10 Oregon counties received $50k grants to help veterans

Morrow County and nine other rural Oregon counties will receive $50,000 grants to provide veterans with free access to medical appointments.

Oregon U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, Democrat, announced this is the third year the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs received the federal Veteran Affairs’ Highly Rural Transportation Grant. The state will distribute the $500,000 funding to the following counties: Baker, Gilliam, Grant, Lake, Harney, Malheur, Morrow, Sherman, Wallowa, and Wheeler. The U.S. Census Bureau qualifies the 10 as “highly rural.”

“Veterans in these counties struggle even more than most to access health care, as they must travel long distances to get to their medical appointments,” according to Merkley’s written statement. “This crucial funding would help ensure that our veterans are able to access the medical services they need, as many of the organizations that provide these veterans transportation would not be able to operate without it.”

Last year, the program resulted in 5,453 trips for veterans to medical appointments in the 10 counties, accounting for nearly half of the total trips under the national program.

Veterans living in one of the participating counties can received free transportation to and from all medical appointments, including door-to-door pick-up and drop-off in ADA-compliant vehicles. For more information, contact your local Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs office. You can find the county’s contact information at www.oregondva.com.