Merkley, Wyden, Walden Applaud Senate Passage of Bill to Rename Bend VA Clinic After Decorated WWII Veteran

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, along with Representative Greg Walden, today applauded the Senate passage of a bill introduced by the delegation to rename the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) clinic in Bend after Robert Maxwell, a World War II veteran and Medal of Honor Recipient who lived in Bend.

At the time of Maxwell’s passing, he was the oldest Medal of Honor recipient in the nation and one of four remaining veterans from World War II to be awarded the Medal of Honor. After his courageous service, he worked as a teacher in Bend.

“Throughout Robert Maxwell’s time in uniform during World War II and later as a teacher in Central Oregon, he answered the call to serve and put the needs of others first,” said Merkley, who introduced the bill in the Senate. “Naming Bend’s VA clinic after Mr. Maxwell would be a fitting tribute to his service and commitment to his community, and I’m going to keep working to get this bill across the finish line and signed into law.”

“Robert Maxwell’s World War II heroism for our country and then his service teaching generations of students in central Oregon exemplify the very best of our state,” Wyden said. “I’m glad the Senate has passed this bill to honor Mr. Maxwell, and will keep fighting to complete the task of naming the VA clinic in Bend for this Medal of Honor winner and outstanding teacher.”

 “Bob Maxwell was an American hero, public servant, and friend to all,” said Walden, who introduced the companion legislation in the House. “Renaming the Bend VA Clinic after him will honor his dedication to this nation and serve as a reminder of all he gave to his community in Central Oregon and his lifelong commitment to helping his fellow service members. I am pleased this bill passed the Senate and I urge the House Veteran’s Affairs Committee to quickly move this bill to the floor so that we can get it to President Trump’s desk and it can become law — forever ensuring Bob’s legacy is honored and his heroism is remembered.”

Oregon’s congressional delegation previously wrote to the Chairs and Ranking Members of the Senate and House Veterans Affairs committees in support of the renaming. The City of Bend, American Legion Department of OregonVeterans of Foreign Wars Department of Oregon, and Disabled American Veterans Department of Oregon also advocated for the change.

There are currently six VA medical facilities across the country that are named after Medal of Honor recipients, including Loren R. Kaufman VA Clinic in The Dalles. The next steps for the bill would be for it to pass the U.S. House of Representatives before being signed into law by the President.