Tribal Council approved two veterans programs—the Tribal Veterans Memorial Highway, and the creation of the Warm Springs Warriors Society. The actions came following a presentation by Jody Calica.
Calica and other veterans have proposed designating Highway 26 on the reservation as the Tribal Veterans Memorial Highway. Triba; Council, the BIA regional office and the Warm Springs BIA superintendent, state and federal officials are in favor of the highway designation.
The next step will be the placement of signs along Highway 26, showing the roadway is the Tribal Veterans Memorial Highway. Calica last week requested $5,200 for four signs. Council unanimously approved the request.
Two of the signs will be placed where the Highway 26 enters the reservation, and two signs will be located in intermediary spots along the highway. With support from the BIA, funding is also available through the Federal Highway Administration (the Transportation Equity Act).
Calica was speaking on behalf of the VFW Elliot Palmer Post 4217, American Legion Eugene A. “Cougar” Greene Post 47, and other tribal veterans. The Tribal Veterans Memorial Highway is a way of a showing appreciation for the service, and raise awareness of the many local veterans, Calica said.
Among tribal members, both living and those who have passed on, are more than 70 veterans of the wars in the Middle East; 107 veterans of the Vietnam War; 97 veterans of the Korean War; 114 veterans of World War II; fourteen veterans of World War I; and 97 veterans of Early Oregon Wars.
Many veterans on the reservation do not receive the medical and other benefits they are entitled to, Calica said. A big part of the problem, he said, is the long delay in the process of applying for and receiving the benefits. His own paperwork, Calica said, was lost after being in the VA system for three years. “So I see what a lot of the other veterans are going through,” he said.
Other projects in the planning phase are a Veterans Memorial Wayside to be located along Highway 26, and a memorial on the museum grounds.
The VFW Elliot Palmer Post 4217, Ladies Auxiliary and American Legion meet in the building on Hollywood Boulevard by Shitike Creek. The building needs some improvements, but this would be complicated as it is not clear who is the landlord, the BIA or the tribes, Calica said.
The veterans would also consider moving to a new hall, he said. One suggestion has been the cafeteria building that served the old Warm Springs Elementary School.
Calica also presented a proposal for the formation of the Warm Springs Warriors Society, which Council approved by resolution. The society has tribal, non-profit status.
Membership is open to any tribal member veterans. The society is a less formal organization than the VFW or American Legion, Calica said.
The goal is to help veterans with concerns about benefits, promote goodwill among veterans and their families, participate in local and national activities, parades, memorials, gravestone settings, presentation of colors, among other activities. Membership is free to veterans.
Monthly Warrior Society meetings are held every second Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Veterans Hall, 1191 Hollywood Blvd. (See resolution on page 5.)