Remember last week when we talked about Groundhog Day predicting an early spring? Well, I guess the groundhog got the last laugh, because Thursday was chilly where we are. With subzero temperatures causing school closings and icy conditions, our volunteers soldiered on.
We had a moderate temperature Tuesday and helped 150 visitors that day but only 100 visitors on the snowy Thursday. Our drivers kept the vehicles moving and donated 66 hours transporting 22 veterans 1,063 miles.
We're recognizing World War II veteran Joseph Hazlitt as veteran of the week. He served in the United States Navy. We introduced him and honored his service with a cap representing WWII.
A recent court ruling discussed the extension of Agent Orange-related VA benefits to "Blue Water" veterans. We are fielding many calls on this topic and will continue to monitor the legal progress on this issue. As we have more information, we will pass it along.
From time to time, a veteran's appeal is scheduled on the docket for the Board of Veterans Appeals. To attend hearings, the veteran was required to travel to Muskogee. Such a trip involved six hours for round-trip travel from our foundation offices.
A couple of times we could use the video conferencing equipment at the Oklahoma City VA Medical Center. When that permission was withdrawn, we had to quickly make other arrangements.
The Oklahoma Vet Center's mobile unit, which is equipped with a video conferencing facility, was parked in front of our building Friday so veterans' cases could be heard by the VA law judge in Washington, D.C.
When we moved into our building, we quickly set up shop through the many items given to us by donors.
Some items were purchased to fill in what wasn't donated. One category of purchases was three dozen chairs we bought for $5 each. Each of them had plenty of miles on them before we began using them. Since a year and a half at our place, many veterans and their families have continued using these same chairs. We need to replace the second-hand chairs with new ones.
Although our carpet was adequate when we moved in, more than 300 people visit us each week.
We've had the carpets cleaned several times, but we're at a point where cleaning isn't all it needs. Appropriate carpet will help decrease noise levels often associated with large crowds.
We've been thinking about these items for some time. When we received an offer from local college students to help with moving furniture and carpet removal, we decided it was time to move ahead.
Plus, one carpet group offered to run two crews on the day when the college students are available. Our plan is coming together, so we plan to have everything done over a weekend and be fully ready when our veterans arrive the following Tuesday.
For both replacement projects, we are looking to raise $20,000. We need to buy 36 more chairs. For a donation of $300 or more, we will buy five chairs. We will attach an inscription plaque on the back of one chair for those who want to be recognized. For those making a $500 or more donation toward carpet replacement, we will recognize you on our website and newsletter.
As for donations, you will receive a thank you from our foundation because you are helping us make the world a little bit better. If you have any questions, call Rhonda at 760-0917.
We are available every Tuesday and Thursday mornings at the 1268 N. Interstate Drive Norman, OK 73072.
We open the doors by 5:30 a.m. and begin working as soon as volunteers have computers ready. We stop taking clients at 8 a.m. and urge you to arrive early.
Visit dalekgrahamveteransfoundation.org for more information. Semper fi,
As always, thank you to all veterans and their families for their service.
Veterans Corner is just south of Norman, two miles west of Interstate 35, Exit 106, on the north side of State Highway 9. The facility is open from 8 a.m. to noon Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Veterans Corner is a 501(c)(3) organization; all gifts are tax deductible. Donations can be sent to: Veterans Corner; P.O. Box 722160; Norman, OK 73070-8635. All proceeds are used to support veterans and their spouses.