The Dale K. Graham Veterans Foundation honored Korean War veteran Sylvester Moore as veteran of the week. He served our country as a member of the United States Army. He makes his home in Talihina.

Each week we recognize veterans who served in World War II and the Korean War, with an introduction and the presentation of a cap representing their war of service.

Several days leading up to July 4, my neighbors started celebrating with fireworks, many of them not finishing until Sunday night. I enjoy fireworks displays that are sponsored by our cities and businesses. I hope everyone understands that we recognize our independence as we celebrate each Fourth of July. Independence Day allows us to say thank you to the men and women who have served and those who are serving today.

Without their sacrifices, we would not be living in a society where we can choose how we want to live our lives. America symbolizes freedom across the world.

We were closed Thursday for our volunteers to celebrate with their families and friends. We helped 185 veterans and surviving spouses Tuesday. That was a long day. We are going to incorporate a few changes in the number of people we accept each Tuesday and Thursday. Hopefully, we will be able to let everyone know when we have reached our maximum for the day.

We are also looking at ways to decrease the wait time that some veterans have on their visit to our Veterans Foundation. Lots of things are being discussed that will improve our service. We are volunteers who want to change veterans and their families' lives for the better. There is no charge for services we provide to all veterans and surviving spouses.

As a 501 -3-C nonprofit, the money we use to assist other veterans and their families comes from local grants and donations we receive from the people we have helped. On any given month, we spend over $25,000 in direct support to the men and women who have served in our military. I realized many years ago that some of the men and women who served in our country’s military returned with severe medical problems that were physical or mental in nature. Some of them will be held back in their ability to provide for their families because of the disabilities.

All of us at our foundation believe that we can make a difference in the lives of veterans and their families. As proof of what we do, try driving through our parking lot any Tuesday and Thursday morning; there will be tags from all over the United States. We believe our system of filing evidenced-based claims for veterans is the best way to help them receive approval for a VA disability or an increase of an existing service-connected disability.

We continue to see an increased number of decisions the VA has made on veterans and surviving spouses who are represented. Twenty-nine veterans received a 100 percent rating for service-connected disabilities. These men and women will receive an annual combined amount of $1,127,429 per year.

We also received rating decisions on 61 veterans who were awarded disability ratings from 10 to 90 percent. This group of men and women will receive an annual combined amount of $809,421. One surviving spouse was awarded benefits based on their spouse’s military service and will receive $15,828 annually.

Our organization is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that relies on donations to be able to provide services to the thousands of veterans and their families who need assistance. We accept the donation of cars, trucks, motorcycles or other types of items that can be given to veterans or sold to raise funds to provide for veterans' needs. Donations should be tax deductible on income taxes. You also can donate at dalekgrahamveteransfoundation.org or by mail at P.O. Box 592, Washington, OK 73093.

We are available every Tuesday and Thursday morning at 1268 N. 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.

Visit dalekgrahamveteransfoundation.org for more information and click on Frequently Asked Questions. You may also contact us at 550-8806 for information or to schedule transportation.

Thank you to all veterans and their families for their service to the United States of America. Semper fi.

Dale K. Graham Veterans Foundation is not affiliated with any other organization. Dale K. Graham is a VA accredited claims agent.