About 100 veterans and other well-wishers turned out to the Roseburg National Cemetery Annex on Monday to mourn the passing and celebrate the life of a woman who has been described as a pillar of the veteran community.
Dodie Blessing was a past president and founding member of the Douglas County Veterans Forum, and helped organize a number of local veterans groups and events. She had served in the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps and later became a nurse and women veterans’ coordinator at the Roseburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
Dodie Blessing was a leader in the local veteran community and a retired Roseburg Veterans A…
In 2016, she received the Oregon Woman Veteran of the Year award.
On Monday, she received a military memorial, with an eight bells ceremony, a three gun salute, Taps, and a bagpipe rendition of Amazing Grace. A flag was presented to her surviving family members.
Navy Chaplain Jim Little, also a past Douglas County Veterans Forum president, officiated at the memorial. He quoted from Micah 6:8.
“What does God require of a man or a woman, but to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly before God,” Little said. “In my mind and heart, this is Dodie.”
Blessing treated veterans justly, and was a founder of the local American Women Veterans Association chapter, recognized for their red coats, he said.
“If we had any kind of event going on, I was so pleased to say, ‘Here come the redcoats,’” Little said.
Little said Blessing was a mainstay, organizing the Veterans Day Parade for 12 years.
“I used to tease Dodie that she did it when we had covered wagons,” he said.
Many groups depended on her, he said.
She demonstrated her mercy by treating wounded soldiers and veterans as a nurse, and by starting Douglas County Cancer Services, he said. The organization offers wigs, prosthetics, travel expenses and other needs for cancer patients.
“Countless people have a better life because of her. It was always Dodie who encouraged others to take the high road, to help others as the Bible says,” he said.
She did all that humbly, never seeking recognition despite having every right to “brag to the heavens” about her accomplishments, he said. And she did it all with a smile everyone will miss.
Jackie Sartain, director of the District 12 Honor Guard from Roseburg VFW Post No. 2468, said when Blessing heard the call of her country, she answered. He said she was a selfless defender of her country and her flag.
Mike Eakin, past commander of VFW Post No. 2468, said Blessing’s passing was a reminder of the frailty of human life.
“Our fellow veteran is in the hands of our Heavenly Father, and God giveth his beloved sleep. She will be laid to rest, but let us cherish her virtues and learn to imitate them,” he said.