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 Contact info.

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

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.

See more about our local VSBM and Small Business Development Center


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.

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.

Update on 15 years of online patient portal 'My Healthvet'

My Healthvet's Story

On Veterans Day we offer our thanks to those who served our nation and fought to protect us at home and abroad. And while our thanks cannot equal the sacrifices they made, we can seek to honor them in our memories and in our actions. To serve those who served us.

That is what the VA aspired to accomplish 15 years ago today with the launch of its online patient portal, My HealtheVet.

The website was created as a tool to help Veterans partner with their health care teams to make decisions and manage their health. Today it's easy to forget how pioneering and revolutionary My HealtheVet was in delivering Veteran medical records with the click of a mouse. But back in 2003, before digital technology became ingrained in nearly every aspect of our lives, a venture like My HealtheVet was a risk. Still, VA jumped at the opportunity.

This was not a flash-in-the-pan project. "We knew it wasn't going away," said Lauren Heiger, a My HealtheVet Coordinator who has helped promote My HealtheVet services since its inception. "We saw the potential right away."

My HealtheVet launched on Veterans Day 2003. The site's early offerings included a wealth of trusted health information, a comprehensive overview of VA benefits, and a health calendar. The ability to create a self-reported Personal Health Record (PHR) quickly followed. With the health record, Veterans could keep information like health insurance, medical events, labs, and immunizations all in one place.

In 2005, VA added what has become one of its flagship features: the ability to order prescription refills online. Within a year, more than one million prescriptions had been refilled using the feature. Improvements over the years have made the service even easier to use, and it remains the most used feature on the site.

My HealtheVet drew international attention in 2010 when it launched the VA Blue Button. The reporting feature allows patients to view, print or download specific parts of their personal health record into a simple text file or PDF, offering Veterans unparalleled access to their health records. The idea spread quickly to other patient portals in both the public and private sectors. It has become a standard across the United States. VA extended Blue Button functionality earlier this year with the release of the award-winning VA Medical Images and Reports feature that allows Veterans with a Premium account to view, download and share electronic copies of their radiology studies, such as X-rays, mammograms, MRI scans, and CT scans.

Another cornerstone feature, Secure Messaging, launched in 2008. Veterans could now exchange private messages with their providers and other members of their health care team. They could request appointments, prescription renewals, and even attach photos and other documents. Secure Messaging has become an indispensable tool for both patients and providers for its convenience and ability to extend care beyond the traditional office visit.

Through My HealtheVet, VA also became the largest health care system to give patients access to notes from appointments with all providers - doctors, therapists, counselors, and more. These 'VA Notes' ensure that patients can reference previous appointments and prepare for future appointments.

In 2017, My HealtheVet debuted its online scheduling tool, which allowed Veterans to schedule, modify, or cancel their appointments online. Veterans can also view appointment details, track the status of their requests, and set up VA appointment email notification reminders. Each new update is an attempt to improve access to care and respond to patient needs and feedback.

"The national team is just so good at hearing our Veterans and then prioritizing what features they can upgrade," said Heiger. "They are so good at honoring our Veterans."

Preparing Veteran patients for appointments and treatments is a goal of My HealtheVet. "I would say that a huge selling point for them is to have options," said Heiger, recalling the positive reaction from Veterans as they learn how to set their preferences and take advantage of tools like Secure Messaging.

"We want to empower our Veterans to become active participants in their care," said Theresa Hancock, Director of My HealtheVet. "The more resources and options they have available, the more they feel a partner in the process."

Today My HealtheVet has more than 4.5 million registered users, who have refilled over 127.7 million prescriptions, downloaded more than 31.8 million Blue Button reports, and exchanged more than 69.4 million Secure Messages with their VA health care teams.

"It's our mission. It's why we are here," said Heiger. "To tell our Veterans thank you for the successes of the program and to thank them for telling us what features and services they are looking for, and how we can be better. It's absolutely just an honor to serve."

Read More

My HealtheVet Quarterly Metrics

Created November 8, 2018

UPDATE: on VA Claims Processing

VA achieves major milestone in effort to modernize claims processing

October 23, 2018, 04:03:00 PM

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VA achieves major milestone in effort to modernize claims processing

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently completed a significant modernization effort in which more than 7.8 million paper files were removed from 60 locations in fewer than 22 months, enabling rapid scanning into VA’s electronic claims processing system by multiple third-party vendors. This will lead to faster claims decisions for Veterans.

"Improving the delivery of benefits and services to Veterans is central to our mission,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “This significant effort will not only improve VA’s claims process, it will also lead to quicker decisions for Veterans because millions more records will be available electronically.”

This milestone was part of a long VA effort to improve the Veteran experience and streamline claims processes. 

  • In 2013, VA began removing paper records from its regional offices to save space and taxpayer money.
    • The effort expanded in 2016 when the agency launched the File Bank Extraction initiative.
    • This initiative removed more than 1.7 million paper claims files across 59 VA locations and contributed to reduced claims processing time by establishing more electronic records.
  • Additionally, in Nov. 2017, VA began extracting nearly 6.1 million paper records held within the Records Control Division (RCD) of the Records Management Center (RMC) in St. Louis.
    • VA is currently working with the General Services Administration (GSA), which owns the Goodfellow Federal Center complex that houses the RMC, to return the RCD’s leased warehouse space back to GSA. As a result, VA will save nearly $1.8 million per year.
    • The other areas of the RMC remain open and operational.
    • The 6.1 million paper records extracted from the RCD are temporarily stored in a secure facility certified by the National Archives and Records Administration where they are inventoried, prioritized and sent to multiple VA vendors for rapid scanning into VA’s Veterans Benefits Management System (VBMS).
    • Records removed during File Bank Extraction will also be scanned and uploaded to VBMS.

VA continues to take steps to operate in a digital environment and modernize the way it processes compensation and pension claims — moving from a cumbersome, paper-intensive process to an efficient, electronic process — resulting in a faster, more accurate and transparent claims process.

A to Z List of Benefits Authorized for Claims

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.

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.

Tom's Army buddy was going through the same thing

Tom, an Army Veteran, came home from Vietnam to hostility, so he hid his service. For years, he felt on edge and tried to cope by drinking. When Tom reconnected with a battle buddy, he found they had the same challenges, prompting him to get help at a Vet Center. Now he’s living a happier life. You can connect to our local VA Vet Van, that Tom was referring to below on this page = 208-342-3612 and other counseling resources.

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.

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...........

It's Important for me to share my story

Ricardos' transition to civilian life led to hopelessness, he attempted suicide but finally found some programs that set him on a good path to recovery

"You come back and you just don't feel the same"

A Marine vet shares his story about being deployed in Afghanistan.

HEARTBREAKING - American Soldier breaks down

Politics aside, if you don't feel anything watching this man cry, you should probably check your pulse.  It's unimaginable what these guys go through.   Hat's off to Sgt Louis J. Loftus.  Nothing but respect.

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.

Veteran Advocates of Ore-Ida Interview by Eagle Live

Check out this great video

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.

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