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Today, we proudly commemorate the 78th anniversary of the formation of the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs as a state agency. Back in March 1945, then-Governor Earl Snell signed the bill that brought ODVA into existence, which officially took effect on June 16, 1945.
This step occurred only days after the historic D-Day invasion, when American troops stormed the beaches of Normandy. Governor Snell and our state leaders recognized the importance of establishing a department to support and provide comprehensive services and assistance to our returning veterans from the front lines of World War II.
Since 1945, our world has changed considerably. Notably, we find ourselves serving four generations of veterans, spanning five major wars and conflicts. Yet, our dedication to every Oregon veteran remains unwavering. We proudly advocate for and serve all veterans who served our nation with honor and call Oregon home, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, creed, gender, age or orientation.
In so doing, our programs and services have grown and adapted to reflect the ever-growing and evolving Oregon veteran population with its diverse needs and experiences. From our original and bedrock services of the Oregon Veteran Home Loan Program and our network of trained and certified Veteran Service Offices across the state, we now proudly offer services dedicated to aging veterans, student veterans, women veterans, LGBTQ+ veterans, houseless veterans, incarcerated veterans and other underserved populations of veterans and family members.
We strive to fulfill our promise of offering every possible service and assistance to our returning veterans, ensuring they have access to their earned benefits and the opportunity to thrive within our state. We know we can achieve our mission and vision only by continuing to leverage our partnerships with all levels of government and community partners, national service organizations, colleges and universities, nonprofits, faith-based organizations, and private sector employers.
Together, we continue to honor and support Oregon’s veterans, fostering a future where their contributions are recognized and celebrated, and we proudly look forward to another 78 years (and more!) of serving all those who have served.