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Memorial Day 2012
A member of the Honor Guard pays his respects to the fallen.
A member of the Honor Guard pays his respects to the fallen.
May 28, 2012
As part of Memorial Day , the ODVA once again hosted a memorial ceremony at the Afghan-Iraqi Freedom Memorial on the department’s grounds in Salem. The public ceremony honored two fallen Oregon service members, 1st Lt. Justin Wilkens of Bend, and Cpl. Adam Buyes of Salem, who died recently while serving in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
The ceremony also honored the other 131 men and women with Oregon ties who have given their lives since 2003 while serving our nation in support of both Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. The names of the fallen are inscribed on the Afghan-Iraqi Freedom Memorial and were read during the ceremony. 

Veterans Day Event at ODVA
veterans day 2011
November 11, 2011
More than 125 people gathered on the ODVA grounds on Veterans Day, Nov. 11th, to honor the service of all. During the ceremony, 131 names of Oregonians, and those with Oregon ties, who have been killed in the fighting in Iraq an Afghanistan were read aloud. That included the four newest names that were engraved on the memorial: Spc. Andrew E. Lara; Pfc. Matthew J. DeYoung; Hospitalman, Riley Gallinger-Long and MSgt. Danial R. Adams.
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Memorial Day Event at ODVA
An event attendee makes a rubbing on the memorial wall.
An event attendee makes a rubbing on the memorial wall.
May 30, 2011
A ceremony on the ODVA grounds, that has been repeated twice annually since 2006, was held at the Afghan-Iraqi Freedom Memorial to honor one  fallen Oregon Marine who died in February while serving in Afghanistan. Before nearly 200 attendees under sunny skies on Memorial Day, May 30, the names of the 126 other men and women with Oregon ties who have died while serving Iraq and Afghanistan were read aloud during the ceremony.
ODVA Deputy Director Val Conley served as the Master of Ceremonies. The Oregon National Guard presented military honors.

Korean War Veterans Honor Day Legislation Signed
Governor Kitzhaber, Representative Brad Witt, Irv Fletcher
Gov. Kitzhaber laughs with Rep. Brad Witt and Irv Fletcher
May 17, 2011
Veterans of the Korean War gathered at the Capitol on May 17, 2011 to witness Governor John Kitzhaber sign Senate Bill 951 that designates June 25 of each year as “Korean War Veterans Honor Day.”
The legislation finally honors veterans of the Forgotten War who returned home without acknowledgement or support.
SB 951 unanimously passed the Senate and House with strong supporters on both sides of the aisle. 
This legislation is representative of the sentiment felt by the general public and honors approximately 37,500 Vietnam Veterans in Oregon.
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Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day Legislation Signed
Gov. Kitzhaber prepares to sign SB 74.
Governor John Kitzhaber prepares to sign Senate Bill 74.
March 30, 2011
Surrounded by approximately 50 veterans, Gov. John Kitzhaber signed Senate Bill 74 that designates March 30 as "Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day."
The legislation finally honors Vietnam veterans and is part of a national effort to acknowledge the men and women of the Vietnam War who were denied this recognition and welcome upon returning home.
"It is an effort  small, but significant, to rectify that," said the Governor as he addressed a room packed with Vietnam veterans about how they were not welcomed home the way they should have been.

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UVGO Veterans' Muster
The color guard carries the flags
March 2, 2011
United Veterans Groups of Oregon held it annual Veterans’ Muster on the steps of the State Capitol. Veterans, legislators and the public were invited to attend the event supporting veterans around the state.  
Speakers included:
Co-Speaker Arnie Roblan, Co-Speaker Bruce Hanna, House Co-Chair of the Veterans Committee Sal Esquivel, House Co-Chair of the Veterans Committee Brad Witt, Senate Chair of the Veterans' and Military Affairs Committee Brian Boquist and Director JimWillis.
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Veterans Home Community Center Ground Breaking
Officials turn over the ceremonial shovels of dirt
Officials turn over the ceremonial shovels of dirt
November 18, 2010
 The Oregon Veterans' Home hosted a groundbreaking ceremony on Nov. 18, to officially begin the construction of the new Stan and Jean Adams Veterans' Community Center.  The $3 million center was developed by the Oregon Department of Veterans' Affairs to provide a much needed center on the grounds of the Home.  Scheduled to open in May 2011, the 9,300 square foot center will be a gathering place for activities for residents and special events.  
Several representatives and guests took part in the ground breaking at the Home.  They include from L-R:  Cheryl Maitland, Westcare; Jonathan Sanford, Sen. Ron Wyden's office; Bruce Craig, ODVA; Butch Gehley, Veterans Care Centers of Ore.;  Linda Adams Oregon Vets Home; Ben Hier, Sen. Jeff Merkley's office; State Rep. John Huffman; Jim Willis, ODVA Director; The Dalles Mayor Jim Wilcox; Cody Standiford, Rep. Greg Walden's office; Bob Decker, Pres., Westcare; Van Moore, Vice Pres., Westcare; Matt Stoffregen and Chris Morris, CB2 Architects.
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Veterans Day 2010
A Veteran pays his respects
A Veteran pays his respects
Veterans are Honored at the Afghan Iraqi Freedom Memorial
Under cloudy skies, more than 100 people gathered at a public ceremony at the Afghan-Iraqi Freedom Memorial on Veterans Day in Salem to pay tribute to all of Oregon's fallen service members who have served in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.  The ceremony commemorated all Oregon service members who have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, including the four since Memorial Day.  
Their names of the fallen have been inscribed on the memorial's Wall of Honor, located on the grounds of the Oregon Veterans' Building. The fallen include:  Chaplain Capt. Dale A. Goetz, U.S. Army; Sgt. Ian M. Tawney and Lance Cpl. Joseph E. Rodewald, U.S. Marine Corps; and Pfc. Anthony T. Justesen, U.S. Army.   ODVA Deputy Director Paula Brown presided over the ceremony as Oregon Army National Guard soldiers from the Adjutant General's Select Honor Guard presented the colors. When the more than 120 names of the fallen had been read aloud during "roll call," Taps was played by retired Army Guard 1st Sgt. John Skelton.  
Each Veterans Day and Memorial Day, the Department adds any new names of fallen service members to the memorial's Wall of Honor. 
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Honor & Remember Flag Ceremony
George Lutz presents the Honor and Remember flag.
George Lutz presents the Honor and Remember flag.
Salem, OR - August 24, 2010 - Afghan Iraqi Freedom Memorial
On December 29, 2005, George Anthony Lutz II (Tony) was killed by a sniper’s bullet while he was on patrol in Fallujah, Iraq. His family and friends endured the shock, emotional agony and overwhelming loss that accompanied the news of Tony’s death
After their grief had transitioned to numbness and finally to acceptance, his family wanted to know two things: their sacrifice was not in vain and the nation would never forget. These concerns led his  father, George on a quest to discover if there was a universally recognized symbol that specifically acknowledges the American service men and women who never made it home. To his surprise, he found nothing. Thus the Honor and Remember Flag was conceived.
On Tuesday, August 24, George Lutz brought his Honor and Remember RV to the Oregon Department of Veterans' Affairs for a presentation of the flag at the Afghan Iraqi Freedom Memorial. Lutz is spreading his mission to to create, establish and promote a nationally recognized flag that would fly continuously as a visible reminder to all Americans of the lives lost in defense of our national freedoms. The accompanying photos are from this Salem, Oregon event.

Memorial Day 2010 - Names Added To The Memorial
Memorial Day Ceremony 2010
Family members of Sgt. Elijah J. Rao, killed Dec. 2009
Friends, Families Pay Respects At The ODVA Afghan Iraqi Freedom Memorial
Four names of Oregon servicemembers who have died since Nov. 2009 while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan were added to the Afghan Iraqi Freedom Memorial in Salem on Memorial Day. More than 100 people attended the ceremony as Oregon National Guard members presented the Colors, offered prayers and played Taps to honor their fallen comrades.  
The names added include: EN3 David M. Mudge, Sgt. Elijah J. Rao, Sgt. Joshua A. Lengstorf and Pfc. Erin L. McLyman. ODVA Director Jim Willis said, "The memorial has become a place of reflection for those recalling our servicemen and woman who have died on the field of battle, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan."  
Army Spc. Brett Foster, 20, attended the ceremony. A 2008 graduate of Salem's Sprague High School, Foster was serving in Afghanistan in May when he was shot in the leg. He remained standing on his crutches as all 122 names on the memorial were read.
View video slideshow of the event. 
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Oregon Ducks Spring Game Pays Tribute to the Troops
A Ducks cheerleader wearing a
A Ducks cheerleader wearing a "Support the Troops" T-shirt.
20,000 Turn Out to Support the Troops and the Ducks
Support our Troops and Families was the backdrop for the University of Oregon’s spring game. It was a salute to Oregon armed forces about to deploy overseas, currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan or have safely returned home.
The day began with displays and events set up inside and around the Moshofsky Center, the Ducks indoor practice facility, and culminated with players and troops exchanging jerseys for challenge coins. It was Coach Chip Kelly's wish that they would also exchange email addresses and stay in touch while the troops are deployed.
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Lebanon Press Conference Reveals Site of Second Veterans' Home
Jim Willis Announces Location for Second Veterans' Home
Jim Willis Announces Location for Second Veterans' Home
Lebanon Oregon Selected For Second Veterans' Home
The Director of the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs announced on April 15 that the agency will build a second Veterans’ Home in Linn County at a site in Lebanon contingent upon local matching funds.
Originally slated to be a 250-bed facility, the site evaluation committee recommended that the second veterans’ home be 100-150 beds and that a third veterans’ home be built in Roseburg to cover Oregon’s southwestern region. ODVA will need legislative approval to build a third veterans’ home.


Women Veterans Conference Held in Canyonville
2010 Woman Veteran of the Year, Mandy Martin in interviewed
2010 Woman Veteran of the Year, Mandy Martin is interviewed
Female Veterans of All Ages Enjoy the 2010 Women Veterans Conference
The Oregon Women Veterans Conference was held March 26 through March 27, at Seven Feathers Resort and Casino in Canyonville.
The two-day event included several educational workshops on issues that are important to female veterans. There was also be guest speakers, entertainment, and camaraderie with more than 400 fellow women veterans in attendance.
Conference coordinator and Oregon Department of Veterans' Affairs Administrator Val Conley said the event is an opportunity for women veterans to come together in one place to network and to connect with other military servicewomen.


State Senate Recognizes WWII Merchant Mariners
State Senator Martha Schrader carried SCR22 on the Floor
State Senator Martha Schrader carried SCR22 on the Floor
Merchant Marine Veterans Get Long Overdue Recognition
The story of the Merchant Mariner is one of patriotism, of youthful exuberance, of dedication
to duty, of bravery in the midst of battle and of a nation that denied them for more than four
decades after their service.
On February 11, the Oregon State Senate unanimously passed Senate Concurrent
Resolution 22, which officially recognizes the service of United States Merchant Marine
veterans during World War II.
Members of the American Merchant Marine Veterans organization, many of whom are now
in their 80’s, attended the Senate reading where Senator Martha Schrader carried the resolution
on the floor. The Senate adopted the resolution unanimously.

Portland Trail Blazer Military Appreciation Night
Alt Tag
L to R: Garner Poole, Les Schmidt, Gene Peery and Jake Truex
Four Veterans Represent Their Eras During Blazer Game Celebration
On November 21, The Portland Trailblazers honored four veterans representing all veterans and eras during halftime of the game versus the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Garner Poole, a World War II veteran, wearing his original U.S. Navy uniform was honored as well as Les Schmidt, Korea; Gene Peery, Vietnam and Jake Truex, a two-tour Iraq veteran who represented more recent military conflicts.
Veterans in attendance were honored throughout the night, and special military related activities took place including a pre-game swearing-in ceremony of new Oregon Army National Guard recruits. 

Veterans Day 2009
Family member does a rubbing of a fallen servicemember's name.
Family member does rubbing of the name of a servicemember.
ODVA Hold Veterans Day Ceremony at the Afghan / Iraqi Freedom Memorial
Family and friends were on hand at the Afghan/Iraqi Freedom Memorial on the grounds of the Oregon Department of Veterans' Affiars for the Veterans Day Ceremony.
Among the speakers, U.S. Senator Ron Wyden said a few of of praise for Oregon's servicemembers and offered support for the family's of those who made the ultimate sacrefice.
A wreath was presented, as five new names of fallen servicemembers were added to the memorial wall.
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