The Corvallis Odd Fellows held their third annual Unsung Heroes dinner September 26, 2019. They honored Veterans For Peace, Linus Pauling Chapter member Linda Richards as the “unsung hero” from our VFP chapter.
Linda has been an associate member of Veterans For Peace and a member of the Corvallis chapter for over seven years. She currently works as a senior history instructor in the Oregon State University School of History, Philosophy, and Religion. She has worked for years in the field of medical history, focusing on nuclear weapons and uranium mining.
Mayor Biff Traber of Corvallis presented the Unsung Hero awards to representatives of several local volunteer groups, including Casa Latinos Unidos de Benton County, Heartland Humane Society, Dial-a-Bus, and Meals On Wheels.
In presenting the award to Linda, Mayor Traber noted:
This award could not be more timely as she recently lead anti-nuclear activists in the annual “Peace Walk,” facilitated a public forum on nuclear issues, and most significantly, spent many hours in Salem lobbying state legislators to pass Oregon Senate Joint Memorial 5, making Oregon the second state in the country to urge the US Congress to take steps to decrease the threat of nuclear war and to join the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. [More on SJM 5 here.]
Mayor Traber then told the audience he found this information about Linda very interesting:
Something many people don’t know is that Linda played women’s professional tackle football for one season at the age of 44. Now, combine that image with a woman who is nearly obsessed with folding tiny origami paper cranes. Linda can be seen during meetings and at just about any tabling event folding peace cranes in memory of the survivors and victims of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear attacks. These two activities, contrasting the rough and tumble world of tackle football with the delicate art of peace crane folding, highlight Linda’s character. It is one of dauntless energy in pursuit of a more peaceful world but centered in deep personal empathy for all victims of war. These admirable traits, often obscured by her humility, are why we honor her tonight.
We could not agree more.
Many thanks to the Odd Fellows of Corvallis, especially to the event organizers, Cathy Lorenson and Bonnie Tomski.
You might recall that back in February 2019 our chapter hosted a public talk about a Veterans For Peace project supporting the sailing vessel (S/V) Golden Rule.
Here she is sailing up the Willamette River a few years ago during Fleet Week in Portland.
We collected a few donations at the February talk and threw in a few bucks from our VFP chapter treasury to help fund a trip by the vessel to the western Pacific later this year. More about that trip and the anti-nuclear work the ship and her crew are doing here.
We recently got notice that, due to our fundraising efforts, our VFP chapter has been named an honorary plank owner of the Golden Rule. If you’re not familiar with that term, it goes back to the days of wooden sailing ships. More on that here.
From the letter accompanying the certificate:
We are grateful for your support! The Golden Rule has, once again, taken her place on the seas in memory of the heroic crew that set sail in 1958 to stand in opposition of atmospheric nuclear weapons testing and military aggression. The Golden Rule Project carries on that mission as an important advocate of reason, restraint and non-violent resolution of conflict in a world where war, warfare and nuclear proliferation threatens the extinction of all life on our fragile planet.
Thanks to all our donors and chapter members who helped make the February talk happen and helped fund the Project.
From the VFP national Deported Veterans Advocacy Project:
Jose Roberto Segovia Benitez, a U.S. Marine who was honorably discharged, is being held at the I.C.E. Processing Center in Adelanto, California. Jose has been diagnosed with PTSD/Traumatic Brain Injury and is being denied adequate medical treatment and all of his benefits that are awarded to every U.S. veteran for their service.
Jose has lived almost his entire life in the U.S., graduating high school and then serving in Iraq. He is scheduled to be deported back to El Salvador, a country he has not lived in since he was a toddler.
The ongoing immigration crisis is a disgrace. It is well documented that neither an I.C.E. detainment center nor El Salvador is adequately equipped to provide U.S. veterans healthcare.
Tell your Congressional Representative to release USMC Jose Segovia Benitez immediately from I.C.E. custody so he may be able to access specialized medical care for his PTSD, as he is guaranteed within his veterans benefits for serving in the U.S. military.
Members will be in Washington D.C. in April and will deliver letters with your signatures to Congress!