Military Appreciation Month gathering and proclamation in Benton County

Oregon State University Air Force ROTC cadets give an Honor Guard presentation at the start of the Benton County Commissioners' Nov. 7 meeting. Representing the Detachment 685 (The Flying Beavs) are, left to right, Cadet Borrego, Cadet Ching, Cadet Kitchens and Cadet Sabee-Paulson. Looking on are, left to right, County Commissioners Nancy Wyse, Pat Malone and Xan Augerot, and County Administrator Rachel McEneny.
Thursday, November 9, 2023

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Benton County has a long history of supporting its military Veterans. The tradition continues as the Board of Commissioners signed a proclamation recognizing Nov. 11 as Veterans Day and declaring November as Military Appreciation Month throughout Benton County. Commissioners Pat Malone, Xan Augerot, and Nancy Wyse personally thanked each of the Veterans in attendance at a gathering prior to the board’s Nov. 7 meeting at the Kalapuya Building.

“This is a great reminder of how important our service members and their families are to this community,” said Malone.

During the meeting, two local veterans, Retired Sgt. Major and Purple Heart Recipient Vinnie Jacques who served in the Oregon Army National Guard and Benton County Veteran Service Officer Mark Lapinskas, discussed how grateful they are for the resources provided to Benton County veterans.

“I am thankful to the community for how gracious so many people were to welcome our unit home on our return. Numerous individuals and organizations provided care and support,” said Jacques. “Veterans need a hand up, not a handout. They need resources,” he said, specifically mentioning his appreciation for the County’s backing of the Veterans Service Office.

Jacques credits the support received from the community for the success his unit’s Veterans have obtained. “From a small community, we have accomplished great things and continue to serve the region. This includes producing two doctors, four Oregon State Troopers, numerous police officers, four Sgt. Majors and several colonels.”

A resident of North Albany, Jacques served with the Oregon National Guard’s 2nd Battalion - 162nd Infantry Regiment based in Springfield. In the early 2000s, the battalion was deployed overseas and participated in Operation Desert Storm, Operation Desert Shield, and the Iraq War. For their heroic actions in the Battle Of Falluja, Jacques and his unit received a Presidential Citation. During the deployment, the unit sustained four killed and 25 recipients of the Purple Heart. Jacques was severely wounded by an Improvised Explosive Device.

After his recovery, Jacques became dedicated to serving his fellow National Guards personnel. He helped create the Oregon National Guard Veterans Transition Assistance Program, which works to ease veterans with their transition back to civilian life.

During the meeting, Jacques presented the County commissioners with the book, The Devil’s Sandbox, detailing the 2nd Battalion - 162nd Infantry Regiment’s call-up in the summer of 2003 to their return home in the spring of 2005. The book also provides an intimate look at the reality of National Guardsmen at war.

Lapinskas reminds Veterans and their families that the Veterans Service Office is here to ensure that you receive all the benefits you are eligible to receive. This includes assistance with submitting claims for compensation, pension, survivor’s benefits, and Veterans Affairs healthcare. The office is located at 1121 NW Ninth Street in Corvallis. Appointments may be made calling 541-368-7100 or emailing

Lapinskas praised the County’s Veterans. “You are an asset to the community,” he said, adding he also recognizes the support families of Veterans provide.

Benton County Sheriff Jef Van Arsdall acknowledged the contributions Veterans make to Benton County, pointing out that numerous County employees, including sheriff’s deputies, served in the military. “I am fortunate that we have a lot of folks in my division who are Veterans who have been in the grease and came out the other side. All I can say is, ‘Thank you.’”


Benton County is an Equal Opportunity-Affirmative Action employer and does not discriminate on the basis of disability in admission or access to our programs, services, activities, hiring and employment practices. This document is available in alternative formats and languages upon request. Please contact Cory Grogan at 541-745-4468 or

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Retired Sgt. Major Vinnie Jacques, Oregon Army National Guard, and Mark Lapinskas (left), Benton County Veteran Service Officer; participate at the Nov. 7 Benton County Board of Commissioners Meeting for Military Appreciation Month.
Benton County employees who are Veterans gathered Nov. 7 at the Kalapuya Building to be recognized by the County commissioners. Following a reception, the commissioners signed a proclamation declaring November as Military Appreciation Month throughout Benton County.