Last Friday night Washington High School hosted Warriors for Freedom Night at their high school football game.  Active duty military and veterans were honored before the game and during half-time.  Dale K. Graham was surprised with an award for the service he and the foundation have given to veterans and their families.  The plaque reads “Our Country and community are proud of you!  It is with sincere gratitude and appreciation that with our flag waving, we proudly stand and honor you. “Dale would like to sincerely thank Washington Schools and the community for the award and for supporting our nation’s military members and veterans.

We have power wheelchairs and ramps available for veterans and their families.  If you know someone who needs one, please contact us.

We received a check from Rosenfelt Auctions last week. A veteran in the Purcell area consigned his Ferguson Tractor to them with the sale proceeds being donated to our Veterans Foundation.  We appreciate this veteran for helping us to help other veterans.  Looks like he paid it forward, Thank You, kind sir!

As we have moved into the fall of 2018, many of us will be thinking about the plight of homeless veterans and their families who will be feeling the colder weather with no place to call home.  Our staff of volunteers will be working overtime to do everything we can to help them to receive the VA benefits for which they are eligible.  Many times, we can help them receive a disability rating for injuries that occurred to them in the military.  One of the most common for homeless veterans is going to be PTSD or another type of mental health issue such as depression.  We have found that some veterans who were injured in the military either directly or who have a disability that is presumptive to their service will suffer from depression or other types of mental conditions.  We believe that any type of mental condition can lead to a veteran becoming addicted to alcohol or drugs which may lead to being homeless or suicidal.  To my way of thinking if a veteran receives VA compensation for a disability that is service connected they are less likely to become homeless which may help them to not spiral downward out of control.  We encourage families of veterans who are at risk to ask their veteran to visit us any Tuesday or Thursday morning at 1268 North Interstate Drive in Norman, Oklahoma for assistance with their application for benefits.

We believe that every veteran who served in the military may be eligible for VA benefits.  The most common disability that we have helped veterans to receive service connection for is Hearing loss and Tinnitus (ringing in ears).  Those conditions might be presumptive to a veteran’s military service if they worked in a hazardous noise job such as aircraft mechanic, Infantry, artillery, flight line or engine room.  If tinnitus is approved for service-connection, it is always rated at ten percent. Hearing loss can be rated from zero percent up to one hundred percent depending on the severity of their hearing loss.  A secondary condition that may be linked to the veterans hearing loss and tinnitus is a depressive disorder.  Many of the veterans that I meet suffer from depression that is caused by their inability to hold a conversation with most of the women and children in their lives.  I can certainly relate to that statement as I have a tough time communicating with anyone who talks in a higher pitch tone.

Did you know that veterans who served in the Reserves or National Guard are eligible for VA benefits?  Most of those who served in either are not aware they are eligible for benefits. After we help them to become service-connected for a disability they are also eligible for VA Health Care.  For many veterans who only have Medicare the VA medical benefits will be significant. The veteran only needs to be rated at 0 percent for any service-connected disability to be eligible for VA Healthcare.  I have met many men and women who served in either the National Guard or Reserves who do not have access to any medical care.  When we help them become eligible for VA benefits the door to the VA Health Care is open for them.

Each week we are averaging 300 or more veterans and surviving spouses who are making their way to our location in Norman. People tell us we are changing their lives when they receive their VA benefits.  We are successful at what we do because of our volunteers and the VA Disability benefit Questionnaires used as evidence to support veteran’s claims.  All our volunteers have, but one goal and that is to help each veteran or surviving spouse receive all of the VA benefits for which they are entitled.  During the years we have been helping veterans, the volunteers we have today are probably the most knowledgeable that we have had in the last fifteen years.

Each week I receive hundreds of letters from the Department of Veterans Affairs for the veterans and surviving spouses who are represented by our organization.  In them will be rating decisions and other types of correspondence related to veterans’ applications for benefits.  That is where we sort out the rating decisions for veterans awarded a 100% rating for their service-connected disabilities.  Last week there were 29 of them who awarded a 100% rating.  These veterans both men and women will receive a combined annual amount of $1,090,856 per year.  Thirty-six veterans received ratings ranging from 10% to 90% for their service-connected disabilities.  These men and women will receive a combined annual amount of $576,194 per year.

We have been able to help several male surviving spouses who were married to women who served in the military.  If it were not for the DIC and VA Pension benefits, there would be a lot more surviving spouses who would not have enough money to have a place to live.  To my way of thinking more should be done for the surviving spouses of veterans.  One of the problems I have seen over the years is when a surviving spouse of a veteran is receiving VA Pension benefits and decide to remarry veteran who is also receiving VA pension benefits one or both of them will lose a part of their VA benefits.  Maybe the VA will address some of the rules that force veterans or surviving spouses who are receiving Pension benefits to give up all or some of these benefits when they marry.  Several years ago I had a senior man and a surviving spouse of a veteran both drawing VA Pension benefits and wanted to get married.  After they discovered how much income they would lose, they could not afford to tie the knot.

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 soon 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