Washington High School chose our organization to support for their Military Appreciation basketball games. Last Tuesday, the foundation was awarded a check from the high school by state Sen. Paul Scott at the event.

We are grateful each Tuesday and Thursday morning, as we get to assist some of America's true heroes who served in military service to receive VA benefits that they are eligible. As we have been helping these men and women for over 20-plus years, we have developed an evidence-based claims process. We encourage veterans and surviving spouses to submit medical evidence to the VA in support of claims for service-connection of a disability.

When I first started as a volunteer helping veterans at the local American Legion, we helped the local Oklahoma Department of Veterans Service officer one morning each week. After we had been there a year or so, we were helping so many veterans, the officer asked me why so many more of our claims were approved than his. The only thing we did differently is we asked veterans to obtain medical evidence. As most veterans were exposed to some very loud noises while serving, we decided that a medical link from an audiologist would be the best way to help a veteran to receive service-connection of a disability.

Since that time, we have helped tens of thousands of veterans receive VA benefits for which they were eligible. When a veteran retains an attorney to assist them in obtaining VA benefits, the first thing the attorney will do is send the veteran for medical evidence. We do this for the men and women who served and for the families of those who gave their life so that we in America could remain free. The men and women who served in the military are protecting the 98% who did not stand up to defend our way of life.

Last week, one surviving spouse was awarded benefits totaling $16,082 annually. Thirty-seven veterans were awarded 100% for their service-connected disabilities. They will receive a combined $1,529,743 a year. Seventy-seven veterans received ratings between 10% and 90%. This group will receive a combined annual $1,270,764.

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 veteran 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.

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 to begin the process of making 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 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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