Veterans voice: A proud place: Veterans 'Walk of Honor'

February 11, 2012

In October 2000, "Bud" Collins suggested to Linda Adams that a scattered ashes memorial be established for the purpose of honoring veterans who were buried out of this country, cremated remains that were scattered at sea, favorite hunting grounds, fishing holes, backyards or on favorite mountains.

History tells us that there is a memorial located at Idlewilde Cemetery, 980 Tucker Road in Hood River, for this purpose, but the deceased are not specifically identified as veterans.

Linda presented the idea to Brian Johnson, caretaker of the cemetery at that time. He took the request to the board of directors and the request was granted.

It was decided that the memorial would be located at the sidewalk leading to the Veteran Statue, a location where the annual Memorial Day Ceremony takes place. Roger Schock, a local businessman (and later county commission president), volunteered to place the markers at the location. Linda contacted family members to obtain permission to request memorial markers from the Veterans Administration.

Bud Collins referred to our project as the "Walk of Honor"; thus the name was established. Dedication of this memorial took place May 28, 2001. Bud passed away Feb. 4, 2010. He was instrumental in creating this Walk of Honor.

It surprises many Americans to learn that every day, 1,800 veterans die. That's more than 680,000 veterans every year -or 25 percent of all the people who die in the country annually. At this rate, what do we do when we run out of space to place memorial markers?

In 2010, Roy Gaylord, retired land surveyor, designed the renovation of the Walk of Honor, taking place now at the cemetery and will be completed soon with the cooperation of Mother Nature. All of the existing veterans' plaques were removed, refinished and put in place.

This is the history of the Walk of Honor, and each year, with heavy hearts, we continue to add veterans' memorial markers to this memorial. To date, 98 veterans' markers have been placed on the Walk of Honor.

Any family who has a veteran with an honorable discharge can get a headstone and/or plaque at or after the time of death. Contact Bob Huskey, sexton of Idlewilde Cemetery, at 541-386-2599 for verification of eligibility and arrangements.

Burial and Memorial Benefits: Veterans discharged from active duty under conditions other than dishonorable and service members who die while on active duty, active duty for training or inactive duty training, and active duty service members may be eligible for VA burial and memorial benefits.

Veterans, active duty service members and retired Reservists and National Guard service members are eligible for an inscribed headstone or marker for their grave at any cemetery -national, state veterans or private. VA will deliver a headstone or marker at no cost, anywhere in the world.

For eligible veterans whose deaths occurred on or after Nov. 1, 1990, VA may provide a government headstone or marker only if they are buried in a national or state veterans cemetery.

Flat markers are available in bronze, graphite or marble. Upright headstones come in granite or marble. Headstones and markers previously provided by the government may be replaced at the government's expense if badly deteriorated, illegible, vandalized or stolen. All installation fees are the responsibility of the applicant.

There have been more than 60 applications received for the position of Veterans Service Officer for Hood River/Wasco counties. Those are being reviewed and interviews have been scheduled.

In the meantime, Linda Adams will be in the Veterans Service Office in Hood River at 601 State St., 541-386-1080, on Tuesdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The office will be open on Wednesdays also, with a volunteer to make appointments, referrals and answer questions.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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