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Deschutes County Honors Longtime Veterans Advocate

BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Commissioners presented longtime veterans advocate Dick Tobiason with a special plaque Wednesday, commemorating his almost two decades of work. Tobiason is also a veteran; he's a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel.

During the presentation, Tobiason thanked County Commissioners for their partnership over the last 19 years, starting with his desire to recognize Medal of Honor recipient Bob Maxwell, "We named the bridge over the Deschutes River in south county for him." His Bend Heroes Foundation is behind numerous projects, "We’ve done the Bend Parade of Flags; Bob and I started that. Then the Bend Hero’s Memorial." That memorial is at Brooks Park. 

"Our foundation objective is to honor veterans and first responders. So, every step of the way, you’ve been there. For instance, we did the World War II Highway. At that time, we had a lot of World War II veterans left; we probably had 200-300 World War II veterans in Deschutes County. We only have a handful - I only know of two. Eric and I did the Honor Flight trips, and you donated to that," said Tobiason, "The World War II Veterans Historic Highway, you paid for a couple signs. That’s a long time ago. Those signs are at the point we might have to start replacing." 

And, more recently, the Bend Heroes Foundation built Veterans Village for homeless vets. Commissioner Phil Chang thanked Tobiason for that lasting impact, "The Veterans Village has not just moved 34 folks on to better places, more permanent housing, stable employment and other things; it has provided a template, or example for our community for how we can move folks who are not veterans who are homeless out of homelessness, and provide a pathway and stepping stones for those people." Veterans Village is managed by Central Oregon Veterans Outreach. 


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