Today, we would like to honor the late E.J. Branch as our veteran of the week. He died Saturday. He was a proud Navy veteran who served in combat during the Korean War. As one of our longtime volunteers who helped us start this mission, he will be missed.

When we first started, we asked him help put together donations to help a veteran pay for a hearing test or if they needed assistance. He also helped drive veterans to VA appointments. He was instrumental in helping hundreds of veterans receive VA benefits. We are proud to say he was a friend to us all. May God bring comfort to his family during this time.

One reason we are successful in assisting veterans and surviving spouses is because we are accredited by the Department of Veterans Affairs. This means that when a veteran or surviving spouse receives a decision or any communication from the VA, we receive the same documents. This enables us to contact the veteran or spouse to explain what their next move should be.

The person helping you file a claim should encourage evidence to be obtained to support your request for the service-connection of a disability. Last week, we received VA decision letters showing 52 veterans who received a 100% rating for their service-connected disabilities. These veterans will receive a combined $2,051,251 annually. We had 99 veterans who were awarded VA rating decisions between 10% and 90% and will receive a combined $1,691,238 annually.

I have been an advocate for veterans and their family members for more than 30 years. I believe in what our volunteers do for them each Tuesday and Thursday morning. Last week, we had a veteran tell us we had made their life worth living again.

We are thankful we were able to add more volunteers to our second shift, which begins at 10 a.m. each Tuesday and Thursday. This has enabled us to shorten our days by a couple of hours. On some of our workdays, we were not finishing until 5 or 6 p.m.

With a start time of 4 a.m., it made 12- to 14-hour days for some of us. As we continue to add more volunteers, we hope to shorten our workdays even more and be able to help more clients with their claims. To join us, contact Lora Malone any Tuesday or Thursday, or call 550-8806, Ext. 101.

We spend more than $25,000 each month in direct support of the veterans and family members we serve. We are a 501(c)3 nonprofit and are wholly dependent on donations from the people we serve and local grants. We accept donations of vehicles that can be given to veterans in need or sold to raise funds to continue our mission.

You can shop items from our Amazon charity list to stock our food pantry and shop AmazonSmile with us as the charity; we will receive 0.5% of your eligible purchases. If you are interested in including us in a gift, contact Lora at 550-8806, Ext. 101. Monetary donations can be made online or mailed to P.O. Box 592, Washington, OK, 73093.

Food sacks are available for those who need them. If you need a ride to and from a VA medical appointment or our foundation, contact 550-8806, Ext. 105, for Clayton or Ext. 106 for Louie.

We are available Tuesdays and Thursday mornings at 1268 N. Interstate Drive, Norman, OK 73072. Visit dalekgrahamveteransfoundation.org. Semper fi.

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

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