White House recognizes Army in Oregon

Portland Harbor Light program given prestigious award.

by Joy Wilson – 

An intake counselor (r) works with a client at Portland Harbor Light.

The Salvation Army Portland Harbor Light, led by Lt. Ron Owens, was recently awarded the Champions of Compassion Award by the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives for the work of the center’s VETS program (Veterans Emergency and Transitional Shelter).

The Harbor Light received the award because “it is considered a Class A transition house and program for veterans,” said Steve Dillard of the White House Office of FBCI.

Greg Joseph, a case manager at the Portland Harbor Light, accepted the award—presented at the White House Conference on Faith-Based and Community Initiatives in Seattle, Wash.—before an audience of White House officials and over 1,000 community and national faith-based representatives.

Accompanying Joseph was James Meiser, a former client of Harbor Light, who read a letter he had previously written to Harbor Light. In it, Meiser, a military veteran, expressed his gratitude for the Portland Harbor Light’s help after he was released from prison, homeless, and trying to break free of drug addiction. Meiser credits the program for his recovery and current success.

Owens said, “The Salvation Army has a long history of caring for our military veterans and we are honored to serve them.”

In 2006, the Portland Harbor Light served 321 veterans. The VETS program offers veterans a place to stay and access to social services that provide stability, case management and support.

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