John McDonald

Happy 100th Birthday Lions Club! Although I normally focus veterans and related groups, many veterans love being Lions. You may know the Lions Club as the group that helps people with vision and hearing. But did you know that it was Helen Keller who inspired them? At the Lions Club convention in 1925, Keller challenged the Lions to become “knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness,” and they’ve been doing it ever since.

In recognition of their centennial, the Lions Club is waiving entrance fees for all new members until June 10. Interested in joining? My contact information is below.

Volunteer drivers are needed. The Roseubrg VA is putting out the call for volunteers to drive veterans to VA medical appointments in Roseburg and Portland. To be a volunteer driver you must have a valid driver license, proof of insurance, pass a driver physical, and attend driver safety training. Anyone interested in volunteering should contact Andrea Bernhardt at 541-440-1293 or andrea.bernhardt@va.gov.

The “From Soldiers Home to Arts Center” centennial celebration will kick off soon. A few columns back I promised more information about the centennial celebration events at the Umpqua Valley Arts Center on Harvard Avenue in Roseburg. The events will not only showcase their amazing facility, but also pay tribute to its rich history.

The events kick off with an Honor Walk, Saturday, June 24, at 8:45 a.m. The mile-and-a-half walk will begin at the Armory in downtown Roseburg and end at the Roseburg National Cemetery next to Fir Grove Park. The walk replicates a tradition from the past, typically held on Memorial Day, when veterans gathered to honor those who served our country. The Honor Walk will be free and open to the public.

A Music and Barbeque event will be held Friday, July 29, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. This event features Roseburg’s Stephanie Newman performing “Music Through the Decades”, along with food popular a century ago. Tickets will be available soon, and will cost $35 per person for Arts Association members, and $40 for non-members.

Two Special Exhibits will continue the centennial celebrations. The exhibits will open Friday, Nov. 3, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., and will run through Saturday, Dec. 23. In the Hallie Brown Ford Gallery, a curated exhibit of art by veterans will be on display. In the Corridor Gallery will be a photographic history of the building and grounds. Galleries will be open to the public Tuesdays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

A Holiday Home Tour will wrap up the centennial celebrations. On Sunday, Dec. 10, from 1 to 5 p.m., century-old homes, each uniquely displaying decorations celebrating the Christmas season, will be on display. A $15 ticket price will provide admission to three homes.

For those interested in the seeing more of the building, special tours featuring its history and architecture will be held from June 23 through Dec. 23. The tours will explain the transition from hospital to arts center.

For more information, or to request a special tour, contact the Arts Center at 541-672-2532.

God bless our veterans and God bless America.

Do you have information of interest to Douglas County veterans? Contact me at jd.mcdonald.jd@gmail.com or 541-580-6178. I’m a combat veteran with more than 18 years of military service. I serve in the Oregon National Guard. I’m 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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