The Douglas County Veterans Day Parade Committee is busy preparing for this year’s parade. The grand marshals this year are Aviation and Support, from all branches of the armed forces, those in the air and those on the ground. The committee recognizes this is probably a lot of folks and would like to start getting a count sooner rather than later. If you were a member of the armed forces, involved in aviation or aviation support, and would like to ride the trolley or a special ride in the parade, please send me an email.

In the meantime, the committee is busy creating posters, pulling together the application form, arranging for judges and volunteers and everything else that goes into making it the best Veterans Day parade in Oregon.

What can you do? Participate. Get together with your friends or coworkers and make a float. You’ve got just over five months.

The Roseburg VA Medical Center is in need of hospice volunteers. The VA classifies hospice as “comfort care provided to you and your family if you have a terminal condition, with less than 6 months to live, and are no longer seeking treatment other than palliative care. Hospice Care can be provided at home, in an outpatient clinic or in an inpatient setting.

Hospice Care provides services that relieve suffering and help control symptoms in a way that respects your personal, cultural and religious beliefs and practices. It provides bereavement support to your family. You and your family meet with a care team to develop a plan of care together that meets your medical, social, spiritual and psychological needs.

One hospice volunteer described volunteering as “nothing short of life-altering,” and after he had the honor of being with a veteran during the last few hours of his life, he “had one of those moments when it feels like the sky is bigger than it normally is and the sun is shining a little bit brighter.”

There are a few requirements to be a hospice volunteer. Complete four mandatory classes, currently scheduled for September. Have generally good physical, mental and emotional health. Have your own transportation to and from the VA. Be able to maintain confidentiality at all times. Not be currently grieving over a family loss in the last 12 months. Finally, complete some forms and an interview.

Interested? Contact the Roseburg VA Volunteer Services at 541-440-1000, ext. 40238. It truly is the last thing you could do for a veteran.

The VA Chaplains Quarterly Remembrance Ceremony will be held Thursday, July 19, at noon, in the Auditorium in Building 16 on the Roseburg VA Campus. The ceremony honors veterans who have recently passed and is a blessing for all who attend.

No RSVP is required and the ceremony is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Chaplains Services at 541-440-1000, ext. 44723.

A Veterans Death Benefit Seminar will be held 2 p.m. July 25 at the Roseburg National Cemetery on the Roseburg VA Campus. Topics covered include end of life planning, funeral services, locations for remains, death benefits, burial processes, funeral home details, hospice and more. This will be the last seminar of the year, so be sure to attend.

God bless our veterans and God bless America.

Do you have information of interest to Douglas County veterans? Contact John McDonald at jd.mcdonald.jd@gmail.com or 541-580-6178. He is a combat veteran with more than 18 years of military service and serves in the Oregon National Guard. He is also a member of the Douglas County Veterans Forum, the Douglas County Veterans Advisory Committee, the Patrick W. Kelley VFW Post 2468 and the Earle B. Stewart American Legion Post 16.

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