Our offices will be closed on Monday, November 12, 2018, in observance of Veterans Day.  We will also be closed Thanksgiving Day, so our volunteers can spend this holiday with their families.  We know there will be many veterans and their families who are going to be hungry and alone during this holiday season.  I would hope that a prayer is said for those who are less fortunate.  Please remember we are a 501-C-3 whose only mission is to improve the lives of all veterans and their families while we work each day to change the lives for the better for all who wore the uniform for the United States Military.  We also encourage those of you who can afford to help us financially to sign up for an automatic monthly donation from your bank or credit card.  Thank You to those who help us to make a difference in veterans and their families!

Our automobile donation program has provided us with the funds needed to assist the thousands of veterans who are in need.  The cars, trucks, motorcycles, tractors and other items donated may also help you in the way of a tax deduction.  Each month our organization spends from twenty-five to thirty thousand dollars to provide services to veterans and their families.  For those of you who would like to join us as volunteer applications are available each Tuesday and Thursday morning.  The application form is also available on our website.

Each week one of our toughest jobs is deciding which veteran we are going to recognize for their service in WW II or the Korean War as our veteran of the week.  After considerable deliberation, Mr. Merlin Vincent who served during the Korean War is our veteran of the week.  He was presented a military cap representing his wartime service as we introduced him to the hundreds of veterans who were at our Foundation for assistance with their VA claims and questions.  Mr. Vincent served in the United States Army and makes his home in Norman.  Thank you for serving in the United States Military.

Last Tuesday and Thursday morning there were more than 300 veterans and surviving spouses assisted by our volunteers.  While visiting with the first veteran that I helped Tuesday morning I asked him where he was from.  To my surprise, he said New York City.  When I inquired why he had traveled that far for VA claims assistance he said that one of the men he served with in the Army was from Desoto, Texas.  That friend had visited us and encouraged him to do the same.  After reviewing his military records, I’m sure that he made the right choice to visit us for assistance.  The main difference in the way we help veterans to file for VA benefits is we use the VA Disability Benefits Questionnaires as evidence in support of a veteran’s claim for service connection of a disability or to ask for a re-evaluation of a current service-connected disability.   One thing that concerns me is that some organizations will assist veterans to file for an increased rating on a condition that is already rated at the maximum percentage possible.  Recently an Army veteran came to see us because his service-connected feet, which had been rated at 50%, were being reduced to 0% after the folks claiming to help him asked the VA to re-evaluate that condition.  It is my opinion if a veteran is service-connected for a disability the folks who claim they are helping should know what the CFR 38 parts 0 thru 17 rating schedules list as the criteria that must be met for an increase.  Each disability has a code number that can be researched in the CFR, so you will know if the veteran’s condition has improved or meets the schedule for an increased rating.  In my opinion, every veteran should understand why they received an increased or decreased rating on their disabilities.  One of the reasons we are successful is that most of our volunteers are veterans that have been in the shoes of those that we serve.

Saturday evening several of us from our organization along with Gene Anoatubby and his wife Phyllis were present at the Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame for the 19th Annual Banquet & Induction Ceremony.  The program was held at the Embassy Suites in Norman, Oklahoma.  There are many men and women from our state who have served in our Nation’s Military that are real American Heroes.  Each year ten veterans are enshrined into the Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame after a rigorous review of their military service.

As many of you know, I’m a VA Accredited Claims Agent, and I receive a copy of everything the veteran or surviving spouse receives.  This allows us to review all the decisions that VA has made on claims and know what the VA is proposing to do.  Another positive that comes out of being accredited is that I’m able to review the VA claims folder electronically.  Twenty-seven veterans received a one hundred percent disability rating of their service-connected conditions.  These men and women will receive an annual combined amount of $1,032,945 per year.  They will also be eligible for certain Oklahoma State Benefits and Federal Benefits.

Fifty-four veterans both male and female were awarded VA disability ratings from 10 to 90% for their service-connected disabilities.  They will receive a combined annual payment of $847,292 per year.

We were also able to assist a veteran in applying for a Pension he will  receive $4848 per year.

If you would like to donate to Dale K. Graham Veterans Foundation, you can do so at dalekgrahamveteransfoundation.org or mail a check to Dale K. Graham Veterans Foundation at P.O. Box 592 Washington, Oklahoma 73093. As a 501-C-3 non-profit your gift may be tax deductible.  We appreciate your support of our nation’s veterans and their families.

Dale K. Graham Veterans Foundation has food sacks 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 405-550-8806 Extension 103 to request a food sack.

Several organizations have services at our location each week. Legal Aid for veterans is available each Thursday morning.  Counselors from the Vet Center will be available each Tuesday and Thursday morning to answer questions about their services.

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 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. Contact us with any questions by email at dale@dalekgrahamveteransfoundation.org.  For telephone assistance, please call 405-550-8806 to listen to our options. For general information dial extension 101, to schedule transportation dial extension 105 or 106.

For help with Surviving Spouse Benefits, dial extension 104, or stop by any Tuesday or Thursday morning. Visit our website at dalekgrahamveteransfoundation.org. 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, USMC, VA Accredited Claims Agent

Dale K. Graham Veterans Foundation