Congratulations to the Douglas County Veterans Day Parade Committee for another hugely successful parade. And thanks to everyone who walked, drove, rode, flew or otherwise participated. The committee will be taking a break for a few months before planning for the 2018 parade. If you’re interested in helping or planning, please let me know and I’ll put you in touch with the committee chair.

The holiday season is upon us. An opportunity to come together with friends and family, enjoy good company, good food and perhaps share a few presents. It also offers a time to volunteer and make someone else’s holidays a little brighter.

Keeping in that spirit, the American Legion Auxiliary presents the 78th year of the Annual Christmas Gift Shop. The event provides inpatient veterans at the Roseburg VA an opportunity to shop for their loved ones. There will be free gifts for veterans and their families, free gift wrapping and inpatient veterans will have their gifts mailed.

There will be one event for outpatient shopping, and three for inpatient shopping. Outpatient shopping will be held Sunday, Nov. 26, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Inpatient shopping will be held Monday, Nov. 27 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 28 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Wednesday, Nov. 29 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

If you’re interested in volunteering for the event or making a donation, contact Roseburg VA Volunteer Services at 541-440-1000, ext. 45311.

Wreaths Across America will be happening Saturday, Dec. 16, at noon, at the Roseburg National Cemetery on Harvard Avenue. Part of a larger national event, Wreaths Across America spans more than 1,200 locations, all 50 states and beyond.

Their motto of REMEMBER our fallen veterans, HONOR those who serve, TEACH your children the value of freedom, rings particularly true at this event, where headstones are decorated with holiday wreaths.

“We encourage every volunteer who places a wreath on a veteran’s grave to say that veteran’s name aloud and take a moment to thank them for their service to our country. It’s a small act that goes a long way toward keeping the memory of our veterans alive,” explained Karen Worcester, executive director of Wreaths Across America. “We are not here to decorate graves. We’re here to remember not their deaths, but their lives.”

The organizers are looking for donations and volunteers.

For more information, to make a donation, or volunteer, visit www.wreathsacrossamerica.org, or contact local organizer Linda Mooney at 541-679-4205.

Looking to volunteer on a regular basis?

Mercy Medical’s Veterans Visiting Veterans program is in need of volunteer veterans. Volunteer duties include getting the list of recent veteran intakes, stopping by their door to place a magnet honoring their service, setting up a flag in sight of the veteran, and leaving a packet of information. If they’re awake while you’re making your rounds, take time for a short visit.

Interested? Visit www.mercyrose.org/volunteers.html, or contact Michele Kroner by calling Mercy’s Volunteer Office at 541-677-4465.

God bless our veterans and God bless America.

Do you have information of interest to Douglas County veterans? Contact John at jd.mcdonald.jd@gmail.com or 541-580-6178. John McDonald a combat veteran with more than 18 years of military service. He serves in the Oregon National Guard and is 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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