The Norman Transcript

February 26, 2014

Volunteers assist woman with claiming $290K back pay

The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — The volunteer of the week is an Air Force veteran who takes time from his job as much as possible to assist veterans on Thursday. Mark Oliver is married to Barbara, who supports what he is doing for the men and women who have served in the military. He has been with Veterans Corner since 2011.

In early January, I received a call from a surviving spouse of a veteran who was homeless and needed help. Shirley and I met her at a Moore motel, where we paid for a week’s lodging and provided her with a gift card to use for meals.

After reviewing her deceased husband’s DD-214 showing he was a Marine in Vietnam and death certificate showing his date of death in 1973 from a heart condition, we filed a DIC claim for benefits for her, based on his Agent Orange exposure.

Last week, she called me very excited, saying that she was approved and that the VA was going to give her $290,000 back pay and $1,200 per month from now on. I had told some of the volunteers what I thought the outcome would be after first meeting her. I encouraged this lady to set up a trust where she could receive a check each month.

This type story could be repeated many times over if more surviving spouses knew about possible VA benefits. We are thankful the government helped this widow go from homeless to being able to provide for herself.

We are going to start keeping track of the number of veterans drivers Clayton Lee at 684-8860 and Harold Martin at 227-3239 are transporting to the VA hospital each week. This last week, Lee transported 10 veterans and drove 650 miles. Martin transported eight veterans and drove 355 miles.

Last Thursday, 115 veterans and surviving spouses were seen at the Goldsby Community Center. Eight veterans received ratings of 100 percent. Twenty veterans filed their first claims for VA benefits. Several of these were young men and women who were recently discharged or were in the Wounded Warrior Program awaiting discharge from the military. More of our recently discharged veterans are filing claims for their injuries that were caused by or aggravated by military service than we have seen in previous years.

Shirley and her ladies helped 13 surviving spouses apply for VA benefits.

I met with Harold Harvell last week to discuss when we could start the dirt work for the proposed Veterans Corner Facility on State Highway 9, west of Interstate 35. We will meet with the land donors from the Reed family to discuss a time frame for a groundbreaking ceremony. I would like to have as many of our volunteers and veterans at the ceremony as possible.

John Carter had some Veterans Corner brochures printed up to use when he is meeting with prospective donors. For those who would like to help, he can be reached at 202-1999. If you have not made a trip to Goldsby on a Thursday morning to see the plans, please feel free to do so.

The benevolence fund went in the red a little last week, as we spent a little more than was donated. Many of the widows and veterans are running out of propane due to the severe weather we have had. In the last two weeks, we have spent more than $1,500 on propane for them.

Treasurer Jerry Baxter is purchasing 10 more laptops for volunteers to use when assisting veterans and spouses. He also is using benevolence funds to assist veterans and surviving spouses for medical testing, rent, utilities, fuel and gift cards.

For all of your questions and assistance about veterans’ benefits, we are at the Goldsby Community Center each Thursday. The doors open at 7 a.m. each Thursday, and sign-in sheets are available at 5:30 a.m. Take time to visit

For questions on widows’ benefits, call Shirley at 361-9322. 

Donations for the benevolence fund may be sent to Veterans Corner, P.O. Box 704, Washington, OK 73093.  

Donations for the Building Fund may be sent to Veterans Corner, c/o Dale Graham, P.O. Box 722160, Norman, OK 73070.

You can call me at 550-8806 or email kdgraham@

Semper Fi.

Dale K. Graham is service officer for Veterans Corner.

Breaking news, severe weather alerts, AMBER alerts, sports scores from The Norman Transcript are available as text messages right to your phone or mobile device. You decide which type of alerts you want to receive. Find out more or to signup, click here.