As we are waiting to reopen our foundation, many of you have contacted me or other volunteers wanting to know when we will be able to begin assisting veterans and their families. We are hoping that we will be able to start our programs soon. As our volunteers and the veterans we serve are mostly over age 60, we have an obligation to plan our reopening with everyone's safety in mind.

We do know we will not be able have business as usual. The number of people in our building at any one time is going to be reduced. There will be safety measures in place. One change that will be implemented is we will have a system for veterans and surviving spouses be able to schedule an appointment.

We would like to introduce you to board member Marlon T. James. James is a native of Oklahoma City, where he attended Northwest Classen High School. He was able to attend Langston University on an academic scholarship. While enrolled at Langston, Marlon simultaneously served in the Oklahoma National Guard and was a cadet in the ROTC program at the University of Central Oklahoma. He successfully graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration in business management from Langston and received his commission from UCO as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. After graduation, he entered active duty and has been stationed all around the world.

Throughout his 23 years in the Armed Forces, he has had positions of increased responsibility in management, human resources, operations and leadership. He commanded two companies, including one in combat where he was awarded the Bronze Star with "Valor." Now retired from the Army, he is employed with the Department of Defense as a program analyst in the Strategic Planning Unit, located at Tinker Air Force Base; he is also an adjunct professor at the University of Oklahoma. He has been married to Karrie L. James for five years, and they have five children. He enjoys spending time with his family, friends, mentoring, tutoring, public speaking and serving the community.

Last week, 26 veterans received a disability rating of 100% for their service-connected disabilities. This group will receive a combined annual $1,105,457. 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 $662,425. Three surviving spouses were awarded benefits and will receive $48,245 annually.

We have been assisting some veterans and surviving spouses with their claims electronically or by using the USPS if they are running out of time to file their fully developed claim for benefits. We have been assisting an average of 30 to 35 people each week. The VA is starting to send veterans to QTC, LHI and VES for their disability evaluations. That has not been happening for the last few months because of the virus. We hope some of the veterans who have been waiting will receive their evaluations soon.

For those who have assistance questions, email me or call 550-8806. We also have a Facebook page that we review daily. We also provide other types of assistance or can provide contact information for organizations who can.

We have several hospital beds and other types of medical equipment available to any veteran or their family who needs these types of items.

We switched from storing data in fireproof filing cabinets to Cloud storage. We now have five of these cabinets for sale at a bargain price. They are brick lined and very heavy. For more information, contact dale@dalekgrahamveteransfoundation.org.

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 a 501(c) 3 nonprofit and are wholly dependent on donations from the people we serve and local grants. 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.

For the latest updates, visit our Facebook page and dalekgrahamveteransfoundation.org. We will post the reopening date as soon as we are able to determine one.

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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