Congratulations to our veteran of the week, Kevin Teeple. Teeple served in the United States Navy in the Combat Information Center on board a Navy ship during the Multinational Peacekeeping Force in Beirut, Lebanon. Teeple makes his home in Tonganoxie, Kansas, and traveled to visit us at our foundation in Norman. Thank you for your service. We appreciate your service and sacrifice.
We are open every Tuesday and Thursday morning to serve veterans and their surviving spouses with their VA claims and questions. Our foundation will be closed Nov. 28, Thanksgiving Day, and for all of Christmas week, Dec. 23-27 for our volunteers to celebrate with their families.
Last week, a veteran I had not met before asked me why so many people were at our foundation each day we were open and not very many at other places that helped veterans. I told him what one of our volunteers, Dick Clark, always said, "It's like seeing two restaurants next to each other with a long line at one and no one waiting at the other. The food must be better at the one with the line."
Here at Dale K. Graham Veterans Foundation, we do things differently than what others do to assist veterans and their families with VA benefits. We use an evidence-based system to help veterans receive the VA benefits for which they are eligible.
Most veterans are asked to obtain medical evidence in support of their claim for service-connection of a disability or to request a re-evaluation for an increase of a condition that is already service-connected. By using the VA Disability Benefits Questionnaire to diagnose a disability and to evaluate the severity of the condition, most veterans will receive the benefits they are applying for.
The number of veterans and surviving spouses who are making their way to see us in Norman continues to increase each week. We are actively seeking volunteers to join our team to help us serve others. Please contact Lora Malone at 550-8806, Ext. 101, if you would like to join our team.
As many of you know, 2018 was an excellent year for the one thousand veterans who received a 100% rating after we helped them with their VA claims. Needless to say, 2019 is going to be a record-setting year for the number of veterans awarded the coveted 100% rating. As of the first of this month, we have over 800 veterans who received that rating this year.
Last week, 35 veterans received a 100% rating and will receive a combined annual $1,361,923. Fifty-five veterans received ratings between 10% and 90% and will receive $850,384 combined annually.
Two surviving spouses were awarded benefits based on their spouse's military service, totaling $31,657 a year for DIC, pension or aid and attendance. Veterans awarded 100% will receive our Oklahoma state tax benefits including no property tax on their primary residence and sales tax exemption on purchases at local stores.
Our services are free to everyone who visits us for assistance with their VA claims and questions. We have four transportation vans we use to transport veterans to their VA appointments. Our pantry also has food sacks big enough to feed a family for a week at a time. These are available to those in our community who are doing without. We want to do everything possible to make a difference in the lives of the men and women who served our country.
As a 501-3-C, we have several ways that we raise funds to support our Veterans Foundation. The main one is donations from some of the men and women we have assisted. We also apply for grants and have our automobile donation program where people give us their old cars trucks, tractors motorcycles and other items that can be given to veterans or sold to raise funds to provide our services.
Some of the veterans we have helped will purchase that new truck they always wanted and then give their old one to us. There are many ways that we can be helped. On an average month we spend over twenty-five thousand dollars supporting veteran needs. We ask that you give however you are able. You can donate directly on our website or mail to P.O. Box 592, Washington, OK 73093. Help us serve veterans and their families.
Counselors from the Vet Centers are here each session, and a Legal Aid representative is here on Thursdays. We have food baskets available for those who qualify. We look forward to your visit and thank you for trusting us to help you with your VA matters.
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. There you will find a section 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.
Dale K. Graham Veterans Foundation is not affiliated with any other organization. Dale K. Graham is a VA accredited claims agent.