‘Operation Well Wish’: Hopeful messages to Lebanon veterans

Coronavirus

You can mail in a letter or email a video message

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — One veterans’ home in Lebanon that has been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus outbreak is now seeing surrounding community members reach out and remind them that they are cared for and remembered.

“Operation Well Wish” was first launched by staff at the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs, and the outpour of support has kept the folks inside the Edward C. Allworth Veterans’ Home busy. Artwork, letters, pictures, and more have flooded the mailbox. Once the well wishes are cleared by the veterans’ home’s Infection Prevention Team, they are passed out to the residents.

“It’s been amazing. I think that it’s been really encouraging for the residents as well as the staff,” said Tyler Francke of the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs. “It’s been a challenging time for them. I think we’re all learning how hard it can be to be isolated.”

After gaining some traction online, videos started coming in too. People shared positive messages from across the county and even as far away as Italy. In the videos, people share footage of their hometowns or feature their pets. In one video, a young boy holds up a rainbow sign and says “It’s going to be okay” in Italian.

Operation Well Wish (Courtesy Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs)

According to the VA, one resident, who is a U.S. Army Korean War veteran, turns on the closed-circuit TV channel where the well wishes are played every morning. Jeremy Woodall, the Program Director at the home, said Operation Well Wish has “been a huge boost to both residents…and staff.”

The facility was put on lockdown a little over two weeks ago after a number of residents tested positive for COVID-19. The residents inside have not been allowed visitors, per the facility’s infectious disease prevention protocols.

“With the lock-down protocols that are currently in place to keep our community safe, it has been a tremendous change in the residents’ way of life,” said ODVA Director Kelly Fitzpatrick in a statement. “These men and women at our Lebanon Veterans’ Home have borne the battles to keep this nation safe and free. It’s wonderful for so many of the people that they have protected to be remembering them in this challenging time.”

If you would like to take part in Operation Well Wish, the VA asks that you use an unlicked envelope to mail letters, cards, or other artwork.

Mailing address:

ATTN: Operation Well Wish, Oregon Veterans’ Home, 

600 N. 5th St.

Lebanon, OR 97355

Videos can be sent to: ODVAInformation@odva.state.or.us

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