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!
Corvallis, Oregon Mayor Biff Traber proclaims March “Veterans Suicide Awareness Month.”
Recognizing the role that two centuries of US militarism have played in creating generation after generation of veterans who fall victim to suicide, Veterans For Peace wants to raise awareness of this underlying cause of over twenty veteran suicides committed every single day in the United States.
We understand suicide is the last remaining means of coping with the violence, horrors, and guilt many veterans internalize while “serving their country.”
The proclamation stated, in part:
“the pervasive culture of militarism in the United States and the ensuing effects on veterans and their families can be partly mitigated through early peace education, nonviolence training, and shifting scarce resources from making war to providing healing and reconciliation programs for the community of veterans; ….”
Mayor Traber read and presented the proclamation to VFP 132 members, Joel Inman and Denis White, at the March 4, 2019 meeting of the Corvallis City Council. Several VFP 132 members along with other veterans and supporters attended the meeting.
Former US Navy member Joel Inman commented while receiving the proclamation, “the danger of battle has not passed when vets return home.”
The original proclamation was originally offered by Eli Smith who has traveled the country, most as a pilgrimage on foot, to heighten awareness about this issue.City counselor Bill Glassmire, also a member of VFP 132, brought the proclamation draft to our attention and helped it reach the mayor’s desk.
If you or a family member is struggling to cope with depression, PTSD, or other precursors to suicide, please get help immediately from your local medical facilities or by calling the suicide prevention hotline, 1-800-273-8255, or by visiting https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ for more information.
Historic Sailboat Project Supports UN Treaty to Ban Nuclear Weapons.
When: Friday, February 1, 7pm – 9pm
Where: First United Methodist Church – Room 219, 1165 NW Monroe Ave, Corvallis
Sailing vessel Golden Rule crew member and Golden Rule Project Ambassador, Zoe Byrd, will show the 25-minute documentary, “Making Waves: Rebirth of the Golden Rule” about four Quaker peace activists, led by Navy veteran Albert Bigelow, who in 1958 tried to sail to the Marshall Islands to stop nuclear bomb tests. The boat sank in 2010 and was rebuilt in Humboldt Bay, California. The Golden Rule, a Project of Veterans For Peace, is now “Sailing for a Nuclear-Free World and a Peaceful, Sustainable Future”.
Making Waves filmmaker, James Seamus Knight, will be attending and will also screen his documentary short, “Holy Week: The Story of the 2016 Sacred Peace Walk.”
VFP Chapter 132 member Dr. Linda Marie Richards, OSU School of History, Philosophy and Religion will also speak.
Byrd, Knight, and Dr. Richards, all participated in the Great Peace March for Global Nuclear Disarmament, a nine and half month walk from LA to DC in 1986. The three will answer questions and discuss nuclear abolition with the audience following the films.
Hosted by Veterans For Peace, Linus Pauling Chapter, Corvallis, the FUMC Make Peace / Faith in Action Team, and the OSU School of History, Philosophy and Religion.
The event is free and the public is welcome. Donations will be gladly accepted for the Golden Rule Project.