies like we are seeing today.
We would like to introduce you to Board Member, Justin Covey. Justin serves as a Financial Advisor at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management. He focuses on equipping clients with the knowledge and confidence necessary to make wise decisions for their families. He has served at Merrill Lynch since 2010 and been in the industry since 2007. He is a former Army UH-60 Blackhawk Pilot and Commissioned Officer. While on active duty he was deployed for combat operations in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Justin is honored to have recently been named to the Forbes “Best-in-State Wealth Advisors” list in February of 2019. He graduated from Oklahoma State University and earned his commission as a Second Lieutenant from the Oklahoma State University Army ROTC Program. He lives in Norman, OK. He and his wife Tennille have been married since 2002 and have two beautiful daughters. Thank you, Justin for serving on our board. We appreciate you.
Our Board of Directors are meeting this week and will decide when we will re-open our facility in Norman at 1268 North Interstate Drive. They will also make decisions on the types of protective equipment we will be required to use until the end of this pandemic, and we can return to normal. As we assist veterans from many states, we are going to do whatever it takes to keep both our volunteers and our visitors safe. Just between us, I have not heard of anyone I know who has been diagnosed with that virus. Of course, we all know that it just takes one person to spread that illness to many others. When I start back to work, I will be wearing a mask and the person I am helping will be wearing one also.
Several of us have continued to work veterans’ claims using the US Postal Service to file veterans claims for some veterans and surviving spouses with their applications for VA benefits.
We still have several hospital beds that were donated to us to be recycled to other veterans. For those of you who could use one of those or other types of handicapped equipment please let us know by calling 405-550-8806 or through our website or Facebook.
For those of you who may need food items or other types of assistance during these times please call us at 405-550-8806 with your questions. We have a couple of hospital beds and other types of handicap items that are available to any veteran or their family that needs them.
Last week five veterans received a disability rating of 100% for their service-connected disabilities. This group will receive a combined annual $202,370. 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. Nine veterans were awarded disability ratings from 10% to 90% and will receive a combined annual $168,978. 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 surviving spouse was awarded benefits and will receive $16,082 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