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Message from the Director

Oregon Department of Veterans' Affairs Director Cameron Smith served as a captain in the United States Marine Corps, completing three tours of duty in Iraq. He was honorably discharged after serving five years in the Marines. A graduate of Carleton College in Minnesota, he holds a Bachelor of Arts in history. Director Smith is originally from Boston but happily lives in Portland, Ore., where he continues to root for the Red Sox.

Every day, the team at the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs (ODVA) is privileged to serve our veterans and their families. At the same time, we are humbled by the mission at hand.

For the first time in history, we are serving four generations of veterans who have served in our military, fought our battles in five major wars and stood guard over our peace.

Since our founding in 1945, ODVA has been the advocate in the corner of our veterans and their families. Our team today continues a long tradition of service and we can all be proud of the results in Oregon.

In 2017, we originated $71 million in low interest home loans to Oregon veterans. We also completed the start-up of the second Oregon Veterans’ Home in Lebanon and continued to provide the best in skilled nursing care at the Oregon Veterans’ Home in The Dalles.

In partnership with our network of County Veteran Service Offices and National Service Organizations, we also increased new claims submitted to the federal VA that now return an incredible $106 million a month in disability compensation and pension for Oregon veterans.

The results are impressive, but we also know how much work we have to do to better serve our veterans. Tragically, we still have almost 1,500 homeless veterans in communities across Oregon, and veterans make up over a quarter of all suicides in this state. These statistics are not simply numbers. They represent real people, men and women who served our state and nation.

Veterans certainly gain great strength from their service, but it is also not surprising that those who have borne the battle can face challenges when returning home. For those most impacted by their service, we must understand their tenacious spirit and resiliency. They deserve nothing less than the best in care, resources and support.

We also know that our mission to honor and serve Oregon veterans is larger than any one organization. We are very fortunate to have the advocacy and support of broad community partners. Together, we can ensure the essential network of support for our veterans’ health, education and economic opportunity.

Thank you for your dedication and commitment to Oregon’s veterans and their families!

Semper fi,

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