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Vets News - Oregon Department of Veterans' Affairs
Walking in the Company of Giants


100 year old Navy pilot
100 Year Old Pilot Recalls Service


Archives 1947
From the Archives - 1947

In this issue...

2014 Statewide Veterans Day Events

Click here for an up to date list of the VETERANS DAY EVENTS taking place in Oregon.

Tell us about your community events with our Events Submission form.

Honor Comes Home to Lebanon

Lebanon Oregon Veteran's Home opening
On Sept. 20, surrounded by family and honored guests, Jodie Allworth of Corvallis, Ore., cut the ribbon of the newest Oregon Veterans Home named after her father, WWI Medal of Honor recipient Edward C. Allworth.

by Nicole Hoeft

LEBANON — A young Edward C. Allworth had just graduated from Oregon Agricultural College when war fell upon our nation in 1917 and he enlisted in the U.S. Army. Ninety-seven years later, his family gathered in Lebanon to honor his legacy at the dedication of Oregon’s second veterans home.

Lebanon Oregon Veteran's Home ribbon cutting

On Sept. 20, surrounded by family, honored guests and nearly 500 attendees, Jodie Allworth of Corvallis cut the ribbon of the newest Oregon Veterans Home named after her father, WWI Medal of Honor recipient Edward C. Allworth.

The on-time and on-budget construction of the $40 million veterans’ home began two years ago to the day of the dedication, but the beginning of the effort to construct a new veteran’s home began in 2008. A group of dedicated leaders from the state, the City of Lebanon, and Linn County brought together a vision and developed a detailed plan, resulting in the formal proposal to bring the home to Lebanon.

Since then, the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs has worked with the federal VA, construction managers, architects, city and county officials, and dozens of on-site constructions crews to build a facility that has rightly gained national attention.

Lebanon Oregon Veteran's Home C Wing

The beautiful home was designed using a new small house model for skilled nursing, memory care, and rehabilitation facilities, which creates small neighborhood communities for up to 154 residents. Like Oregon’s other award winning veterans home in The Dalles, Lebanon will offer services to veterans, their spouses and the parents who have lost a child to war time service.

Sen. Ron Wyden said after the dedication that the Allworth Veterans’ Home will be the model for other veterans’ homes throughout the country.

"We’re going to have a lot of happy veterans in this town. We’ll also be showing the rest of the country how to do veterans’ healthcare right."

During the ceremony, Linn County Commissioner Roger Nyquist thanked Linn County voters for passing a $12 million levy by a 2-1 margin to help fund the facility.

Lebanon Oregon Veteran's Home opening ceremony

Perhaps the biggest applause of the day was saved for Allworth’s great-great-grandson, Jimmie Lutz, who was following a long family tradition of military service. He entered Marine Corps boot camp the day following the celebration.

Jodie Allworth said that naming the facility after her father was fitting.

"He was always looking out for veterans," she said.

In the last days of the war, Capt. Allworth was commanding U.S. Army soldiers in France when the enemy destroyed a bridge and forced his troops to cross a canal.

Allworth "mounted the canal bank and called for his men to follow," his Medal of Honor award citation reads.

"Plunging in he swam across the canal under fire from the enemy, followed by his men. By his personal leadership, he forced the enemy back for more than a kilometer, overcoming machine gun nests and capturing 100 prisoners, whose number exceeded that of the men in his command," the citation adds.

When Allworth returned to the United States, he was instrumental in planning and fundraising for the Memorial Union at Oregon State University, formally known as Oregon Agricultural College. He served as its manager for 38 years.

The new facility began accepting residents at the end of October. For more information, visit http://www.lebanon.oregonveteranshomes.com/ or call 541-497-7265.

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Director's Message

Cameron Smith, Oregon Department of Veterans' Affairs

ODVA Director Cameron Smith

Efforts Must Go Beyond Honor and Recognition

November 11th is one day out of the year that we pause collectively as a nation to celebrate the service and sacrifice of our military, veterans, and their families. In this issue of Vets News, we are proud to highlight Veterans’ Day events in communities across the state from Astoria to Ontario, Portland to Klamath Falls, and Coos Bay to Bend.

This year, for the first time since the Afghan/Iraqi Freedom Memorial was built on the grounds of ODVA, we will not be adding another name to the wall during our Veterans’ Day ceremony. Although this is a positive sign that the war in Afghanistan is winding down, we must always remember that the work we do is because of those few who have chosen to actively protect our freedom, and always at a cost.


As we highlight the service of all veterans, though, we must also recognize that our work goes far beyond a day of honor and recognition.


Over the last year, our team began a comprehensive review to examine our mission, evaluate and prioritize programs, and account for the evolving and diverse needs of Oregon’s 320,000 veterans. Our approach is not about wholesale change, but a series of targeted course corrections that over time will produce transformative results.


Already, some of these strategic initiatives have begun to take root and positively impact our veterans. ODVA recently announced the award of a $400,000 grant from the federal VA on behalf of highly rural Oregon communities to improve access to VA health care through expanded transportation services.


In September, we were also proud to dedicate our second veterans’ home in Lebanon. This industry leading skilled nursing facility will ensure that we provide the best in care to aging veterans who have led the way for our community.


This fall, ODVA also hosted the first ever Veteran Owned Business Opportunity Showcase (VOBOS) at Camp Withycombe. We partnered broadly with key agencies and organizations to develop a day-long seminar for veteran business owners to better access support services and public contracting opportunities when starting, sustaining, and growing their businesses.


While our mission is large and our agency is small, we have tremendous resources to leverage in the federal VA, fellow state agencies, local governments, national service organizations, and community partners. Veteran services are not always about ODVA providing a service directly, but often more broadly about our leadership, advocacy, and strong partnerships on behalf of veterans. With your help, we will continue to innovate and strengthen our shared efforts.


This Veterans’ Day, please join me in giving thanks to all those who have served and are still serving in Afghanistan and around the world.


Signature - Cameron Smith

Let us honor their service on this one day and recommit to partnering together throughout the year to fulfill the sacred trust of caring for all those who have borne the battle.

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ODVA's New Logo

by Nicole Hoeft - Communications and Information Services Manager


For the first time in the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs nearly 70-year history, our state is striving to serve veterans spanning four generations and five major wars. The combined breadth of Oregon’s veterans’ population and the diverse needs demands a cohesive strategy that delivers relevant, timely and actionable outcomes for the veteran community in our state.

Earlier this year, the agency began a comprehensive review to examine and account for the changing needs of our veteran community, evaluate and prioritize our state programs, and reimagine our vision and mission. As a result of the findings, a new strategic framework was developed to address a series of targeted course corrections that over time will produce a more robust agency and serve and honor Oregon veterans and their families better.

As only 3 out of every 10 veterans are accessing their federal veteran benefits in Oregon, one of the four strategic objectives of the agency’s framework is to drive veteran engagement by increasing awareness and outreach to the veteran community.

Although the agency has made great strides in the last two years to develop and update methods to engage the veteran community, to truly begin to drive veteran engagement we needed to distinguish our agency from that of any other veteran entity, including the federal VA, and refresh the agency’s image to be more recognizable.

A major pillar of this work stared with the development of a new agency logo.

The new logo has three distinct parts, each representing the agency’s advocacy, leadership and proud affiliation with the service members and veterans of Oregon.

The red graphic circle represents the agency’s never ending connection to the veteran community, partners, and veteran resources and services. As advocates for Oregon veterans and their families, the circle also represents being the expert veteran advocate for the state. The mark also creates the letter "O", representing Oregon.

Creating an abstract "V" for veterans, chevron stripes are used to communicate military rank, and represent our leadership, advocacy and expertise.

The 5-point star within the circle represents the five branches of military veterans that we center our mission around to serve, honor and advocate on behalf of.

The new logo signals a new cadence for our Oregon veteran brand. We believe the benefits of a distinct logo will help increase awareness of the veteran services, programs and benefits that we strive to deliver and honor all generations of veterans, yet set us apart as the expert and advocate for veteran work in Oregon.

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Walking in the Company of Giants

OVH resident Richard Lovett and Dallas Swafford at the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Oregon Veterans’ Home resident Richard Lovett and the facility’s Program Director Dallas Swafford enjoy a moment at the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial in Washington DC.

By Dallas Swafford, Oregon Veteran's Home Program Director, The Dalles

In mid-September I had the honor and privilege of accompanying Oregon Veterans’ Home resident and World War II Army veteran Richard Lovett, on the Honor Flight tour to Washington DC. The Honor Flight was hosted by the Bend Heroes Association and it provides the opportunity for World War II veterans to tour our nation’s capital and visit many of the historic sights and war memorials – the highlight being the World War II Memorial.

When asked to accompany Mr. Lovett on the trip I felt a sense of gratitude as we had established quite a bond as friends during his time at the OVH. Having the opportunity to escort him and other World War II veterans on this trip was a very humbling experience and is something I cannot capture in words. It did leave me with a deeper sense of appreciation for how the veterans of this greatest American generation fought through unimaginable conditions to redirect the onslaught of tyranny and prevail in a war that truly preserved freedom and put an end to some of the most heinous atrocities in history.

When we arrived at the World War II Memorial the atmosphere around us was both joyous and somber for the veterans, the family members, and escorts who made the trip. Watching the different tourists and sight seers move about amongst the men and women who literally saved the world bestowed upon me the gravity of how their sacrifice secured freedom for us all and how different the world would be today had they not prevailed.

Suffice to say, we all have the luxury of not knowing what conditions in the world would be like today because of the brave men and women who unequivocally refused to let that happen.

If there is one moment that stands out most to me personally, it was an interaction with Mr. Lovett and another veteran in the Honor Flight group. It occurred at Arlington National Cemetery as we were leaving the Changing of the Guard ceremony. Nearby we noticed the grave site of the most decorated veteran in American history, Audie Murphy, who died in 1971.

Mr. Lovett and I decided to go and pay our respects. As we conversed we saw another veteran and his son observing the grave site as well. After a few minutes of discussion the two veterans discovered they both served in the Americal Division during the war. They shared handshakes, hugs and stories, but also moments of silence as they stood at Murphy’s headstone. That in many ways said more than their words did.

After experiencing a most memorable time in DC with this honored group we touched down in Portland. On the way to the terminal the Port of Portland’s Fire Department saluted the veterans' arrival home with a ceremonial water shower that covered the plane as we taxied. When we got off the plane there were various honor guards and bagpipers there to greet us while we were escorted through the airport by the Freedom Riders.

Every person we passed, if not already standing, came to their feet and clapped to express their appreciation.

As I escorted Mr. Lovett and the other veterans in the group through the terminal, there was an overwhelming feeling of humbleness that overcame me and I’m sure everyone else in their presence experienced something similar.

Though age has physically slowed them down, at that moment their heroic spirit was larger than life and I felt as if I was walking in the company of giants. Their contribution to the world was timeless and we are all forever grateful for their service, dedication and sacrifice.

I will always be extremely thankful to have accompanied these wonderful veterans. It was really an honor.

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Rural Vets to Gain Better Access to Healthcare

SALEM – Oregon military veterans who reside in highly rural areas will have improved access to Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care and services thanks to a $400,000 grant that has been designated to expand transportation services for veterans in eight counties.

Rural Landscape

The VA and the White House Rural Council have announced a national award of grants which will improve health care access for veterans across the nation. The Congressionally authorized funding program will assist more than 11,000 veterans in seven states and 56 counties by providing up to $50,000 per highly rural area to fund transportation services for veterans to and from VA medical centers and other facilities that provide health care.

The Oregon counties that will be receiving $45,000 each from this grant include Baker, Gilliam, Grant, Malheur, Morrow, Sherman, Wallowa and Wheeler.

For thousands of veterans living in rural Oregon, the challenges of accessing the VA’s health care system stem from a lack of transportation to one of the three major medicals centers across the state.

Eric Belt, the Administrator of Veterans Services for the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs (ODVA), said each of the state’s counties that are receiving grant funding have unique transportation needs. The grant addresses these needs by enhancing existing community linkages and new routes established by grant funding through increasing staff, outreach and marketing.

"Many times the distance between a veteran and a VA Hospital or Community Based Clinic can be hundreds of miles apart. It’s even more difficult for those who can’t drive themselves," Belt said. "The grant will specifically address and improve transportation concerns so Oregon veterans may better receive VA health care and services."

As an accredited service office, the ODVA applied for the grant on behalf of eligible rural Oregon counties.

A highly rural area is defined as a county or counties with a population of fewer than seven persons per square mile. At least half of the states, including Oregon, have at least one highly rural area. About one quarter of the nation’s 22 million veterans live in rural areas and a majority are enrolled in the VA health care system.

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7 of 10 benefits

County Veteran Advocate Fights for Vets' Benefits

By Bennett Hall, Corvallis Gazette-Times. Reprinted with permission.

ALBANY – Mary Newman never served in the military, but she knows how to fight for those who did.

Benton County Veteran Service Officer Mary Newman

As a self-described "Navy brat," Newman grew up following her father from one naval base to another. Today, as the veterans service officer for Benton County, she helps the county’s 5,000 to 7,000 military vets get the government benefits they’ve earned, from educational assistance to health care, compensation for service-related disabilities and pensions for those who served in wartime.

Newman works for the Oregon Cascades West Council of Governments, not the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and often has to go toe to toe with an "adversarial" VA. As a former VA employee herself, she knows how the game is played.

"The ones who do the paperwork never see a face to put with the claim," she said. "It’s all numbers to them."

Newman handles about 30 new claims a month, and each one can take anywhere from three months to a year, sometimes longer, to work its way through the labyrinthine VA approval process.

Many veterans have no idea what sorts of benefits they’re entitled to or how to apply for them, Newman said, which is where Oregon’s network of county veterans service officers comes in.

"It’s a lot of paperwork," she said. "A lot of veterans give up. That’s why our offices are so important — we help them stick to the program and get it done."

Most of the clients Newman sees these days are veterans of the Vietnam War, who are now of an age to need health care, retirement and disability benefits. The second-largest group she sees are from the Korean War or World War II eras, though the latter are getting scarce.

Now, in part because of the Oregon National Guard’s disproportionately heavy deployments in more recent conflicts, she’s beginning to see a growing number of younger clients, veterans of the Persian Gulf War and military actions in Iraq, Afghanistan, even Somalia.

The biggest issue for this younger group is post-traumatic stress disorder, Newman said. About half the cases are combat-related, with the rest arising from sexual assault — especially among the growing number of female veterans. She helps them apply for disability benefits and get into the VA health care system.

In the biggest case she ever won, Newman obtained about $200,000 in compensation for a disabled veteran.

"That felt great," she said. "We did a happy dance."

For the most part, she said, America provides a good set of benefits for its military veterans. VA health care, for example, is generally both high-quality and affordable, with no premiums and, in many cases, no co-payments. But she said the government does a poor job of informing veterans of the benefits they have coming to them, and the adversarial nature of the claims process makes many vets feel unappreciated or even disrespected by their country.

And she finds the recent scandal over extended wait times for medical treatment and the falsifying of patient records just plain unacceptable.

"It’s something Congress needs to actually fix somehow," she said. "They’ve worked at getting the claims process to go more quickly, and that’s good, but some of the claims just hang out there forever."

Still, she has no regrets about a career choice she made almost by chance more than 30 years ago. She was working in community corrections for Clackamas County in 1982 when she saw a job posting for a veterans service officer. She got the job and has remained in the field ever since.

"It was the best thing I ever did in my life — there’s nothing like this job," she said.

"You change people’s lives — that’s the bottom line. You get them recognized, you get them health care, get them healthy, and you get them money in compensation and pensions from the VA."

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100 Years Old: Navy Pilot Remembers His Service

Lt. Dario Raschio sits in the cockpit of his Navy OS2-U Kingfisher observation floatplane during WW II in the south Pacific.
Lt. Dario Raschio sits in the cockpit of his Navy OS2-U Kingfisher observation floatplane during WWII in the south Pacific.

By Mike Allegre

Two years before the beginning of World War II, Dario Raschio wanted to join the military and learn how to fly. In 1939, one year after Raschio earned a biology degree from Oregon State College, his plan was to open a pharmacy with a friend. But as he recalls, the best laid plans can and do change.

Raschio has a sharp memory for a man who is about to celebrate a landmark in his life, but this veteran hasn’t forgotten the path that led him there.

Unable to open a pharmacy, he was hired to teach science at his alma mater, St. Stephen’s in Portland. He was the entire science department and earned $50 per month, but now disillusioned with his future employment prospects he applied for work outside of the northwest and was hired.

"I went to Washington DC and worked for the U.S. government and eventually ended up working as a clerk at the Department of the Navy."

Yet, learning to fly was still his dream and Raschio pursued it. He had taken a military physical to become a naval aviator and was very confident he would pass. However, the U.S. Navy’s evaluation was not favorable. Doctors said he could not enter flight training.

He had an overbite.

As the clouds of war circled the globe in September of 1941, the U.S. Army drafted Raschio. Being a Navy pilot was still his goal but the medical report from two years prior was a concern. "I asked this guy at the Navy department why my overbite had disqualified me, and he said if the plane were to dive, this maneuver would cause excruciating pain to the ears. But about two days later, I was told I was a Seaman 2nd class in the Navy."

Weeks later he received orders to report for pilot "elimination training" at nearby Anacostia before Thursday, December 4th. Raschio eagerly arrived two days early and soon he and other air cadets received an orientation flight. "Then we had the weekend off," he said, "but our situation soon changed."

With the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th, Raschio’s flight training was expedited. As his training in Jacksonville, Florida progressed, he sent a letter to Portland. In it he proposed to Maria Dardano, a young lady he had been dating.

"I told her that I’d buy her the most expensive ring Woolworth’s had to offer," he promised.

With flight training completed and a new set of wings on his chest, Raschio was placed on leave. He arrived home on a Sunday. He and Maria were married the following weekend, November 8, 1942, weeks before he was to ship out.

As a pilot now assigned to the USS Chester, Raschio flew OS2-U Kingfisher observation floatplanes that were catapulted off heavy cruisers. "They flew low and slow and were a favorite target of Japanese gunners," he said.

From Virginia, the Chester traveled through the Panama Canal and later docked in its home port of San Francisco in 1943. Soon after, their battle orders arrived. The United States’ effort to regain control of islands in the South Pacific, which they had lost to the Japanese, was about to begin.

The Chester was part of a taskforce of other U.S. naval vessels, aircraft and shiploads of Marines enroute to the island battlefields. The task force bombarded the islands of Tarawa, Eniwetok, Saipan, Wake Island and several others before the Marines arrived on the beaches.

"I remember watching as those brave Marines stormed those islands. They took a terrible beating, but regrouped and kept on moving to the next island battle."

On a blustery Easter Sunday in 1944, with a photographer in the rear seat of his Kingfisher, Raschio piloted his big pontoon plane to survey Japanese runways on an island the Navy had been bombarding for days. As the plane began taking heavy fire, Raschio steered back toward the ship, but not before locating some train tracks that he believed led to a Japanese ammunition dump.

"I was so excited to report back to the ship that I forgot to drop my two bombs on that target."

As he landed on the water, a sneaker wave hit the left wing pontoon and snapped it off. His plane capsized, sending the pair into the sea. Raschio and the photographer tried swimming to the aircraft, but the winds carried it further away. The USS Chester was too distant to help.

"I was prepared to die, but that’s when I thought of St. Michael’s Parish and that Holy Names Sister, whose name I don’t remember. She had promised to pray for me. After a few minutes I said to myself, "Sister, if I ever needed help, now is the time.’"

Before long the Navy destroyer USS Hale arrived and Raschio and the photographer were pulled on board. The destroyer’s captain told the men that a shark had been circling them. An exhausted Raschio then told the captain about the train tracks and their approximate location.

The destroyer moved in that night and began firing its big guns. After a few salvos, the night sky over the island was lit up for miles. "Talk about fireworks," Raschio recalls. "It was 2 a.m. and the night sky looked like it was daylight."

The USS Chester steamed to the Aleutian Islands where they repeatedly would attack the northern islands of Japan, but for Raschio there was little flying. The next stop was the Philippines.

"We were at the Bikini Atoll readying to begin that campaign when I was told I had reassignment orders to return home. Maria happily joined me in Seattle where I was ordered to the naval air station in Klamath Falls."

A chilly cabin near the base was now their home. Raschio was in charge of aerial gunnery, bombing targets, and briefings on target locations. He became somewhat of a local celebrity because he was the only pilot with war experience. Raschio gained fame once for flying back from San Francisco through a storm with serum needed to save the life of a boy at the nearby Japanese internment camp.

With the war over, he separated from the service in October of 1945. In the 1950s the Raschio family resided in Portland in a house he helped build and where he still lives today. He enjoyed a long career as a teacher at Franklin High School and supplemented his income with summertime painting jobs. For 26 years he also "moonlighted" in the evening selling men’s suits at Meier & Frank.

Retired from teaching and "haberdashery" in 1980, he and Maria began to enjoy more time together and that included sharing the dance floor several times a week. They shared their last dance a month before she passed away in 2010. Dario and Maria had been married for almost 68 years.

On November 10th, a healthy and spry Raschio will turn 100 years-old. Exactly one month before his birthday, the former Sailor, his son Darrell, and friend Karyn attended the Navy’s renaming ceremony for the USS Oregon and USS Portland. Raschio watched as smartly dressed Sailors and Marines took part in the ceremony.

ODVA Director Cameron Smith with former Navy pilot Dario Raschio


ODVA Director Cameron Smith pauses to talk with former Navy pilot Dario Raschio at the renaming ceremony the USS Oregon and USS Portland. Raschio will be 100 years old on November 10th.

"Seeing those young men and women in uniform reminded me of my time in the Navy. We learned discipline and got the best military training in the world. We all had jobs to do and sometimes we risked our lives."

Raschio said his wartime survival has blessed him with a loving family, a happy life and good health. "Not bad for a 100 year-old."

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New Navy Vessels Named for Oregon

Navy Vessels naming ceremony
U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus addresses the crowd at the Portland Waterfront during the renaming ceremony of two ships, the USS Oregon and Portland.

PORTLAND – With the mast of the celebrated battleship USS Oregon in the background, the U.S. Navy announced October 10th it will revive the USS Oregon name by assigning it to a submarine currently being built. During a ceremony in Portland’s Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus told the crowd an amphibious transport ship, known as a landing platform dock, will be named the USS Portland.

Secretary Mabus touted the partnership between the Navy, Marines, the state of Oregon and the city of Portland. He said too much time had elapsed between the Navy’s use of the USS Oregon name.

Construction on the USS Oregon, a Virginia-class submarine, began in early October with the scheduled delivery expected in November 2019. Other Virginia-class subs also carry the names of states.

The keel was laid on the USS Portland in August 2013. Its commissioning is expected in November 2017.

Once known as the "Bulldog of the Navy," the USS Oregon made headlines in 1898 and 1899 when it dispatched from the San Francisco Bay to Santiago, Cuba following the explosion that sank the USS Maine. The ship helped to defeat Cuban forces in the Spanish American War and was then ordered to the Pacific for blockade duty.

The Oregon was decommissioned in 1906 and recommissioned in 1911, salvaged as part of the World War II scrap metal drive, and was finally scrapped in 1956. The last pieces of the legendary ship – its mast, smokestacks, giant anchor and chain – eventually returned to Portland.

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ORVET home loan ad

VA Town Halls Held in Oregon

After the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) Robert A. McDonald directed all VA healthcare and benefits facilities to hold town-hall events by the end of September, to improve communication with and hear directly from veterans nationwide, medical centers in Oregon responded.

Portland’s VA Medical Center (PVAMC) has hosted three town halls since June, including two in September. PVAMC spokesperson Dan Herrigstad said each event lasted about 90 minutes so that every veteran who wanted to ask a question or voice comments had an opportunity.

"We had about 30 veterans at each of the two events in September. They were well received and provided veterans a venue to share concerns, ask questions, and/or link up with subject matter experts from PVAMC staff who were also present," Herrigstad said.

The Portland VA will host another town hall on December 9, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at PVAMC Columbia Campus, 1601 E. 4th Plain Blvd., in Vancouver, Wash.

In White City, more than 60 veterans were among 140 people who attended the town hall September 26 at the VA Southern Oregon Rehabilitation Center and Clinics (SORCC). The questions or comments from veterans primarily addressed concerns about their personal claim. Many local veterans were very vocal about how the SORCC had been managed.

SORCC spokesperson Rhonda Haney said overall the town hall was well received and brought veterans and other community members together to ask questions, talk and express their concerns.

"We had more than 30 SORCC employees who attended. We all share a great deal of empathy for the concerns they expressed because our job is to help our veterans to receive the help and care they need and have earned," she said.

Field representatives from the offices of Sen. Jeff Merkley and Congressman Greg Walden also attended.

The next Community Town Hall meeting will be held on Nov. 13, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the SORCC theatre.

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Wish of a Lifetime

Two non-profit foundations granted the personal wishes of eight Oregon veterans, and two from Montana, who wanted to visit the war memorials in Washington DC.

Journey of Heroes PDX

On Oct. 20, ODVA Director Cameron Smith was among the well-wishers at Portland International Airport who saw the veterans off on their three-day trip.

The "Journey of Heroes" was founded by two non-profit foundations, Vital Life Foundation (VLF) and Wish of a Lifetime (WOL).

The foundations collaborate to grant life-enriching wishes that provide meaning and vitality in the lives of seniors. WOL and VLF are very aware of the imminent passing by older generation of America’s heroes and are committed to fulfilling their wishes.

Two non-profit foundations granted the personal wishes of eight Oregon veterans, and two from Montana, who wanted to visit the war memorials
Photos by Gary Tetz, Vital Life Foundation.
Two non-profit foundations granted the personal wishes of eight Oregon veterans, and two from Montana, who wanted to visit the war memorials

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Walgreens, VA Partner to Provide Vaccinations

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a first-of-its-kind partnership, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has announced it has joined forces with retailer Walgreens to provide greater access to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-recommended vaccinations to veterans across the country.


Through its nearly 8,200 locations nationwide, Walgreens will offer flu and other recommended vaccinations to veterans. Pharmacists can administer vaccinations to veterans and will use eHealth Exchange, through its Walgreens Cloud Electronic Health Records platform, to securely share immunization records with VA to help ensure complete patient medical records.

The VA-Walgreens partnership gives veterans a greater choice in time and location for getting their flu shots without having to complete any other VA forms. Vaccinations are available daily during all pharmacy hours with no appointment necessary and are subject to availability.

This partnership grew out of a successful pilot program that began in Florida to provide flu vaccines to veterans throughout the state. Based on those results, VA is expanding the pilot nationwide.

"VA is proud to partner with Walgreens to provide needed vaccines to our nation’s Veterans," said VA Secretary Robert A. McDonald. "This partnership is a great example of how government and the private sector can work together to effectively and efficiently provide Veterans the care and benefits that they've earned."

Under the agreement, VA funding can provide approximately 75,000 flu shots for enrolled veterans. Vaccines are subject to availability and patients are encouraged to check with their health plan for specific coverage details.

Walgreens President and Chief Executive Officer Greg Wasson, said, "This is an excellent opportunity for our pharmacists to help VA educate Veterans about the importance of vaccinations, to improve immunization rates through greater access and to contribute to helping veterans get, stay and live well."

Age, state and health related restrictions may apply. Many immunizations may be covered by commercial insurance plans, Medicare Part B or Medicare Part D. To find the nearest Walgreens, veterans can call 800-WALGREENS or visit www.walgreens.com. For more information about VA’s immunization program, visit www.ehealth.va.gov/Immunization.asp.

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Veterans Treatment Court Graduates 4

SALEM – They are in class by themselves and there is a reason for that. They are the first graduates of an innovative program to help veterans.

The four graduates of the Marion County Veterans' Treatment Court had reason to celebrate July 11. The four men became the first to complete the 18-month program that was launched in October 2012.

At the courthouse in downtown Salem, military veterans Brian Center, Gary Grady, Alan Grizzle and Tim Kuenzi faced adversity. Instead of going through the regular criminal justice system, they volunteered to participate in the program.

Referred to by most as simply Vets’ Court, it is a veteran-specific caseload with hearings held during a block of time set aside one Friday morning each month in Marion County Circuit Court Judge Vance Day’s courtroom.

"It’s a lot easier for these veterans just to take the sentence many times," Judge Day said. "They can do 30 days in jail, and they’re done. They have to sign a contract and commit. It’s a lot of discipline and a lot of tough requirements, but they come out on the other side more healthy and whole and ready to reenter society."

There are currently 28 veterans in the Marion County program, including two women. Although they took different paths to the criminal justice system, their stories are similar in that they suffer from substance abuse and mental health problems stemming from their experiences in military service.

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Benefits Corner

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is the primary monthly monetary benefit payable to surviving dependents of a deceased veteran, and is the equivalent benefit to disability compensation for veterans.

This benefit is payable if the veteran died while on active duty, in the line of duty and not due to willful misconduct or, if death was after service, the death was caused or attributed to a service-connected disability.

The current basic monthly rate of DIC is $1,215 for an eligible surviving spouse. The rate is increased for each dependent child, and also if the surviving spouse is housebound or in need of aid and attendance. VA also adds a transitional benefit of $301 to the surviving spouse’s monthly DIC if there are children under age 18. The amount is based on a family unit, not individual children.

More information about other dependent benefits, please visit www.oregondva.com/dependents-and-survivors.

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Veteran Memorials Across Oregon

The Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Salem is home to memorials honoring Oregon veterans and current service members dating as far back as the Spanish American War.


A walking tour leads you through winding paths and lush landscaping starting at the Korean War Memorial and finishing at the WWI Doughboy.

These memorials are visited year round by veterans, their families and civilians alike to honor, remember and pay tribute to the amazing men and women who have, and continue to fight for our freedoms and liberties.

The Department has also compiled a list of the veteran memorials across the state. You can find the complete list at www.oregon.gov/odva/Pages/veteranmemorials.aspx

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Connecting Veterans to Business Opportunities

VOBOS participants in a workshop.
The first ever Veteran Owned Business Opportunity Showcase (VOBOS) featured three learning paths for veterans and offered key insights and educational seminars on topics ranging from business set up to how to apply for state and federal business certifications.

by Nicole Hoeft

On October 17, the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs hosted the first ever Veteran Owned Business Opportunity Showcase (VOBOS) at Camp Withycombe. The event offered key insights and educational seminars on topics ranging from business set up to how to apply for state and federal business certifications. The event registered more than 180 veteran owned businesses and was packed full of networking and educational opportunities as well as multiple business resources to help get veteran businesses on a clear path to success.

VOBOS scenes

The agency partnered with both state and federal organizations, including Business Oregon, Office of Minority, Women, and Emerging Small Business, Small Business Development Centers, Small Business Administration, GCAP, DAS Procurement Services, USDVA, Secretary of State’s office, the Governor’s office, ODOT, Dept. of Corrections, and SCORE to develop a three paths system to identify resources that impact success in business. Each path addressed resources dealing with understanding the marketplace, financial and technical support, certifications, and public contracting and procurement.

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E-Edition Bonus Feature: From the Archives

Today is our inaugural "From the Archives" section. We hope you enjoy the look back through our state's military history!


The Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs has been serving Oregon’s military since 1945. Vets News, our flagship publication, has been in print since the very beginning and is ever-evolving to best serve our veteran community.

August 1947


W.F. Gaarenstroom, Director


– Oregon Vocational School – Latest Information on Courses Offered
– Terminal Leave – Cashing Terminal Leave Bonds
– End of War Declared – Veterans’ G.I. Benefits Affected


Oregon Vocational School – “This school offers a splendid chance for many Oregon veterans, as well as other young men, to learn an occupation. The entrance requirements are simple: The student must be 16 years of age, and capable of profiting by the instruction. In other words, all he has to do is make good.”

Terminal Leave – “Admittedly, a lot of veterans are going to cash their bonds and spend the money right away. But it should be borne in mind that these bonds will not mature until five years from their issue date and for those who don’t need the money now, two and one-half percent interest per annum for five years will mean an additional sum. A $300 bond at maturity, for example, will be worth $338. And chances are a dollar will go a lot farther five years from now than it will today. It’s worth thinking about, at any rate.”

End of War Declared – “No persons entering the Armed Forces after July 25, 1947, will be eligible for any of the loan, readjustment allowances or educational benefits of the GI bill or Public Law 16, and any compensation or pension awarded veterans and their dependents as a result of that service will be paid at peace-time rates, instead of the higher war rates.”

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