Situation Report July 2018
Situation Report – Veterans Legacy
July 2, 2018
Time has gotten away from me since the last Sit Rep in April – my apologies! The only excuse I have is a good one – Veterans Legacy has been very busy and there is very good news to report on multiple fronts!
A major development occurred June 15 with Vice-President Dan Buckwald’s retirement after 29 years with the Lane County Sheriff’s Department. All of us at Veterans Legacy congratulate him on a sterling career in law enforcement and a job well done!! That’s great news but the better news is he is now devoting himself full time to working for Veterans Legacy. His many connections in the community at a variety of levels have already resulted in new relationships, e.g. Home Depot, Bring Recycling, etc., that benefit VL. Thanks Dan – we look forward to your leadership expertise on a daily basis!
Speaking of connections, Dan, Clarence Williams, and I met with Michael Thomas in early June. Michael is the University of Oregon Coordinator for Student Veterans. This is a link that we’ve tried for a long time to open up in some fashion and he represents the connection. There are about 400 student Vets at U of O and with the fall semester we will be meeting to put out the word to this group of Vets.
Board Member Clarence Williams arranged for local architect Doug Murkley to meet with the BOD. This was a very lively discussion looking at future development of the Camp Alma property, i.e. putting dreams to paper. Although seeming premature when we’re not even in operation yet, it’s always possible that a donor may want to support a specific project/need and if options are not clearly identified and drawn up we might miss a major opportunity to advance Camp Alma development. Thanks to Doug for getting the ball rolling!
A wonderful synchrony in the architecture category. A friend of Dan’s suggested putting a notice on the University of Oregon student chat room bulletin board. I submitted a request for volunteers for landscape architecture as there are numerous needs in this area. Rebecca Cruze, a 3rd year landscape architecture student answered the call and has thoroughly embraced the VL vision and is enthralled with the property potentials. In fact, she already has clearance to use her development of the Camp Alma property as her thesis for graduation. Her first task is developing what we call the Ceremonial Plaza in front of the Administration Building. This will be formal area for all forms of awards and ceremonies along with flag presentation. She has already met with Doug and by all reports they have coordinated their endeavors very quickly! Thanks for believing in us Rebecca!
Dan Buckwald, Clarence Williams and myself met with Alison Perry, CEO of Central Oregon Veterans Ranch located in Redmond. Their goal is different than ours, specifically end of life care for Veterans in an agricultural setting. There is community farming with Vets coming to the ranch from the surrounding area. Good discussion and we’ll keep the communication going.
The U of O connection has another twist as well. Through our Camp Host Del Hardin, I was introduced to Tim Carroll, a facilities management supervisor. Long story short the topic came up of our need for captain beds for our Vets. He helped me get all of the proper documentation of 501C3 status to the appropriate personnel, which was approved very quickly. Suffice it to say, we now have an option on all the beds we need for a full census of 50 and more if we need them. This is a huge savings to VL. I’ve helped move one to the Camp and they are beautiful maple beds – amazingly heavy. We’ll be planning a Move the Beds from the Dorm Day in July and will need lots of strong individuals to expedite this – dates will be posted as soon as they are available. We are also looking at other donations from U of O – this is a wonderful synergy!
Continued clean up at the Camp has been ongoing but this culminated on 6/23 when we had about 30 volunteers show up and ultimately we logged over 125 hours of volunteer time getting everything mowed, weeded, etc. in preparation for Dignitaries Day. It was extremely successful and allowed us to put our best foot forward on Dignitary Day, 6/28. Thanks to Clarence Williams for providing the barbecue expertise although Dan will be quick to point out it was his barbecue and perhaps that should be taken into account – LOL!
The BOD had planned a Dignitary Day to try and collect many stakeholders in the community together for a tour and meeting at Camp Alma. We were quite fortunate to have Senator James Manning, Sheriff Byron Trapp, Commissioners Pat Farr and Jay Bozeivich, along with representatives from Trillium, Parole and Probation, etc. all in attendance. It was a marvelous morning for a tour, a continental breakfast and table decorations arranged by Dee Boshaw with Jonni Gratton providing logistics support, followed by presentations from members of the BOD with discussion. All agreed a very productive endeavor and opened many possibilities for funding and relationships with other area entities dealing with homeless Vets. Amber Wilmarth with KEZI did a wonderful job of documenting the occasion which was on the news that night!
Tom Adams with KVAL visited Camp Alma for an update since he last saw this a year ago and, as always, did a great job – his segment aired 6/21. Both of these are available on the FB page.
All for now!
John LeBow, President Board of Directors