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Crook County veteran service officers will be staffing a booth at the four-day show

RAMONA MCCALLISTER - Crook County Veteran's Service officers Adam Williams, left and Erik Nelson will be manning a booth at the upcoming Sportsmen's Show at the Deschutes County Fair and Expo Center in Redmond, March 12-15.

Central Oregon's Sportsmen's Show comes to Deschutes County Fair and Expo Center in Redmond the week of March 12-15.

Representing Crook County Veteran's Services, veteran service officers Adam Williams and Erik Nelson will be staffing a booth at the show. They will be available for information, questions or just good conversation.

Nelson said they attended last year's show as well.

"We talked to a lot of veterans," he said.

Band of Brothers and Bi-mart in Prineville are selling tickets now.

"It's something that is really popular in the veteran community, which is the reason we go -- so that we can help serve those veterans that do attend that," Nelson said.

"It's a great opportunity for outreach."

There are several benefits for veterans who are looking to engage in sporting activities like fishing and hunting. In Oregon, there is a special combination hunting and fishing license that veterans can apply for. There are also veteran tags for elk in Oregon and Idaho.

Nelson said that last year, Crook County Veterans Services was the only Veterans Service Office that attended, although many vendors offered veteran discounts, including firearm sales, gun safes, hunting and fishing or outdoor equipment.

"All of these folks generally offer some type of veteran discount. This is a very veteran-friendly event, which is the reason we attend," he pointed out.

In addition to the upcoming Sportsmen Show in Redmond, Williams said there are several events that the Crook County Veteran's Services host or participate in. One of the biggest events of the year is the Veteran's Dinner.

"We have several hundred veterans and their families come in, and it is free to them. We put it on through the Veteran's Services Office and the county," he said.

The dinner is held around Thanksgiving or Christmas, and the Veteran's Services also offer vendors and agency booths to provide information on local services to veterans.

"They can come in and have some good face-to-face contact with them, and also just have a free meal, good time and enjoy things," Williams added.

Nelson and Williams are also members of Central Oregon Veteran's Council, which includes Veterans Service offices from all three counties, as well as nonprofits, for-profits and any groups that deal with veterans issues.

"We get together, we talk about these issues, what we can work on as a group — who can focus on it, and we are in the process of developing committees to help focus on these things," Williams said.

Stable housing and homelessness, education, substance abuse and mental health services are among the issues the group is working on.

Nelson said that they participate in the Crook County Fair, and this year they will also participate in the Deschutes County Fair.

"They are a partner for us," he said.

Every Wednesday from 9 a.m. to noon, Nelson brings his service dog, Lilly, to the Crook County Library for Coffee with VSO.

"We talk with veterans," he said. "It's a great opportunity to get more veterans involved in the community, but more specifically, the library."

"We do a lot of outreach," Nelson concluded.


Central Oregon's Sportsmen's Show

Deschutes County Fair and Expo Center in Redmond, Oregon

March 12-15, 2020

Adam Williams and Erik Nelson will be attending all four days, with a booth set up at the fair. Look for the Crook County Veteran's Services Banner.

Veterans can get an all-day military pass for $12 or a daily pass for $7.

Hours of the show: Thursday-Friday: Noon-8 p.m.

Saturday: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Sunday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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