The idea of buying a home with no down payment sounds too good to be true.  But such a thing does exist, particularly for veterans under the housing assistance program backed by the federal Department of Veterans Affairs, the VA. 

Statistics show the use of the loan program to buy homes has increased sharply in Oregon over the last five years. 

Veterans United Home Loans tracks the numbers. 

RVTD Facebook page

Veterans Day came and went, but the Go Vets program continues at the Rogue Valley Transportation District.  The name is almost self-explanatory; it's about helping vets find mobility through riding RVTD buses. 

And mobility can lead to so much more... jobs, friends, shopping, and more.  The program includes training for vets in making full use of the system. 

Go Vets recently won an award for the Transportation Options Program of the Year through the Oregon Department of Transportation.

Google Street View

Eight new housing units for veterans are in the works for Klamath Falls, thanks to a grant from the Oregon Department of Housing and Community Services. 

$2 Million will buy and renovate a building on East Main Street, give veterans places to live, and NOT require a money match from the Klamath Housing Authority or Klamath & Lake Community Action Services

Housing for vets is an ongoing issue in Klamath Falls and many towns in the region. 

Trent Spurlock/Oregon Digital

Inspectors from the federal Department of Veterans Affairs are expected in Oregon again this week to pay visits to the VA facilities in Roseburg and Eugene. 

U.S. Representative Peter DeFazio (D-Springfield) asked for inspectors to follow up on complaints about the VA from current and former employees. 

Those complaints focus on what they see as poor-quality care, and retaliation on the people who speak up about it. 

Dr. Scott Russi was a surgeon at the Roseburg VA (Eugene clinic) who says he's been fired (VA will not confirm). 

Dr. Russi visits with an explanation of what he saw and responded to. 

Larry Lamb, CC BY-SA 3.0,

At its most basic level, fishing is trying to grab an animal out of water with a hook. 

But for the people who do it regularly, it's so much more.  Peace, quiet, accomplishment, fulfillment... it can be all that and more. 

For the organization Healing Waters, it's a way for disabled veterans to feel whole again.  A chapter set up at the VA facility in White City takes vets out for fishing and fly-tying.

We focus a great deal of attention in our veterans, in political campaigns like the one just ended, and in non-election years. 

But while service members are deployed, they've got people back home waiting and hoping for a safe return. 

Two military families are profiled in the documentary "While Time Stands Still," by filmmaker Elena Miliaresis. 

She and her film visit Southern Oregon for a few screenings, and a discussion show on Southern Oregon Public TV

In Search Of Oregon Women Vets (And Info)

Jul 18, 2016

  The image conjured by the word "veteran" changes over time, because veterans themselves are changing. 

More women are serving in the armed forces, and once out, they are eligible for the same health services as men.  A major question is: do they use those services? 

The Oregon Department of Veterans' Affairs wants an answer to that question, and invites women vets to take a survey on their use of health services. 

Ron Kovic Continues To Fight For Fellow Vets

Jul 11, 2016

Ron Kovic's name is almost instantly recognizable to several generations of Americans. 

Tom Cruise played Kovic, a wounded Vietnam War veteran, in the Oscar-winning "Born on the Fourth of July." 

Kovic followed the book upon which the movie was based with a prequel just out called Hurricane Street

It tells the story of activism by Kovic and others to get better health care for all vets. 

A Local Focus On Project 22

Feb 3, 2016
Medicinal Missions

More than 100 people commit suicide in the United States every day. 

Of those, an average of 22 are military veterans.  And when you consider what a small percentage of the population veterans make up, the number is staggering. 

Which is why a pair of veterans created the film "Project 22;" to look for ways to divert vets from suicide. 

Our occasional "Local Focus" partnership with Southern Oregon Public TV resumes with a pair of programs on the movie and its makers. 

Helping "Homeward Bound" Vets

Nov 20, 2015
Robert Neff/Fifth World Art

A vast array of services is available to veterans of the military. 

But vets can still find themselves between rocks and hard places, temporarily unable to access those services. 

Homeward Bound Military Family Support Services in the Redding area is set up to provide quick, temporary assistance, from food to school. 

VENTSday: Veteran Treatment + Tax Levies

Nov 10, 2015

By now you've heard plenty of opinions on the treatment of veterans in our country.  Now that Veterans Day and VENTSday coincide, it's your turn... tell us how the country treats veterans, and how it could treat them differently.

Our second topic this week: raising property taxes through levies, and what prompts you to vote yes or no (several areas voted on tax measures in last week's election).

Our VENTSday segment is designed to let the world hear your thoughtful opinions.

We plop a pair of topics on the table--frequently unrelated--and let YOU deliver your passionate (and polite) views on them.

WWII Memories For Veterans Day

Nov 10, 2015
Public Domain

One of the signature events in American history is receding in the rear-view mirror: World War II ended 70 years ago now. 

Two Southern Oregon writers are preserving the memories through a couple of separate projects. 

Ashland writer Lynne Hasselman set out to memorialize all the Ashlanders who died during the war, a much harder task than you might assume. 

She writes a series of stories in the Ashland Daily Tidings about her findings, under the title "We Regret to Inform You."   

Veteran Adjusting To Amputations

Nov 9, 2015
Convergent Books

Army Staff Sergeant Travis Mills promised his wife his third tour of duty in Afghanistan would be his last.  And it was, for all the wrong reasons. 

A bomb exploded, turning Travis into a quadruple amputee. 

Now, with the help of artificial limbs, he walks, runs, dances... and generally lives as normal a life as possible. 

He tells his recovery story with writer Marcus Brotherton in the book Tough As They Come

We welcome SSG Travis Mills to the Exchange. 

Ric Burns On Adding Up Our "Debt Of Honor"

Nov 6, 2015
Steeplechase Films

The country was scandalized not long ago by the news that the medical system at the federal Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) was falling behind in patient care, and falsifying records. 

It was not the first time the country slipped in its commitments to wounded veterans, as pointed out in the documentary film "Debt of Honor."

It premieries Tuesday night (Nov. 10) on PBS, detailing the history of care for disabled veterans in America, and the many times that care has not kept up with needs. 

Director Ric Burns joins us to talk about his project.  


The difficulties of some veterans in returning to civilian life are well-documented. 

What is often missed is the long list of services available for veterans, from government and non-government sources. 

You can put Rogue Valley Veterans and Community Outreach on that second list. 

RVVCO offers programs designed to assist struggling vets in achieving self-sufficiency and independence. 

Executive Director Samantha Brix visits with case managers and clients.   

This is another of several Veteran-related interviews in a joint project between JPR and Southern Oregon Public TV called "Local Focus: Debt of Honor."

Medicinal Missions

The fate of veterans returning home after combat can be downright bleak.  Bleak enough that many commit suicide. 

Doc King and Daniel Egbert, both veterans themselves, fixed on the number 22. 

That's how many veterans commit suicide every day. 

They formed a group called "Medicinal Missions" to address veteran issues, and made a movie called "Project 22." 

The movie shows in White City on November 18th; Daniel and Doc join us to talk about their work.  

This is another of several Veteran-related interviews in a joint project between JPR and Southern Oregon Public TV called "Local Focus: Debt of Honor."

The concerns of disabled veterans and their families take center stage when JPR News and Southern Oregon Public Television team up for Local Focus: Debt of Honor. It’s the first joint project between JPR and Public TV in many a year, and could pave the way for future efforts.

Vets Rehab At VA SORCC

Oct 28, 2015

What was once the U.S. Army's sprawling Camp White during World War II became present-day White City.

And a federal presence remained, at the Veterans Administration Southern Oregon Rehabilitation Center And Clinics, VA SORCC

What kind of rehabilitation?  Quite a variety, it turns out. 

Catastrophic injuries of body and mind are dealt with; VA prosthetics specialist Randy Tegge talks to us. 

Chris Petrone helps wounded vets reintegrate in society, he joins us as well.

This is another of several Veteran-related interviews in a joint project between JPR and Southern Oregon Public TV called Local Focus: Debt of Honor.

DAV Services To Disabled Vets In Oregon

Oct 22, 2015

Military veterans back from service often turn first to the federal Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for many of their needs. 

But plenty of other organizations exist to help vets, including the DAV, Disabled American Vets

DAV exists to help disabled vets on a number of issues, including easing the pursuit of services through the VA. 

Brigitte Marker tells us how the work plays out; she is the Department of Oregon Commander for the DAV.  

What Do We Owe Veterans?

Oct 19, 2015
PBS / Debt of Honor

What does society owe its Veterans? How are Southern Oregon communities responding to the human cost of war? 

Please tell us what you think by completing this brief survey

Everyone's input is valued, and the results will inform collaborative reporting on Jefferson Public Radio and Southern Oregon Public Television