Today, we are celebrating the life of Billy Dean Prater, who died last week. He is our veteran of the week. He retired from the U.S. Air Force after serving honorably for more than 20 years.

He served as our veterans chaplain for many years, where he opened each day with a prayer and a pledge of allegiance. He was the man who brought peace to many veterans who visited us. He will be missed. Thank you, Billy, for sharing your life with us.

The snow and cold weather reduced the number of veterans who were at our veterans foundation last Tuesday morning to only 60. We had enough volunteers present to serve them. On Thursday, we helped 150 people with their claims and questions about VA benefits.

Each week, we have more than 30 or 40 people who have traveled hundreds or even thousands of miles to be assisted by our volunteers. The only thing different we do is request that the veteran obtain medical evidence in the form of a VA Disability Benefits Questionnaire to support an application for benefits.

We also enclose a VA form 21-4138 that describes what caused an injury or illness while serving in the military.

We have found that when the VA receives a veteran's application for benefits, there needs to be an explanation of what happened, where it happened, a list of witnesses and if they were treated by medical personnel or hospitalized. When a claim for VA benefits is filed, there should be a NEXUS established linking the veteran's disability to the accident, injury or illness that occurred during military service.

Our mail was busy last week. We had rating decisions for the following: 27 veterans received ratings at 100%. This group will receive a combined annual $1,032,641. Forty veterans received ratings between 10% and 90% and will receive a combined yearly $676,676.

As we are assisting over 300 veterans and surviving spouses each week, we are making a difference in the lives of veterans and their families. Join us in our mission by donating or volunteering your time. We are in need of copy paper to assist us with veterans' claims. If you would like to donate some, drop by any Tuesday or Thursday morning, or mail to P.O. Box 592, Washington, OK 73093.

If you would like to help us make a difference, we welcome your support. We spend over $30,000 each month in direct support of the veterans and family members we serve. We are transporting many homeless veterans to our Norman location each week. 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. If you are interested in including us in a gift, call Lora at 550-8806, Ext. 101. Monetary donations can be made online or mailed to us.

Food sacks are available for those who need them. If you need a ride to and from a VA medical appointment or our foundation, call 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.

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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