Military Family Month

November 23, 2010

President Obama has proclaimed November Military Family Month, noting that military family members “serve,” too, and also require community support.

“I call on all Americans to honor military families through private actions and public service for the tremendous contributions they make in support of our service members and our nation,” the President said in his proclamation.

Experts in both the military and civilian sectors found that the U.S. will be facing increasing addiction and mental-health problems among returning veterans of the Iraq and Afghan war. All returning veterans face adjustments, but for some, dealing with traumatic experiences can lead to diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, depression, substance abuse and addiction. These problems not only affect the individual, but can have a profound impact on families and communities.

The Military Helpline is here for military families to use as a free, confidential resource. Not only for dire needs, such as suicide or PTSD, but for assistance in navigating the system so that families can get the benefits and support they’re entitled to.

We are so thankful for the freedoms we enjoy because of the sacrifices of every person who has served – either as a member of the military or of the family that serves as well. Make sure they know assistance is available by spreading the word about this 24/7 service. 888-HLP-4-VET (888) 457-4838 – or on the web at http://www.militaryhelpline.org.

-Tom

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Suicide – A Surviving Son’s Story

October 12, 2010

(Editor’s note: 23 years ago Nick’s father chose to kill himself. That decision has left permanent heartache and trouble for all those left behind. Here is Nick’s story)

When I was almost 3, my father killed himself. Although I have come a long way since then, his loss has been a constant uphill battle that unfortunately will always be part of my life.

When I was younger, I was never really able to deal with my emotions of anger, sadness, and loneliness in a healthy way. I grew up an angry kid; I would get into fights and punch holes in walls and although my mom constantly tried to get me help, I was never able to really deal with the true pain I felt inside. Even to this day I could never truly understand how a father could leave behind three boys, my two half- brothers and me, all of whom were talented, funny, and bright. Besides relying on one another, we all turned to sports as a way of coping and to this day it infuriates me that my dad never once saw me play ball.

Another situation that used to bother me was spending time at my friends’ homes and watching their interactions with their fathers and realizing that this would never be me. One situation that has stayed with me was a time when I was interviewing for application to a private school; during the interview I totally disengaged. On the way home my mother asked what happened and I told her that every kid there had their mother and father to support them and I didn’t feel like I fit in.

I truly never understood how a person could take his own life until I was 15 and all my feelings of anger, frustration, and abandonment resulted in my own attempt at suicide. Fortunately, my mom got me the help I needed and I was able to move on in a positive manner.

Growing up without a father was never easy and there were times in my life that I felt so much pain I couldn’t bear it. This situation has forced me to become an extremely strong person. I’m independent and have worked hard to accomplish goals in my life.

Although I have a great relationship with my mother and brothers, it will never compensate for the pain I have experienced growing up without a dad.

– Nick


Taco Bell & Portland Trailblazers Golf Tournament Benefits Oregon Partnership.

September 23, 2010
#1 NBA draft choice Greg Oden visits OP event

OP President Judy Cushing, Portland Trailblazer Greg Oden, OP Special Events Director Barbara Caplan

How cool is this?

Taco Bell and The Portland Trailblazers teamed up with 179 golfers to raise money for Oregon Partnership’s mission to end substance abuse and suicide. The 9th Annual “Bell-Blazers Classic” was blessed with good weather and nearly-perfect course conditions at The Reserve Vineyards and Golf Club on Tuesday, September 21. A full complement of celebrities joined in to make it a very enjoyable day.

What really stood out for me was the sincerity of the participants.

After most tournaments the golfers scatter, but at the Bell-Blazers Classic they stayed to hear about the drug prevention work of Oregon Partnership. Tom Cook, the head of the Taco Bell Franchise holders association , made an emotional personal endorsement about the importance of what we do to combat the ravages of drugs and alcohol. He challenged the participants to step up and join in that work with their personal donations. Mr. Cook also made a point to emphasize the Military Helpline (www.militaryhelpline.org) and the fact that 20% of our nation’s suicides are veterans.

It was moving to see so many people embrace these efforts with their hearts, minds and wallets.

– Tom


Peter Jacobsen’s Special Round at Oregon Partnership

January 15, 2009

One of Oregon’s most admired celebrities demonstrated his enthusiastic support of Oregon Partnership this week, meeting with OP staff and later speaking to 5th graders at Portland’s Stephenson Elementary School.

Professional golfer Peter Jacobsen has a longtime relationship with Oregon Partnership, having first come into contact with the organization during its early days when he was a parent of young children.

“And now I’m a grandfather!” said Jacobsen, who was accompanied at OP headquarters by his daughter Amy, the mother of a one-year son.

“With alcohol and drug prevention and suicide prevention, we never stop learning and never stop helping others,” remarked Jacobsen during his January visit. “There isn’t anybody who isn’t immune to the problems of drugs and alcohol.  We need to work together, as a partnership, to keep us all on the right road.”

Jacobsen added that “like every family,” his had issues with alcohol and drugs.  “If you’re ever uncomfortable about speaking up (about alcohol and drug abuse), just think about the ramifications if you don’t speak up – in their lives and in your life as well.”

Jacobsen is recuperating from a shoulder injury before heading back onto the Champions Golf Tour.  While currently living in Bonita Springs, Florida, Jacobsen still considers Oregon home and comes back often for business and pleasure.

During his visit to the 5th grade classroom at Stephenson, Jacobsen spoke about goals, asking students about what they wanted to do when they grew up.  Jacobsen added that combating peer pressure is a lifelong skill:  Choosing between right and wrong follows them their whole life.

“We all want to do things in our lives that are impactful,” said Jacobson. “In our own way, just helping somebody else within our lives – within our circle – is the most important thing.

Jacobsen is recognized as one of golf’s greatest ambassadors. He won seven times on the PGA TOUR and two major championships on the Champions Tour. He joined an exclusive club with Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus as the only players to win two majors to start their over 50 career. Among his many accomplishments, Jacobsen has hosted his own shows on the GOLF Channel, Peter Jacobsen Plugged In and Peter and Friends.


The OP CADCA Experience

February 22, 2007

We’re back in the friendly confines of the OP office in balmy Portland, having weathered the snow and ice of Washington D.C. and site of the annual CADCA (Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America) conference. Three thousand people converged on the sprawling Washington Convention Center for five days of workshops, confabs, and speeches by leaders in the field.  And would you believe it?  Those three thousand are all into drug prevention at the community level, just like we are.

This was my first trip to CADCA, and I made two major observations:

1. The sweltering DC Convention Center could save enough energy to heat a small state if it turned down its thermostat.
2. We’re going to hear a whole lot more in the coming months and years about the science of drug and alcohol prevention.  Yeah, it’s about the brain.

Nobody knows that more than NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) and those folks appear to be on a roll, telling us that in the next decade, there’s going to be huge (as in measurable) progress in tackling addictions, combining treatment medications and behavior therapy.

Oregon Partnership is big on the brain too, knowing that in the crusade on underage drinking, teaching kids about the effects of alcohol on the brain and on their bodies is a preventive tool that gets results.