While Oregon is one of the few states without an active military base, it is estimated that there are nearly 78,000 military and veteran family members statewide. With no central concentration of military or veteran residents, it can be difficult to identify vital issues and gaps in services available to this select group of people.
The Governor’s Task Force on Oregon Military Families is changing that by gathering this needed information with an anonymous online survey. National Guard Family Program Director and Task Force member, Michele Kochosky, said the information and data collected through this survey is vital and will provide on-the-ground, real-time feedback regarding all issues that impact the quality of life for Oregon’s military families.
“Everyone has ideas and opinions about how to improve things, but nobody knows better than the military families and veterans themselves,” she said. “The survey results will be used to make the best recommendations to communities, the legislature and organizations that assist military and veterans.”
Zack Gallinger-Long, whose brother Riley died in Afghanistan in 2011 by sniper fire while on patrol with the Marines, chairs the task force. He knows first-hand the needs of military families before, during and after a deployment, and in particular following the loss of a loved one on the front lines.
“Military families are the core of a service member’s life. They need special care, whether their loved ones are serving far away from home, are returning home, or at almost any time. Knowing what their needs and concerns are allows our program volunteers and staff to better assist and support these families and military members,” he said.
The task force was established by the Oregon Legislature to identify, improve and expand services between the military and civilian communities. It’s comprised of military family members, veterans and services members representing all military branches and eras of service. By educating the community at large about military family needs, developing viable programs, identifying, reviewing and proposing federal, state and community based initiatives, the task force is better able to provide resources to assist these families.
“Whether it’s one idea or many, we encourage anyone connected to the military to participate in the survey. It’s easy to access and completely anonymous,” Kochosky said. “We can only serve our family’s needs better if we know their concerns.”
The survey is open to all military members, their dependents, and other family members. Click on the link above to take the survey now.