We will be closed on Thursday, November 22, 2018, for Thanksgiving.
The Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame 19th Annual Banquet & Induction Ceremony will be held on the evening of November 3, 2018, at the Embassy Suites in Norman, Oklahoma. Several from our Foundation plan to attend this wonderful event. I am honored to be able to spend an evening honoring some of our Nation’s heroes.
Congratulations to our Veteran of the Week, Mr. Roland Means. Mr. Means served in the United States Army during the 1950’s in the Korean War. He makes his home in Enid, Oklahoma. Thank you, Mr. Means, for your service. One of the most enjoyable duties I have each Tuesday and Thursday morning is presenting a Military cap to the veterans who served in WW II and the Korean War. When they visit us for the first time, we stand them up in front of 150 of their fellow veterans to be recognized. I am sure you can tell that I enjoy meeting the Heroes from those Wars. Many of them have said to me that no one has ever recognized them for their military service. Being able to say Thank You to these Veterans is very rewarding to our volunteers.
Just like many of you, we set a few goals at the beginning of each year. One of our goals for 2018 was to assist one thousand veterans in receiving a 100% disability rating. As we draw closer to the end of this year, our goal is within sight with less than 200 to go. Many of the veterans and surviving spouse we assist each week tell us they have never been to an organization like ours. Every day veterans tell us for many years they have been trying to obtain VA benefits, and with our help, it was accomplished in only a few months. My response to them is always the same; it is our volunteers that make the difference. Our people have walked in their shoes and understand the frustration many of them have after being denied time and time again when they applied for VA benefits somewhere else. We believe veterans deserve the best help that they can find to assist them with their VA claims and questions. For those of you who have received a denial for VA benefits, please consider visiting us any Tuesday or Thursday morning at 1268 North Interstate Drive in Norman, Oklahoma.
When I arrive on site at 4:30 AM there will be over 100 people lined up waiting for the doors to open. We will accept the first 150 veterans and surviving spouses who arrive before 7 AM. Please remember we are a free service to all veterans. We are a 501 (c) (3) NON-PROFIT and operate on the donations we receive. Our current budget is $25,000 a month with most of that going to veteran’s services such as medical testing, food sacks, rents, utility payments, transportation costs, along with a host of other items. I would like to see our donor base increase to the point where we could do more for veterans and their families. Currently, only ten to twelve percent of the veterans we help will pay it forward to the next group of veterans and their families. For those of you who would like to be one of our donors, we have applications for direct deposit from your financial institution to ours. For more information about donations, please call our main line 405.550.8806, extension 103 or contact our Executive Director Lora Malone at 405-550-8806 Ext. 101. You can also stop by on any Tuesday or Thursday morning at our Norman location.
As we continue to grow, there will be a need for satellite locations in our state and others. For those of you who are interested in helping other veterans and their families, please stop by for a visit with our Executive Director. Over the past twenty plus years that we have been contributing to improve the lives of veterans, there have been many volunteers who have joined our team and then moved on for one reason or another. Some of them moved on because of family or health issues. The men and women who are now with us now have proven they are only here to change the lives of veterans. I want to say Thank You to each our Volunteers for being an essential part of what we do each week. Our only goal is to improve the lives of veterans and their families. Many people talk about what they can do while we make it happen! For information in becoming a volunteer, please stop in any Tuesday or Thursday morning for more information and an application.
Last week we were very busy assisting more than 300 veterans and surviving spouses. Our drivers logged more than 1,200 miles this week. Remember if you need a ride to visit us, please call them at 405.550.8806 extension 105 and 106.
Several of us also made the trip to the Muskogee VA Regional Office to represent three veterans via a Video hearing before a VA Administrative Law Judge in Washington DC. As a VA Accredited Claims Agent. I receive a copy of all the correspondence the VA sends to the veterans and spouses represented. It amounts to at least 500 individual pieces of mail each week. I review each of those to determine if a letter needs to be sent to the veteran or spouse. In the mail bag this week, 33 veterans received a disability rating of 100%. These men and women will receive a combined annual compensation of $1,263,995 per year. Fifty veterans received disability ratings from 10% to 90%, and these veterans will receive an annual combined amount of $875,178 per year. We suggest all veterans and surviving spouses return for a follow-up visit no matter what VA decision was made on their application for benefits. There could be other benefits for which the veteran or surviving spouse could be eligible. The veterans who are in receipt of a 100% permanent VA disability may be eligible for property tax exemption, sales tax exemption and CHAMP –VA medical insurance for their spouse and dependents.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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