Here are the main concerns our area veterans bring to us:


Where can I go to hang-out with other veterans, that has no dues or strings attached?

Because sometimes I don't feel like I belong or fit in.

I need transportation to VA and Doctor appointments

Can't afford legal help on Benefits and/or Civil matters

Don't have enough money for my rent, utilities and food

Need money for car repairs and gas & oil

My house needs to be repaired and fixed up

I can't find a job

How do I get counseling and addiction help

what can I do about PTSD, and how do I know if my spouse has it

Can't afford to send my spouse and/or kids to college

How can I find someone to visit and check on my disabled veteran spouse and/or relative

I can't find affordable 'in home help and assistance'

As a surviving spouse of a veteran, how do I make arrangements and what are the benefits



Veteran Advocates of Ore-Ida PROGRAMS

Assistance to Veterans & Dependents

Assistance and/or direction for Health & Benefits questions for the veteran and their dependents.

In house Food Bank

Assisting Homeless Vets & Dependents

Resources with Community Partners

Oregon and Idaho Resource connections

No-Interest Financial help with Utilities, Rent and transportation, when funds are available.

VAOI Dependent Scholarship Program

When 'Funds' are available, we assist military dependents with a Financial Scholarship to improve their education and income to assist the Family. This is available only for local area schools.

Youth & Community Education

This program reaches from Day Care through Colleges, from Weblo through Eagle & Girl Scouts, Chambers of Commerce, Civic & Social Groups, by offering 'Hands-On'  Military education on our Constitution & Freedoms, Flag Etiquette and retiring, Community Color Guards, Letter writing to the Troops, and with area schools, a "Living History Day", where vets and active military share their stories and experiences in school classrooms with the students.

Our "USO" Daily Activities

USO type Fellowship daily in our Office, where we have 'coffee/tea etc and Conversation' and all at no dues or cost. Sometimes community members bring in 'home baked' goodies or lunch or snacks, also at no-cost. Some of the vets bring in their guitars or harmonicas and play music and as you can tell, the atmosphere is very comfortable and relaxing! Card games are also bring a lot of Fun and relaxation.

Veteran & Dependent Support

Due to the continuing increase of Vet/Military and Family problems with TBI & PTSD, we are building 'resource & education systems' to channel these situations. We are host to the VA Counseling Vet Van on Tuesdays of every other week, providing valuable assistance for Combat Vets and Family . We are also pleased to have had an intregal role in establishing a Veterans Court for Malheur County, Oregon.

Veteran Visitation Program

Throughout the year we visit our Veterans in area Nursing Homes, Assisted Living Facilities, in the Hospital or even in their Homes (for those who do not get out). On these visits we take along Afghans, slippers, hats, scarves etc, that are made by local folks, and present them to the vets. Of course at Christmas 'Father Christmas' makes an appearance with gifts and Stockings.

Veteran Small Business Management = VSBM

Through our local Treasure Valley Community College and the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) managed by Ms. Andrea Testi, the Veteran Small Business Management Group (VSBM), facilitated by SBDC Advisor Michael Braden, offers Veterans  assistance (at no charge) in either starting a small business or guidance in managing your small business. There is also a 'social' group of Veteran Business Owners that meet on a monthly basis to share updates and information on their ongoing business process. A great program to get involved with.


Links to State Veterans Affairs Offices

Additional Information

Their Veterans Service Officers (VSO’s) are trained and accredited by the US Department of Veterans Affairs to provide free assistance to veterans and their dependents and survivors. This includes not only applying for federal and state benefits but also providing resources related to the following:

  • Compensation and Pension
  • VA Home Loans & Housing
  • Health Care
  • Military Records
  • Education & Training
  • Employment
  • Burial & Survivor
  • Permits
  • Transportation
  • Claims Assistance
  • Veterans’ disability benefits and rights

Read more: https://militarybenefits.info/state-veterans-affairs-office-directory/#ixzz5k2H3QjidYou are here: Home / State Veterans Affairs Offices

State Veterans Affairs Offices

veterans affairs officeState Veterans Affairs offices available by each state. Learn about the state and federal benefits you are entitled to receive and how to claim them. State Veterans Offices help veterans file claims for education, care for your health, find employment, get a veteran home loan, with compensation/pensions and much more.

Read more: https://militarybenefits.info/state-veterans-affairs-office-directory/#ixzz5k2GQpxuZ

Learn More

The National Association of State Veterans Homes (NADSVA) can also be accessed for eligible US veterans

benefits, service and long term health care.  The organization ensures that no veteran is in need or distress and that the level of care and services provided by state veterans
homes meets or exceeds the highest standards available.

Read more: https://militarybenefits.info/state-veterans-affairs-office-directory/#ixzz5k2HoFxDd


The Office of Veterans Advocacy is a full-service bureau that helps veterans, their family members and survivors. As an advocate we aggressively pursue all federal and state benefits and entitlements on their behalf.

Our staff are qualified benefits specialists trained to help veterans and families gain benefits they are entitled to. We provide counseling and referral services to individuals and families, to provide veterans with current, accurate information on the entire range of issues associated with veterans’ benefits and entitlements. This service is available Monday - Friday from 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Messages may be left 24 hours a day. 

The Office is located at 444 Fort Street, Boise, Idaho

Phone = 208-780-1380


Combat Veteran Assistance

The VA Mobile Vet Van Counsels Combat Vets & their Families, they come to our Ontario,Or. location twice a month, to make an appointment call us at 541-889-1978 or call the Vet Van directly at 208-342-3612

National Veteran Service Offices

Every State has a Department of Veteran Affairs, just look up that telephone number for your State and call to ask where in your area or County you can talk to a Veteran Service Officer for any questions you have regarding your benefits. See above MAP for all US VSO's.

Food Bank for Veterans

We maintain a modest 'Food Bank' for our area Veterans which is located at our office at 180 W. Idaho Ave. Ontario, Or, and is open during our business hours M/F 10am thru 3pm.

Important Help Lines

Suicide Prevention-1-800-273-8255

War Vets 24hr Line-1-877-927-8387

Boise VA Center- 208-422-1000

Portland,Or VA- 503-220-8262

Walla Walla, Wa VA- 509-525-5200

Spokane,Wa VA- 509-434-7000

Reno,Nv VA- 775-323-1294

State & National Representatives

Oregon State:

Sen.Cliff Bentz- 503-986-1730

Rep.Lynn Findley- 503-986-1460


Sen. Ron Wyden- 202-224-5244

Sen. Jeff Merkley-202-224-3753

Rep.Greg Walden-202-225-6730

Rep.Peter DeFazio-202-225-6416

Eastern Oregon, Western Idaho

Veteran Service Offices:

Malheur Co.Ore.-541-889-6649

Baker Co.Ore.-541-523-8223

Harney Co.Ore.,541-573-1342

Grant Co.Ore.,541-620-8057

Idaho Veterans Advocate Office:


Oregon Dept. Veteran Affairs:

503-373-2085 or 800-692-9666


House Committee on Veterans' Affairs


Members of this Committee that you can contact with an inquiry or a comment. Use this simple link to make your concern known.

Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs


Contact US Senators on the Veterans' Affairs Committee, about your concerns and comments as a Veteran and a Citizen. This simple link connects you with their website and contact.

Senate Armed Forces Committee


Connect with Committee members about any of your questions regarding the budgets for all our Armed Forces. Just click on the picture and it gets you to their website.

US Dept. of Veteran Affairs (VA)


Here is your link for the VA, just click on the picture and it takes you right there. This web page has all the info on VA Benefits and Services.

Veterans Crisis Line


Click on this image and it brings you right to 'start a confidential live chat', or to start a 'text' conversation or to call for help and info.

US Department of Defense


Click on the picture and get all the latest developments within all the Military Services of our Great Country. Gives you news, photos, videos, and special reports. Good way to keep informed about our Military.

LIVE 24 hr War Vets Call Center

1-877-927-8387 - 1-877-WAR-VETS

This is a 24 hr Live' Confidential' call center for War Vets and their Families.

You can talk about your Military Experience or any other issue that you and your family is facing during your readjustment to civilian life.





What does the Board do?

The Board of Veterans' Appeals (Board) is a part of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), located in Washington, D.C.  The Board’s mission is to conduct hearings and decide appeals properly before the Board in a timely manner.

Board Hearing Status

The Board Appeals Metrics page is now available with additional details. The link is also available in the Resources links to the right.

Affected by a Natural Disaster?

If a Veteran is affected by any natural disaster such as a hurricane, earthquake, or flood, he/she may request that his/her appeal be advanced on the docket. Veterans are strongly encouraged to submit their request in writing, and can include evidence such as newspaper clippings, pictures, FEMA declarations etc., in order to support their request. Requests can be sent directly to the Board’s fax line: 844-678-8979 (Toll Free). Veterans are instructed to include their name, VSO’s name (if applicable), and their claim number. For more information on advancement on the docket, please visit our customer service page.

Who is my Hearing Coordinator?

Here is a list of Hearing Team coordinator points of contact by region. If Veterans, Veteran Service Organizations or Regional Offices have questions about their hearings these are the appropriate people to contact.  For general inquiries, please access Appeals Status on VA.gov (information below) or phone 1-800-827-1000.
Hearing Coordinators 

Learn More

Video overview of the new VA Appeals Modernization Act (AMA): Appeals Modernization Act Brief Explanation.

How do I file an Appeal?

Anyone who is not satisfied with the results of a claim for Veterans benefits (determined by a VA RO, VHA medical center, or other local VA office) should read the pamphlet above.  It is intended to explain the current steps involved in filing an appeal and to serve as a reference for the terms and abbreviations used in the appeal process. Updates to this process as a result of the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017 are forthcoming.

For best results please log on to the BVA site  by clicking the 'Red Bar' link below.

US Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims

Additional Information

The United States Court of Appeals is a National Court of record established under Article 1 of the Constitution. It has exclusive jurisdiction of Judicial Review on final decisions by the Board of Veterans Appeals within the Department of Veteran Affairs.

The Court provides an impartial review of administrative decisions that were adverse to the veteran-appellant's claim of entitlement to benefits service connected disabilities, survivor benefits and other benefits such as education payments and waiver of indebtedness. 

You must have had a final decision from the Board of Veterans Appeals before appealing to this Court. note: the VA Regional Office is not the Board of Veterans Appeals.

Click on the Seal to the right to get to the Webpage.


A 'Veterans Court' Judge addresses the Senate Committee

March 2018 - Judge Lamas speaks to the Senators about how very important the funding & program continuance for Veterans Courts, and the additional treatment Courts.

Vietnam Vets Fight to get Rare form of Cancer to be covered

It took decades to get some acknowledgement from the VA that Agent Orange caused the Illnesses and Cancer it has, this one is finally getting some attention.

Overcoming Moral Injuries

Veteran Joshua Mantz, speaking of his own experiences and outcomes with catastrophic Moral injury on the battlefield. This is an excellent TEDx presentation...........

Our Board of Directors & Management

Founder/Chairman, Ronald Verini

Founder/Chairman, Ronald Verini

Upon returning from Vietnam, Ron wanted to have a friendly place for Vets to go and feel comfortable and have no financial obligation. He Co-founded the Veteran Advocates of Ore-Ida in 2006.

Vice Chairman Phil Jacques


Phil walked into the first Veteran Advocates of Ore-Ida office one day, found out what we were doing, liked it and has been volunteering since then. He has been a champion for helping us with 'fundraising'. Phil served in the Special Forces in Vietnam, and has been our Vice-Chairman for many years.

Secretary / Treasurer, Charlene Pelland

VAOI Secy/Treas. Charlene Pelland

Upon moving to Ontario, Oregon, Charlene, whose Brothers all served in the Air Force, wanted to 'Honor' all our Veterans and became our first Office Manager, and quickly became our Secretary/Treasurer.

John Breidenback, Board Member


John also serves the Community as the Ex. Director of the Greater Ontario Oregon Area Chamber of Commerce, and has been a contributing/Active Veteran Advocates of Ore-Ida Board member for many years, and served our Country in the US Army.John is on left.

Vince Schwartz, Board Member


Vince has been a very active Board Member now for many years, since he dropped by the office one day asking for some assistance, and has been involved every week since his first visit. Vince also served in Vietnam.

Gerald Haines, Chaplain/Board Member


Gerald is a 25 year Army Veteran  enlisting in 1954 during the 'Cold-War' working in Army Air Defense Systems, and retiring as a Major, 0-4. After retirement he was ordained as a Minister, and he and his wife Trudy volunteered as Chaplains at the Idaho State Correctional Institution. Currently  he is on the Board and Chaplain for Veteran Advocates of Ore-Ida.

Meet our Ex. Director/Office Manager

Tammy Bigelow

Ms. Tammy has been managing our office for about 5 years, and has been the "patient one" holding our hand and dispensing "Positive" affirmations in dealing with not only the collapse and reconstruction of our main Office Building, but with all the Veterans and Families that cross our threshold and are needing or requiring information and services.  Any questions you may have regarding needing or finding veteran services, Tammy is our 'Go-To' gal..


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