BEND, OR -- Highway 20 was designation a Medal of Honor Highway by the 2017 State Legislature. At the same time, lawmakers also approved the designation of 12 cities as Medal of Honor communities, for their connection to 26 Medal of Honor recipients. Bend will be the first to receive its plaque noting the designation, during Wednesday night's City Council meeting. Bend resident Robert Maxwell, the nation’s oldest living recipient, is scheduled to attend the presentation, if his health allows.
Bend Heroes Foundation Chair Dick Tobiason helped get the legislation passed. He says only 3,500 people have earned the Medal of Honor since the Civil War. "Medal of Honor recipients don't think about going out to earn the Medal of Honor. Something happens and they all of a sudden react. I've often wondered how many lives have been saved by these 3,500 Medal of Honor recipients?" Tobiason tells KBND News, "Of course, with Bob Maxwell being the only [Oregon] Medal of Honor recipient living, we wanted to present the Bend Medal of Honor city plaque to Bend, first." He adds, "It's a big distinction for Bend to be home to our nation's oldest living Medal of honor recipient, as well as being the first city designated a Medal of Honor city."
Tobiason says the Oregon Department of Transportation has installed signs along Highway 20, "That highway passes through Bend; and we've raised some money to pay ODOT to put in 12 Medal of Honor highway signs between Newport and Idaho. There are four signs near Bend: two east of Bend and two west of Bend."