Wallowa County veterans were treated to tacos and conversations at the Veteran’s Appreciation Fair, April 17. Held at the local VFW Post 4307, the event introduced attendees to physical and mental health resources available through the Wallowa Valley Center for Wellness, Winding Waters Clinic, Building Healthy Families, the Mountain View Medical Clinic, Wallowa County Veteran Service Office and other local providers of health care and employment services.

“Wallowa County has a high percentage of men and women veterans,” said event organizer Quinn Berry, of the Center for Wellness. “We want to help them all heal, but especially want to reach out to veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (Iraq).”

Several veterans spoke to the audience about how local providers had helped them. “There were things I didn’t even know I was dealing with,” said Tyrell Lowe of Wallowa, who served as a combat engineer. “The Center for Wellness worked with me on emotional and mental challenges. It was really helpful.”

Other vets attested to the help available for family members as well as the veterans themselves. “When it comes to spouses and children, they can go through as much hell as the veteran,” Iraq veteran Cathy Cleary said. “It’s not just the veteran. Sometimes it’s their family that needs help. When my deployment started, theirs did too.” Cleary credited the Center for Wellness and other providers with helping her cope with difficult times. “I need a human hand to hold and a person to talk with about my problems,” she said. “They are always there for me.”

“We are all here to help the whole family,” Berry said, waving at the representatives of the gathered providers. “Veterans don’t always seek health care as much as others do. We want to help provide healthy, happy, full lives for them and their families.”

For more information about emotional, mental, and physical health care for veterans and their families, contact Quinn Berry 541-426-4524 or Ted Thorne 541-426-0539.

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