Even though we received a lot of rain around Norman last week, it did not keep more than 300 veterans and surviving spouses from visiting us at 1268 North Interstate Drive. Since we continue to see veterans and surviving spouses from more than forty-five other states, we are looking at ways to set up satellite locations to serve them closer to their homes.  Although, I’m sure our local hotels and eating establishments would like to keep them coming to Norman.  We have many people ask us why we can help them receive VA benefits even though they were denied before coming to us.  The answer to that question is easy. We encourage veterans and surviving spouses to send the VA evidence that supports their request for service-connection of a disability.  One of the best ways to get approved is by using the VA Disability Benefits Questionnaires that are available on the VA website under forms.  Another way to obtain these forms is to use Google or other search engines.  Just type in VA disability benefits questionnaire for the disability or disease you need.  One, for example, is to search for a DBQ for Diabetes.  Form Number 21-0960 E-1 will pop up.  Please make sure the link is taking you to the VA website before clicking on it. Print the form off to bring to your medical provider to be filled out.  Other disabilities are secondary conditions that may be listed on the DBQ form.  If you have any of those, tell your medical provider about them they can use the DBQ to diagnose those conditions listed.  Most diseases or illnesses will have a DBQ that can be used to support the veteran’s claims for service-connection of a disability.

We recognized Mr. Bobby Douglas who served in the United States Air Force during the Korean War.  We are very proud to honor him as our veteran of the week.   We introduced him to our visitors and presented a military cap representing his Honorable service during that war.  Mr. Douglas makes his home in Fort Cobb, Oklahoma.  It is a pleasure to be able to stand with the men and women who helped to keep this country free. Thank You!

As many of you know the number of veterans who were approved for a 100% rating for their service-connected disabilities has already exceeded any previous records that were set by our organization.  We are on track to reach our goal of one thousand veterans to be approved for a 100% service-connected disability rating in 2018.  This milestone would not have happened if it were not for the hundreds of hours that our volunteers have given to this organization.  The men and women who are with us each Tuesday and Thursday morning knowing that they are making a difference when a veteran or surviving spouse returns with a smile on their face and a hug for the volunteer who made it possible.  These dedicated volunteers include our drivers who spent 81 hours transporting 21 veterans 1,479 miles.

Last week 22 veterans received a disability rating of 100% for their service-connected disabilities.  These men and women’s lives were changed for the better as they receive an annual combined amount of $890,069 per year.  They will also receive other state and federal benefits such as property tax exemption on their primary residence, reduced auto tags, and free hunting and fishing license.  Twenty-eight veterans received a disability rating from ten to ninety percent for their service-connected disabilities. These men and women will receive a combined annual amount of $413,025 per year. We are very proud to have assisted every person either veteran or their family members who pass through our doors.

As a 501 (c) (3) we are a Non-Profit organization that operates solely on the donations given and any local grants that we may receive.  This means we are dependent on the men and women we help to help us to pay it forward to help the next veteran or surviving spouse.  Each month we spend approximately twenty- five thousand dollars in direct aid to veterans and their families.  The federal or state government does not help us to provide any services to those in our community who are in need.  We are an independent organization located in Norman, Oklahoma whose only mission is to help military veterans and their families receive their VA benefits. Our Board of Directors is made up of men and women who have proven to be successful members of our community who want to be a part of our Veterans Foundation.  With their leadership, we will continue to be the” go to “place for all veterans and surviving spouses who need help with their VA disability applications and other needs.

As we continue to grow, I would like to see every veteran in our state receive the VA benefits that they were previously denied by the Department of Veterans Affairs.  There is no reason that veterans who were in the infantry, artillery flight lines or was exposed to other types of acoustic trauma were denied service-connection for hearing loss and tinnitus.  We believe that those conditions should be approved for every veteran who served in a hazardous noise job.  One of our goals is to assist every veteran who was exposed to any type of acoustic trauma in the military receive service-connection for tinnitus (ringing in ears).  Hearing loss should be service-connected for to all veterans who meet the Maryland CNC speech discrimination of 92% or less or the pure tone decibel loss required to be service-connected.

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