Quite a busy time of year upon us now with all the traditional celebrations and of course the inevitable change in time losing another hour in our busy schedules.

There are several veteran events this fall and here I have listed a few of them. This year the Veterans Day Parade is on Nov. 2 starting at 1 p.m. proceeding down 4th Ave from Albertsons to Oregon Street. Then on Nov. 4 you are welcome to attend and meet the several Veteran Owners of businesses here in the Western Treasure Valley, this event at the Veteran Advocates of Ore-Ida (VAOI) starts with the Greater Ontario Area Chamber of Commerce Lunch at noon and celebrates the activities of National Veterans Small Business Week.

On Veterans Day, Nov. 11, there are several events. From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Veteran Advocates of Ore-Ida there will be a Potluck Lunch put on by our wonderful volunteers and supporters. Then on Nov. 13 at VAOI there will be a special celebration for Jerry Haines, the recipient of the National Hospice volunteer award, from 1 to 3 p.m.

On Veterans Day at the Reel Theatre in Ontario at 7 p.m. there will be a special screening of the film “HOMEMADE” dealing with a Marines’ civilian life navigating the PTSD, TBI and addiction problems and its affect with his marriage, family and work. There will also be a panel discussion immediately following the screening. If you live closer to Caldwell there will also be a special screening of the same movie at the Caldwell Luxe Reel Theatre at 7 p.m.

On Nov. 11, various Ceremonies at your local cemeteries will honor our local veterans. Check with your local VFW, American Legion, DAV, AMVETS, PVA, Vietnam Veterans of America, IAVA, Military Order of the Purple Heart, MOAA, for scheduled times at the cemeteries.

Recently, we have been having a larger amount of veterans coming in to inquire about benefits. A discussion came up at the morning coffee table about just how many veterans are there in the good old US of A. We were all thinking it was around 12 to 15 million veterans. Well after some inquiries and googling we discovered that there is a National Center for Veteran statistics that places the veteran population in the U.S. now at about 20.5 million. Several reasons as to just why that is an astounding important revelation, because that figure indicates that there are about 50% of our present veteran population that are not affiliated with services rendered by the VA. The VA says they are now serving 9 million veterans, so doing the math there are about 10 to 11 million veterans not taking advantage of services, in one way or another, that they have earned by serving our country. One of the take-aways from these figures is that there is no VA support available for close to 50% of our U.S. veteran population. The ability to understand the needs and visions and mission of a population that you only hear from half of them is certainly suspect.

So just how do we go about engaging the majority of our military veterans, that we may then have a greater understanding of their and their spouses and families needs in order to produce for and with them life changes that are positive and lasting. When you think about it, the incredible diversity that is represented by our country’s military personnel transitioning to civilian life, brings to our communities a treasure chest full of seasoned professionals in any field of endeavor and productivity. This wealth of human resource certainly has the ability to set forth not only common goals but sustainable economic growth for them and our communities, our States and our Country. I am hopeful that within the next few decades these actions for our veterans and future veterans can be achieved. Please ponder the time frame of my last statement.

“A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent.” Douglas MacArthur, 1880 – 1964; Five Star General of the Army; Medal of Honor recipient; 3 Distinguished Service Crosses; 7 Silver Stars; Bronze Star; 2 Purple Hearts.

Ronald Verini is a local veterans advocate who writes a weekly column for The Argus Observer. He can be contacted at (541) 889-1978, help@veteranadvocates.org or 180 W. Idaho Ave., Ontario, OR 97914. The views and opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily represent those of The Argus Observer.

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