Oregon Partnership received a major show of support during a visit to the OP Crisis Lines Center this month from Brigadier General Mike Caldwell of the Oregon Military Department, Oregon National Guard Reintegration Team Director, Col (Ret.) Scott McCrae, and U.S. Senator Ron Wyden.
Sen. Wyden assured OP board and staff members in attendance that he would be pushing for funding in a Senate appropriations bill that would allow OP to provide assistance for more veterans and returning soldiers. Wyden said he considers OP’s LifeLine work with military men and women a “model project” when the need is severe and Oregonians are under such economic stress.
Judy Cushing, OP Board member Lon Getlin, Development Director Peter Jurney, Crisis Lines Director Leslie Storm, and Crisis Lines Assistant Director Deborah Zwetchkenbaum offered solid information and compelling examples of calls for help to OP’s suicide prevention line from an increasing number of Oregonians returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan.
The presentations were received favorably with Caldwell, McCrae and Wyden all expressing appreciation for OP’s role in supporting Oregon’s soldiers and their families. Wyden was especially interested in OP’s ability to make follow-up calls to insure that callers receive sufficient assistance in the days and weeks following their first contact with Life Line.
As Gen. Caldwell said, “Even if peace broke out around the world today, we would still have to take care of the 3,000 Oregonians who would be returning tomorrow.”
Following the briefing, Wyden, Caldwell and McCrae were given a tour of the crisis lines as part of their first-ever experience at the OP drug prevention offices. And what is now a common occurrence, crisis line calls were coming in.