1611 Virginia Ave., Ste 212, Box 406, North Bend , Oregon 97459 Hours: M-F 9:30am-4pm sovo4vets@gmail.com 541-756-8718 (Office) 541-756-8758 (Fax)

Memorial Day message from ODVA Acting Director Mitch Sparks

One hundred and fifty years ago, no family or community was untouched by the bloodiest conflict in American history — the Civil War. The four-year-long struggle claimed the lives of over 620,000 soldiers — which is more Americans than died in both World Wars, Korea, and Vietnam combined.
It was on May 5, 1868 that the Grand Army of the Republic, an early veterans advocacy group comprised of Civil War veterans, first urged Americans to observe a “National Memorial Day” to honor the dead of the Civil War.
The tradition has grown in the 150 years that have followed. Today, Memorial Day is a cherished and protected national holiday — especially in Oregon. Every year, hundreds of thousands of Oregonians attend ceremonies, town parades and other solemn events to pause and remember those who have given the ultimate sacrifice — from the Civil War to the most current conflicts in the Middle East.
It is estimated that nearly 6,000 Oregon service members’ lives have been lost in the line of duty since our state’s inception.
However Memorial Day is celebrated in your community, and however different it may appear from the simple ceremonies of a grieving, post-Civil War America, the sentiment remains the same. It is that of a grateful nation to its fallen soldiers: “Thank you. We will never forget you.”
This Memorial Day, as we kick off the start of summer and turn to enjoy Oregon’s incredible parks, beaches, rivers and mountains, we invite all citizens to pause and truly honor our fallen and our Gold Star families. We stand on the shoulders of all those who came before us and will never forget the service and sacrifice of all those who gave all.
Thank you all for your support of Oregon veterans, and bless all those still serving, at home and overseas.
Mitch Sparks is a retired Navy veteran and acting director of the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

New Help for Some Entrepreneurial Veterans

VA is working with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to provide education and support to disabled Veterans interested in self-employment.
VA’s Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) entered into an agreement with the SBA Office of Veterans Business Development in early December to provide self-employment guidance, assistance and on-the-job training to disabled Veterans.
“Our partnership with the Small Business Administration brings together the best of public and private business resources to help disabled Veterans start their business on a firm footing,” said VA’s Acting Secretary Robert Wilkie. “This program is available to Veterans who want to transition to self-employment and want the guidance and mentorship provided by SBA partners to increase their success.”
To qualify for the program, Veterans must meet three conditions: a service-connected disability, an employment handicap and acceptance into the VR&E program.
SBA partners include Service Corps of Retired Executives, Small Business Development Centers, Veterans Business Outreach Centers, Women’s Business Centers and U.S. Export Assistance Centers.
The VA-SBA memorandum of agreement formalizes a working relationship that has been in place for many years. Hundreds of disabled Veterans have worked with SBA partners to establish and build their businesses.
In some cases, training opportunities are available for Veterans to work with existing businesses and gain valuable business skills through the Non-Paid Work Experience program. This program is similar to an internship, and participants receive a monthly VR&E housing allowance.
VR&E assists Veterans with service-connected disabilities to find and maintain suitable employment in meaningful careers. For Veterans with service-connected disabilities that are so severe that they cannot immediately consider work, VR&E provides services to improve their ability to live as independently as possible.
VR&E employs nearly 1,000 professional vocational rehabilitation counselors and delivers services through a network of nearly 350 office locations. For more information on the VR&E programs go to https://www.benefits.va.gov/vocrehab/

VA Healthcare System Town Halls Coming to Brookings and North Bend VA Clinics

Have you got something to say or need more information about VA healthcare?  Are you a veteran, family member or stakeholder?
The Roseburg VA Healthcare system is coming to the coast for two Town Halls. This will be an open dialogue listening forum that will allow the Veterans an opportunity to be heard and have their questions answered. RVAHCS leadership and key staff will be present to assist Veterans with their questions.
The first Town Hall will be held in Brookings on Wednesday, May 16, from 5-7pm at the Brookings VA Clinic, 840 Railroad Street,
Brookings, OR 97415.
The following evening, on Thursday, May 17, from 5-7pm, the Town Hall will be held at the North Bend VA Clinic, 2191 Marion Avenue, North Bend, OR 97459

Seeking Wall Art by Veterans. Put your Art on Display in Coos Bay Library

Coos Bay Library is seeking art created by Veterans to show in the library during June.  The art must be able to be hung on a wall and should be appropriate for all ages.

You may drop off your piece at the library between June 1st and 4th.  The show will run through the end of June.  You may pick up your piece on July 1st or 2nd.

Please put a label with your name address and phone number on the back of your piece so we can return it to you.

Please include a 3×5 card with the title of the piece to hang with it.

For more information contact Sami Pierson at the Coos Bay Library, (541) 269-1101 or Coos County VSO Barye Bluth or Troy May at (541) 396-7590.

New Transportation Assistance Available

The SOVO offers transportation vouchers for veterans.

Now Available: CCAT bus passes and taxi vouchers for Veterans to use for medical and food bank use.

Vet must be 60 YOA or older no disability required

– OR-

Under 60 with a disability that prevents the veteran from walking distances. (Under 60 YOA one time documentation of the disability is required.)

NEW VAN ASSIGNED: The North Bend VA Medical Clinic has a new local employee and van assigned to the Veterans Transportation Service (VTS) to provide transportation to VA and Veterans Choice medical appointments. The van is wheel chair equipped. Disabled veterans are given priority. A minimum of 2 days notice is requested and proof on medical appointment must be presented. Call 541-440-1222 for the VTS to schedule your appointments.

Show off your Ink!

The Coos History Museum is seeking participants for their upcoming exhibit “Vet Ink: Military-Inspired Tattoos,” opening later this year. The museum will be featuring military-inspired tattoos and the stories behind them (when, where, why) as the focus of this unique and personal military exhibit.

Retired military and active duty service men and women from all five branches of the military are encouraged to participate.

Individuals must currently reside on the South Coast of Oregon and selected candidates must be available to be photographed and
interviewed between June 21 through June 29, 2018.

Selected participants, their tattoos, and their stories will be featured in the “Vet Ink: Military-Inspired Tattoos” exhibit on the mezzanine gallery of the museum. Those
entries not chosen for the exhibit will have the opportunity to be featured on the museum website.

To be considered, participants must submit a completed 2-page form, along with a photograph(s) of their tattoo. Submission deadline is May 31, 2018. Click here to download and print your entry form or pick one up at the museum, located at 1210 North Front Street in Coos Bay, or on the museum website. 

Lost WWII Soldier is Found. Will be Laid to Rest April 7 in Salem

USMC Pfc. Lyle E. Charpilloz from Silverton, OR died November 20, 1943. He will finally be laid to rest April 7, 2018 in Salem.

This Saturday the state of Oregon will have the opportunity to lay to rest one of its native sons, an Oregon veteran thought lost since World War II.

Marine Corps Pfc. Lyle Ellis Charpilloz (shar-pill-oze) was born in Silverton and grew up on a farm in Silverton that is still owned by his family today.

PFC Lyle E. Charpilloz was just 15 years old when he joined the Marines in 1941, and just 17 when he died on November 20, 1943 during the first wave of the battle of Tarawa.

Lyle earned a Purple Heart, the American Campaign Medal, the World War II Victory Medal and a Combat Action Ribbon.

In November 1943, Charpilloz was assigned to Company F, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, which landed against stiff Japanese resistance in an attempt to secure the small island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll.

Over several days of intense fighting at Tarawa, approximately 1,000 Marines and Sailors were killed and more than 2,000 were wounded. Charpilloz died on the first day of the battle, Nov. 20, 1943. His remains were never returned to the family, who believed he had been lost forever.

Last December, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced that Charpilloz’s remains had been positively identified through DNA matching with his one surviving sibling, a sister.

Lyle E. Charpilloz will be honored during a funeral service at 2 p.m. April 7 at Grace Baptist Church, 4197 State St. in Salem. A procession will follow to the cemetery at Belcrest Memorial Park, 1295 Browning Ave. S., where he will be laid to rest — almost 75 years after his death.

The service is open to the public. ODVA has spoken with the family of Pfc. Charpilloz, and they would be touched if the veteran community were there in support.

Volunteers Needed for Vietnam Traveling Wall

Volunteers are needed to help with the Vietnam Traveling Wall – Celebration of Freedom. Coos County Veteran Services will be hosting the exhibit. The wall will be located at Sturdevant Park, Coquille from September 13-16, 2018.  For more information, please call 541-396-7590 or email Coosvets@co.coos.or.us.

Applications Opening Soon for 2018 National Veterans Golden Age Games

Albuquerque, New Mexico, event kicks off Aug. 3

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will begin accepting applications on April 2 from Veterans interested in competing in the 2018 National Veterans Golden Age Games in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Aug. 3-8.

Veterans ages 55 and older who are eligible for VA health care benefits may complete applications online through May 2 at www.veteransgoldenagegames.va.gov.

“The Golden Age Games empower our nation’s senior Veterans to lead active, healthy lives,” said VA Secretary David Shulkin. “After more than a week of competition, many participants have boasted of an overall improvement to their quality of life and a rejuvenation to stay active and fit.”

Nearly 800 athletes are expected to compete in the national multi-sport competition for senior Veterans. The event encourages participants to make physical activity a central part of their lives, and supports VA’s comprehensive recreation and rehabilitation therapy programs.

Competitive events include air rifle, badminton, basketball, boccia, bowling, cycling, blind disc golf, golf, horseshoes, nine ball, pickleball, powerwalk, shuffleboard, swimming, table tennis and track and field. Exhibition events include air pistol, archery and floorball.

The games encourage participants to continue in local senior events in their home communities, and every other year serve as a qualifying event for competition in the National Senior Games. The New Mexico VA Health Care System, which provides care for more than 59,000 Veterans throughout New Mexico and Southern Colorado, will host this year’s games.

For more information, visit www.veteransgoldenagegames.va.gov. Follow VA Adaptive Sports on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @Sports4Vets.

VA and U.S. Digital Service Launch New Web Tool to Help Veterans Track their Benefits Appeals

WASHINGTON — Today the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the U.S Digital Service announced their launch of an improved Appeals Status tool to increase transparency and enable Veterans to track the progress of their benefits claims appeals.

“It’s important that our Veterans have the opportunity to track their appeals process in a timely and efficient manner,” said VA Secretary David Shulkin. “For the first time ever, Veterans can see their place on the Board of Veterans’ Appeals’ docket, including the number of appeals that are ahead of them.”

The tool, which went live March 21 on VA’s Vets.gov website, will allow Veterans to access detailed information about the status of their benefits appeals and will include alerts about needed actions, as well as estimates of how long each step of the process takes.

Some Veterans who have previewed the new tool said it had given them hope and helped them understand that the process might take longer than expected.