One of our VFP chapter members, Dennis Stillwaggon, shared some thoughts on serving the community and with Veterans For Peace. For example, Dennis has worked for many years on restoring and maintaining the historic Whiteside Theater in Corvallis, an amazing venue for community events.
Which branch of the military did you serve in, and what was your job? When was that?
Navy, Electrician’s Mate (Reactor), 1972-1974.
Did you live in Corvallis before you went into the Navy?
I visited a few times – my grandmother was a Housemother at OSU and I stayed with her as a child sometimes. My Dad was Navy so we traveled all around. I arrived here in 1976 to go to school. I wanted to study alternative energy.
Can you think of a way that your status as a veteran affects the way you think about being a neighbor?
It’s part of my public service motives, it’s why I volunteer for various community organizations. There’s a sense of duty that you carry with you no matter where you serve or what you do as a civilian.
Are there ways that your neighbors treat you differently when they know you’re a veteran?
Some people attach their patriotic feelings to you because you give a tangible character to them. Some people – very few – are disdainful. Mostly people are appreciative of public service, much as with my relatives who are in the Fire Department. I’ve been present at the peace vigil at the Courthouse – about half the people who stand out there are veterans, and I also work the Veterans for Peace booth at the Benton County Fair. [emphasis added] Sometimes I get negative reactions to that. But I think most people are just appreciative of what you’ve done.
By John M. Burt (Corvallis Advocate reporter)