A recent event took place at the Hellsgate boat ride in Grants Pass honoring the wives and children of a fallen brother. This event was called a “Snowflake” and it focused on the kids. Some participants traveled in excess of six hours to attend this event. NCOA holds this event for many reasons. Sometimes just getting out and doing something different allows mom and children a break from everyday events and hardships from their loss.
One wife was asked, “What do you remember the service doing to help you during this life changing event”. Her response was “Everything is a big blur. I remember when it was time to put him to rest, the military service had taken care of all necessary and critical events. They provided on going assistance and were open to any and all questions”.
You could see how excited the wives and children were about going on this trip by their outburst of laughter, silliness and just plain excitement. From the time they arrived to the time they departed they were addressed with pride, honor and thanks from all other participants on the ride. One child stated, “I like the people thanking me for my dad and what he did.”
We stopped on the way back for something to eat and at the end of the meal, one unrelated participant asked if he could speak to the children and parents. He lost his father, the same way they did. He mentioned that every mother stepped up for the best for their child. He advised, “You can do anything and this is your start point. I am a fighter pilot in the Air Force and got there because of my mother.” As he closed his talk with them, he had them promise to continue and always do the best they can. He then asked for a “high five” and a hug. They charged him and continued with each of these points of appreciation for some time.
It was evident that the wives and children received pride, patient and honor. Please remember this for some day we pray that many like these people will step forth and honor our families for what we have done.
Flo C. Blake
Approximately thirty Veterans and their family members arrived from towns in and surrounding the Rogue Valley. They ranged in age from “offspring of World War I Vets,” to “youthful descendants of currently active military personnel.”
Two familiar faces among those gracing the audience – Navy Vet/NCOA (Non-Commissioned Officer’s Association) member, Oregon St. Rep. Sal Esquivel, and wife Jan.
At 1:30 p.m. on December 10, Rogue Chapter Chairman Terry Haines welcomed the loyal crowd at Medford’s Black Bear Diner. Haines then provided a brief recap highlighting several impressive accomplishments for 2016. “We started the year with 138 members,” he said. “Through dedicated hard work and recruitment efforts, we now have 185.”
He mentioned numerous good deeds the Association has performed in and for the Community. Among these—the summer jet boat ride, and other outings for Gold Star Families. He spoke of generous care package donations from kind readers who responded to an appeal published months ago through the Press.
“We’ve also sent money-saving coupons overseas to extremely grateful service members’ families,” he added. “Bud Cordes and I staffed a booth at the Veterans Day Parade. I also got to ride in a 2016 Navy Blue Corvette that day.”
“I had opportunity to see the largest flag in Oregon (40’ by 60’) being raised in Grants Pass,” Haines continued.
“On our website www.ncoarogue.org you can view a video of raising that flag, plus an interesting background story of “The Star Spangled Banner,” added NCOA’s Webmaster, David Haines (Chairman Terry’s brother.)
Terry Haines praised NCOA members Al Mullis, Don Skinner, Bud Cordes, and Jack Schock who worked a dozen years building the Vet’s Park in Medford.
One of many impending projects involves bringing a replica of the Vietnam War Memorial to US Cellular Park. “It’s 80% the size of the original one,” David Haines said.
Following lunch, a 50-50 fundraiser yielded $63 for the winner, Central Point resident Paula Vincent. She instantly donated half her prize money to NCOA’s treasury.
Rep. Esquivel expressed dismay over what occurred in Salem following successful passage of Measure 96 last month. “The voters approved setting aside 1.5% of Oregon Lottery revenues for Veterans’ needs. Then (a high-ranking Oregon politician) proposed cutting the State’s Veterans’ budget by a similar percent, so we don’t get any increased help at all.”
“This was reported in ‘The Oregonian,’” noted Jan Esquivel.
“Voters have rights to inform their elected officials about constituents’ thoughts (in regard to vetoing these injustices.) “Sal Esquivel then commented. “The person who suggested those Veterans’ cuts had first approved pay increases for State Administrators despite deep budget deficits.”
Toward meeting’s end, Alice Thomsen, Sr. Vice CDR, Service Officer of Jackson County Disabled Veterans #8, stated she seeks to establish a new DAV Auxiliary. “It’s to encourage Veterans’ help agencies to work together,” she said. Thomsen believes when like-minded persons join forces, with greater numbers they’ll more likely accomplish mutual goals.
As we are ready to close out the year 2016, there are many things to be thankful for. This will be year number 1 of my retirement from the work force and I can tell you that I have been as busy as if I were still working, but I am doing the things I enjoy now, so don’t dread retirement, look forward to it.
I have travelled to Washington DC to act as a guardian on Honor Flight for a World War 2 veteran so that he could visit his WW2 memorial. Our chapter hosted some Gold Star families for an exciting outing which included a Hells Gate dinner cruise, a visit to Wild Life Images and finally a visit to Oregon Caves. For the first time in many years, we participated in the local Veterans Day parade and celebration. I attended the celebration recently where the largest US flag in Oregon was raised over in Grants Pass. It is 40’ by 60’ and the celebration was attended by over 1000 people. Due to the generosity of our local communities, our chapter has been able to ship between 12-20 care packages to our troops overseas to lift their morale. This really came to fruition after my grandson who is an NCOA member and a soldier stationed in South Korea brought up how much some care packages from Indiana meant to he and his fellow soldiers.
We just completed a successful recruiting drive where we brought in about 20 new members and through my efforts working on our membership database another 20 current members that were not affiliated with a chapter agreed to join our chapter. I have been encouraged by many of the members that I have met via email and telephone that want to be kept up to speed on what NCOA is doing. Just today I was informed that NCOA got some face time with the President Elect Trump to voice our concerns over needed changes in the VA and other matters affecting our membership. With the incoming administration we have indications that things that have been on the back burner for the last 8 years may be getting a fresh look. I am optimistic about our future and I hope that you are too!
I wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a Joyous New Year.
Strength in Unity and Leadership By Example
SKCM (SCW) Terry M. Haines, USNR Retired