Cleveland County Commissioners awarded nearly $100,000 to Dale K. Graham’s Veterans Foundation and the Lexington’s American Legion VFW Post 301.
The Dale K. Graham Veterans Foundation will receive $30,000 while the Lexington American Legion will receive $67,000.
That brings Cleveland County’s total American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) investment in veterans to $500,000.
“The county’s support for veterans through ARPA funds will be critical in the recovery from the pandemic,” said Jon Foti, chief executive officer of the Dale K. Graham Veterans Foundation. “These funds will strengthen our efforts to serve all those veterans who were unable to receive help throughout the pandemic.”
The VFW/American Legion Post 301 in Lexington and Envision Success for Veterans located in Norman both plan to use the majority of their ARPA dollars for much-needed building and technology improvements.
“The veterans of southern Cleveland County are excited to use the provided funds from the grant towards improving our building,” said Jimmy Hight, American Legion Post 301 Historian. “We would like to thank the commissioners of Cleveland County for putting needed emphasis towards the veterans in the county.”
Gail P. Wilcox, Founder and Executive Director for Envision Success for Veterans is also grateful for the support.
“Thank you to the Cleveland County Commissioners for trusting and supporting Envision Success for Veterans,” Wilcox said. “This grant will enable us to improve our technology programs, security and accessibility while making our location even more welcoming for the veterans and family members who participate in the programs we offer.”
By committing ARPA dollars to nonprofits that serve veterans, county officials are able to build on the natural collaboration and existing coordination already found among these local organizations.
“On behalf of the Norman VFW Post 4890 we are very grateful to the Cleveland County Commissioners for making the monies available to help make a better community,” said Fred Zacher, post quartermaster of the Norman VFW Post 4890. “We will use the grant to help our fellow veterans and their spouses receive the benefits they've earned and deserve.”
Support of veteran organizations is consistent with Cleveland County’s commitment to veterans, including a full-time County Veteran Services Coordinator Charlie Neely.
“Neely partners closely with a number of veterans’ organizations,” county commissioner Rusty Grissom said. “He is certified as a Veterans Affairs Accredited Service Officer which allows him to submit claims directly to the Veterans Benefit Administration on behalf of veterans and their families, but one person can only do so much. By working with this network of veteran organizations and awarding them ARPA funds, we can bolster the network of support for all of our Cleveland County Veterans.”
Cleveland County was awarded $55 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to provide critical support for our residents while also improving infrastructure and mitigating the economic impacts caused by the pandemic. The commissioners set aside $4 million specifically for nonprofit support with a focus on vulnerable populations such as veterans and those affected by behavioral health issues. Of that, $500,000 is specifically designated to nonprofit veterans groups in Cleveland County who were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.
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