It seems like the longer our Veterans Foundation is closed, the more we miss seeing all our friends, veterans and the families who visit us each week for help with VA claims and questions. We are planning to reopen our facility the first week of June.

We are all going to have difficulty adjusting to the new procedures that will be required. We will post all the new sign-in and appointment procedures at dalekgrahamveteransfoundation.org and Facebook page.

One of the changes is the number of people who are in our building at one time. Before, we were able to assist over 150 people each day we were open. With the new CDC guidelines, it is going to be difficult to serve that many people. We are doing the best we can to ensure we help as many as possible, while following the new guidelines.

We would like to introduce you to our new board member, David Poarch. He is an active member of the Oklahoma Bar Association, where he served as the statewide organization's elected president in 2015.

Prior to his service as its president, he twice served as a member of the Oklahoma Bar Association Board of Governors, 2001-2003 and 2010-2012.

He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Central Oklahoma in 1973 and graduated from the University of Oklahoma College of Law in 1977. He attended college and law school following service in Vietnam as a combat medic with the United States Army, 1st Cavalry Division (1967-1968).

He began his legal career as an assistant attorney in Oklahoma City. He currently practices with the firm of Bailey and Poarch in Norman, where he is engaged primarily in the areas of estate planning, probate and real estate.

Following service as in-house general counsel and chief operating officer for a private financial services business later acquired by a Fortune 500 company, he accepted an appointment as assistant dean for external affairs at OU's College of Law, where he served from 1997 until his retirement in 2011. He is a member of the Oklahoma and American bar associations, as well as a past and present member of several local bar associations, including the Cleveland County Bar. He is serving as presiding judge of the municipal court of the City of Norman.

We have been assisting veterans from every state, along with countries in Europe and Asia. I received a call from a veteran who we started helping last year who lives and works in Australia. He told us he was awarded a 100 percent rating for his disabilities that we helped him file for. He was able to receive an evaluation in Australia on the disabilities and was then rated by the VA, based on the medical evaluations done by contractors and the DBQ evidence that he supplied.

For those of you who may need food items or other assistance, call us at 550-8806. We have a couple of hospital beds and other types of handicap items that are available to any veteran who needs them.

Last week, 23 veterans received a disability rating of 100% for their service-connected disabilities. This group will receive a combined annual $845,368. They will be eligible for the state benefits of sales tax exemptions, property tax exemptions and other benefits that our state provides for disabled veterans. Thirty-eight veterans were awarded disability ratings from 10% to 90% and will receive a combined annual $714,633. This group will be eligible for VA Health Care, and some of them may be eligible for other state benefits.

We welcome your support. We spend over $30,000 each month in direct support of the veterans and family members we serve. We transport many homeless veterans to our location each week to help make a difference in the lives of the men and women who have served in the military. We are a 501(c)3 nonprofit and are wholly dependent on donations from the people we serve and local grants. We are not funded by a government entity, all the funds it takes to operate our facility and to assist veterans with medical testing, and other expenses come in the form of grants from local companies or other veterans.

For those of you who would like to support the program, your gifts are always appreciated and may be tax exempt. 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.

Stay healthy. Our prayers are with all of you and your families during this time of trial in our country. 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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