We will be closed on Thursday, November 22, 2018, for Thanksgiving.

Dine and Donate at Saltgrass Steak House in Norman on October 25 from 11 am to 9:30 pm.  Dine- In or Take out will donate 10% of your bill to Dale K. Graham Veterans Foundation when your present a flyer to your server.  Stop by the Foundation any Tuesday or Thursday to pick up a flyer.

This week we recognize Mr. Dwain McCraw as our veteran and volunteer of the week.  Dwain is celebrating his eightieth Birthday Monday 10/22/2018.  He has been helping us for several years at the front desk where he always shares his quick wit and a smile for everyone who comes through our doors.  Please join us in wishing Dwain a Happy Birthday and telling him how much we appreciate his military service along with everything he does to help veterans and their families.

As most of you know, each month we provide more than $25,000 in services to the men and women and their families who have served the United States Military.  Some of those services are transportation to the VA Hospital for medical appointments, medical testing, food items, rents, utility payments along with a host of unexpected expenses that we all will have.  As a 501(c)(3) non-profit we are dependent on the people we help to help the next veteran who needs assistance.  The monthly donations you make to this organization are helping to make a difference in the lives of thousands of veterans and their families each year.  Your contributions are tax deductible.  Currently, only 10% to 12% of the people we help will pay it forward to the next veteran or their family.   Another way you can help us fund our services is to donate a vehicle to our Veterans.  We give those donated vehicles to a needy veteran, or they are sold to raise funds to support our mission.

In preparation for the upcoming winter months, we have made a few changes to help keep the hundreds of folks waiting to see us from spending as much time lined up outside waiting.   We now bring the first ninety veterans and surviving spouses in when we open the doors.  Those remaining are given a number and asked to wait in their cars until more seating is available. By using our new system, we were able to assist more than 175 people last Tuesday and 159 on Thursday. We also now use assigned seating.  For the increased number of veterans and surviving spouses, we will look at ways to shorten their wait time for our services.   Currently, we are looking at setting up satellite offices in other parts of Oklahoma along with adding other states where we have volunteers.  We have several veterans in eastern Oklahoma who are planning to join our team along with veterans in Florida, North Dakota and a couple of other states.  As always, our services are free to all veterans and surviving spouses.

Many of the veterans both men and women were making their first visit to our Veterans Foundation last week.  Some of them traveled hundreds of miles from their homes to receive help from our volunteers.  When I asked some of them why they traveled so far for help with their VA claims, they answered that their friends or family recommended us to them.  Many of the men and women we help to receive VA benefits say that they have tried for years but got denied before coming to us for help.  Some of them told me they only wanted the VA Health Care but had been told they did not qualify because they made too much money.  That is the standard answer the VA gives to many veterans who do not have a service-connected disability.  What they are not informed about is that if they have a service-connected disability the door opens for VA health care.  Most veterans could be service-connected for Tinnitus and Hearing Loss if their military job exposed them to loud noises such as gunfire, artillery, jet engines or other types of acoustic trauma.  We encourage all veterans to stop by to fill out an application for benefits.  One of the things that are very important to a veteran’s spouse or dependents is DIC benefits.  A surviving spouse may be eligible if the veteran dies from a condition that is presumptive to their military service or one that is service-connected and listed as a contributing factor on the veteran’s death certificate.  I do not believe it makes any difference what service-connected disability is named as long as the disability is listed as a contributing factor on their Death Certificate.  While we are talking about benefits for surviving spouses, 15 spouses were at our location Tuesday and 12 on Thursday.    We find it much easier to help the surviving spouses of veterans who were receiving benefits from the VA.  Many veterans could probably receive VA benefits for a disease that was presumptive to their service if they would have only applied before it was too late.

As a VA Accredited Claims Agent, I receive a copy of all the decisions the VA makes on the claims of all the veterans and surviving spouses represented at our Foundation.  Of the rating decisions received this week, 17 veterans received disability ratings of 100% for their service-connected disabilities.  These men and women will receive an annual combined amount of $667,973 per year.  They will also be eligible for other Oklahoma State tax benefits and other VA benefits.   Twenty-nine veterans received disability ratings from 10% to 90% these men and women will receive an annual combined amount of $498,049 per year.  Some of these veterans will be eligible for the reduced auto tags and hunting and fishing license.  Three surviving spouses received approval for DIC, Pension or Aid and Attendance benefits from VA.

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