News about the veteran community, for the veteran community.

Hispanic Heritage Month: From Coast to Claims, Martin Ornelas Continues Family’s Remarkable Legacy of Service

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15 through Oct. 15), the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs is sharing stories from the state’s and nation’s military and cultural history, including profiling individual Hispanic American veterans and family members. Martin Ornelas, manager of the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs’ Statewide Veteran Service Portland Appeals Office, had a lot to live up to when he made the decision in March 1983 to enter the United States Armed Forces. His father was an Army veteran who served in the European theater of World War II — but that’s just the beginning. Ornelas’ dad had four brothers and

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In One’s Element: The Value of Being On the Water

By Robert Smith, Oregon State Parks I don’t know when it started, young I guess, like most things. My favorite memories always involved water. Vacation often started with a ride on the ferry to Whidbey Island. Then there was grandpa’s house overlooking Puget Sound. Maybe it was fishing trips with my dad to Lake Leland – eating tomato soup warmed on an old Coleman stove. Dad would make sure I was safe and warm and, based on the abundance of tomato soup, would continue to grow. There were smells and sights and sounds that I still remember and that I

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What Dis-ability? The Healing Power of Boating

By Ashley A. Massey, Public Information Officer, Oregon State Marine Board A day in 1969 changed the trajectory of Craig Withee’s life. A car accident left him a paraplegic, but that has not slowed down this retired Civil Engineer from Bend. In 2018, Craig Withee was appointed to the Marine Board and brought with him not only his 38-years of experience in facility engineering, operations and management for the Department of Army and the Federal Aviation Administration, but a perspective from an avid mixed-use boater and angler who happens to live with physical limitations. Withee offers his perspectives around the

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