The Baker County press. (Baker City, Ore.) 2014-current, February 26, 2016, Page 9, Image 9

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    FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 2016
Heart ‘n Home director earns NRAC meets
“Patriotic Employer” award
Ten co-workers mustered
Wednesday morning, 9
a.m., at Heart ‘n Home
Hospice & Palliative Care,
LLC, at 3370 10th Street,
as Baker County Veteran
Service Officer Rick Glo-
ria, on behalf of Heart ‘n
Home Outreach Coordi-
nator and Army Sergeant
First Class Nathan Schul-
tze, recognized Executive
Director Valerie Potter as
a Patriotic Employer, for
supporting employee par-
ticipation in the National
Guard, and Reserve forces.
Gloria introduced
himself to those pres-
ent, including Potter, and
informed Potter, to her
surprise, that she was the
guest of honor.
Gloria said, “We know
that Nate, he is in the Ore-
gon Army National Guard.
He was active duty. He is
the Medical Platoon Lead-
er for the 3rd Battalion—
big responsibility, and we
know that just last year, the
Battalion had the privilege
to go to NTC, the National
Training Center, and, you
just don’t show up at NTC.
There’s a lot of preparation
that goes on with training,
equipment—a lot. I’ve
been there once, and, I tell
you what, I’m glad I only
did it once. They can keep
Mojave Desert (where
NTC for Armor Battalions
is located).”
This was followed by
laughter. Gloria continued,
“That being said, let’s
go ahead, and, proceed.
Valerie, today, we are here
to recognize you, and,
thank you, for extend-
ing your support to our
veterans, especially Nate,
your employee. My name
is Rick Gloria. I am an
ESGR, Employer Sup-
port of the Guard and
Reserve representative,
and, we are here today on
behalf of Nate’s request, to
thank you for all support
you have provided to our
veterans, and, especially to
him. ESGR understands
that employer support to
our veterans is crucial, and,
extremely important. Our
veterans are able to focus
on their mission, knowing
that they still have a job
waiting for them, when
they return home. And,
when I’m talking about
returning home, it could be
for a weekend, it could be
your two weeks of summer
camp—yeah, they call it
summer camp, but it’s re-
ally hard training (prompt-
ing laughter). Or, it could
be our one-year deploy-
ment overseas, to Iraq, or,
Afghanistan, so, it’s big
having employers who
support our veterans.
Todd Arriola / The Baker County Press
Valerie Potter receives her award from Rick Gloria (right) and Nathan Schultze
“Sergeant First Class
Nathaniel Schultze is the
Medical Platoon Leader
for 3rd Battalion, 116th
Cavalry Brigade. In yearly
training calendar 2015,
the Battalion deployed to
the Mojave Desert, the
National Training Center,
NTC, for Armor Battal-
ions, where they conduct
realistic training against
top, opposing forces.
“As the Medical Platoon
Leader, Nate has the re-
sponsibility to ensure that
medical support is avail-
able, at a moment’s notice,
to support elements of the
“In preparation for NTC,
the Battalion geared up,
with equipment, and, prep-
aration for required train-
ing, two years prior. There
is a lot of pressure on that
Battalion to demonstrate
that a National Guard Re-
serve unit can operate in a
warfare scenario, operating
with their assigned, M1A2
Abrams tanks. So, I’m
going to stop right there,
just mention a little bit
about the Abrams tanks...
They are the first National
Guard unit to be issued
the M1A2 SEP Abrams
tank. And, guess what?
This Gunnery Phase that
happened at Gowen Field
(in Boise, Idaho), there
was a lot of oversight from
‘Big Army.’ There was so
much brass coming in, and,
out of there ... There were
between four and five tank
tables, and, the word I got
from Brian (Lieutenant
Colonel Brian Dean, Com-
mander of the Battalion)
was, ‘You know what, we
met, and, exceeded the
“Nate attended all
scheduled scheduled drill
weekends, along with two
weeks supporting Gunnery
Phases, at Gowen Field,
Idaho. This was fol-
lowed by deploying to the
Mojave Desert, for nearly
a month.
“Nate states, ‘I spent
more time this summer
with my Battalion than I
did at my full-time job,
with Heart ‘n Home, and, I
couldn’t have done it with-
out Valerie’s support.’
“And, he further goes
on to say, ‘At work, her
leadership is as outstanding
as the best officers I have
worked for. She mentors
me, and, promotes self
improvement. That “Speed
of Trust” book she loaned
me, and, other principles
she taught me, were key in
leading a medical platoon
through NTC. My leader-
ship skills continually
improved, as a result of
working with her.’ Alright,
Nate, this is your cue (as
Schultze prepared to pres-
ent the award).” Gloria
read from the award:
“‘For your dedication
to service and support of
our veterans, the Office of
the Secretary of Defense,
Employer Support of the
Guard and Reserve, recog-
nizes Valerie Potter, Heart
‘n Home, as a Patriotic
Employer, for contributing
to national security, and
protecting liberty and free-
dom, by supporting Nate
Schultze’s participation in
America’s National Guard
force, signed, Alex Baird,
ESGR Executive Director,
and, Paul E. Mock, ESGR
National Chair.’ Valerie,
thank you for your support
(followed by applause).”
Schultze said, “I just
want to talk a little bit
about what the impact of
this was, because, I think,
when I first mentioned that
we had some additional
requirements this year—it
would be a little more
difficult, and, longer than
normal, and, that I would
be gone for over six weeks
in the summer—the initial
reaction was shock, but
then, it was immediately,
‘Okay, it’s our duty to
support this.’ I was just so
thankful to have that reac-
tion. When we deployed
to NTC, my medical team
saw, of the 900 soldiers
who were out there with
us, over 700 training casu-
alties, but, more important-
ly than that, we saw 225
or so real-world casualties.
So, these were people
who had heat injuries, or,
non-battle injuries, and,
sicknesses, and, training
accidents. My platoon of
medics—42 medics—were
responsible for taking care
of all the soldiers. So,
that’s when you support
this one soldier, and, I
was able to support my
platoon better. That was
the impact that it had. I
was truly thankful for that.
Even with the training
scenarios, we did so well,
that our died-of-wounds
rate was six percent, which
is the rate that a Special
Forces regiment, or, a
Ranger regiment would
normally accomplish, not
just the regular Armor unit,
and, a regular platoon, who
aren’t Special Forces. The
regular rate, I believe, is
around fifteen percent (this
was followed by applause).
I couldn’t have done it
without Valerie, so thank
you so much.”
Potter said, “For us, that
(the type of support of
which Schultze speaks)
comes from the top down.
My leaders as well—sup-
porting me, supporting
them.” Gloria said, “We’re
all in it together ...” Gloria
spoke about the continu-
ing need to reach out to
veterans, around 2,000,
throughout Baker County.
The Mission of Heart ‘n
Home Hospice & Palliative
Care is the affirmation of
“ by providing emo-
tional, physical, and spiri-
tual support to our patients
and to those who love and
care for them,” according
to Heart ‘n Home.
BHS, NP students get art awards
The “Eastern Oregon
Regional High School Art
Exhibition,” featuring well
over 300 works by students
from 13 regional high
schools, opened Friday,
Feb. 19 in Nightingale
Gallery at Eastern Oregon
EOU Provost Sarah Witte
welcomed gallery visitors
with opening remarks.
Awards were presented
by Nightingale Gallery
Director Cory Peeke, who
congratulated the students
and teachers who help
make their participation
The university’s art
program presented awards
to exemplary works by
students in grades nine
through 12. All Best of
Show winners received
an award certificate, a $50
Barnes & Noble gift card,
a sketchbook, and an EOU
T-shirt and lanyard. Honor-
able Mention recipients
received a certificate of
Best of Show 12th
Jessie Perkins (Baker
City High) for her ceramic
sculpture “Lizardman”
Best of Show 9th Grade:
Lindsey Slatter (North
Powder High School) for
her mixed media piece
“Hot Rod”
Honorable Mentions:
Baker City High School
Theodore Brown, 11th
grade, for his oil painting
“Ethiopian Child”
Emily Carter, 10th
grade, for her ceramic
sculpture “Warrior” Alex
Wells, 9th grade, for her
photograph “Perched.”
The Baker County Natural Resource Advisory Commit-
tee (BCNRAC) met for its monthly meeting on Tuesday,
February 23, 2016, at 3 p.m., in the Commission Cham-
bers of the Baker County Courthouse, joined by guests
Baker County Emergency Management Deputy Director
Gary Timm, and local farmer and forestry expert Mac
Kerns, for a wildfire and forestry discussion.
Present from the BCNRAC were Chair Doni Bruland,
Baker County Commission Chair Bill Harvey, BCNRAC
Coordinator Eric Wuntz, Alice Knapp, Lyle Defrees,
Eileen Gyllenberg, Kody Justus, Cynthia Long, Chuck
Chase, Maurene Chapman, Craig Ward, Jan Kerns,
Lane Perry, Jake Bingham, Arvid Andersen, and Emily
Braswell. Also attending were Wanda Ballard, and Dave
Bruland called the meeting to order, and, introductions
were made of those present.
For the initial Public Participation, Ballard voiced her
concerns about the comment period, 60 days, for the
scope of the analysis (scoping period) regarding the Blue
Mountains Forest Resiliency Project (it appeared on the
Federal Register on February 5, 2016). The United States
Forest Service (USFS) stated that a draft environmental
impact statement (DEIS) is expected in the summer 2016,
after which a 45-day comment period follows, and a final
environmental impact statement (FEIS) is expected in
December 2016, after which a 45-day objection period
The minutes from the Tuesday, January 26, 2016 meet-
ing were reviewed, and approved, with a motion from
Defrees, and, a second from Long.
Harvey provided attendees with an update regarding co-
ordination, including speaking about a letter recently sent
from the County Board of Commissioners, addressed to
Wallowa-Whitman Forest Service Forest Supervisor Tom
Montoya, and (also sent to) United States Department of
Agriculture (USDA) Chief Tom Tidwell, USDA Region
6 Forester Jim Pena, and Wallowa-Whitman District
Ranger Bill Gamble.
The letter began: “We, at Baker County, are now ad-
dressing the East Face project, of which we received a
news release about this week. As we have pointed out to
your agency many times, Baker County is a coordinating
County and has been since 2001. We are again remind-
ing you, as Wallowa-Whitman Forest Supervisor, that
your agency has not lawfully engaged in the coordination
process with Baker County. This is notification that with
this project, East Face, you are in violation of the NFMA
(National Forest Management Act) Act to coordinate with
local governments.”
The letter continues with statements regarding issues
concerning the USFS’s lack of government-to-govern-
ment meetings, and coordination efforts with the County,
as required by federal statutes.
Defrees introduced Mac, well-known to most of the
committee, and, Mac began a discussion regarding issues
with forestry management. Mac spoke about his back-
ground, including employment with the USFS, beginning
in 1958. “No matter what you did, if you were able-
bodied, you fought fire,” he said. He talked about his
experience regionally, and, nationally, having worked in
different States, and, in different positions, including the
management teams of three National Forests, and, as part
of a Washington, D.C.-based team, which investigated
the death of an Arkansas bulldozer operator, and, his co-
worker, 30 years ago, prior to Mac’s retiring.
Mac said, “Part of the big problem seems to be man-
power to fight fires...We’re waiting for crews, and, we’re
getting them all the way from New Zealand—that’s kind
of crazy.” He said that able-bodied, local people are ready
and wiling to fight fires.
“Solving this problem takes a whole lot more than just
the local people,” Mac said, speaking about various agen-
cies’ involvement, and, obstacles. “The other problem
we’ve got is, fuels buildup...You’ve got to remove that
fuel, and, it’s got to be a periodic thing...” He talked
about the need to attack wildfires initially, and keep them
small, and, he see issues with Forest Service management
currently. “Right now, the Federal government is not a
good neighbor ... It’s not something that’s going to be an
easy fix ... All this country that big fires have burnt this
year, was logged back in the 60s, and, 70s, and, it should
have been reentered, probably, depending on the site,
every 25 years. The stuff grows back. If you just wait for
thickets, they’re going to burn well. So, the plan has got
to—depending on the site—you’ve got to go back in, and
take care of that...To have a long-term solution to this,
we have to get back into the business of timber sales ...
It would go a long way to sure stopping the big fires,” he
Chase voiced frustration with current management,
stating that in the past, there was more of a focus on
physically visiting sites, and, physical labor, if needed,
whereas, today, he said decisions are made oftentimes
solely from an office environment. “It’s not that we can’t
train the people—it’s the leadership quality,” he said.
Timm said, “In 2003, I was hired to do a Homeland
Security assessment for the County (Baker)... The goal
of that was to reduce costs, and improve systems...We’ve
tried to speak with one voice, whether it was Baker City
Fire (Department), Baker Rural, Keating Fire, Forest
Service, or, ODF (Oregon Department of Forestry)...
I’m a firm believer in ‘Every Acre Counts’...” He spoke
about important components of a local plan, including the
Community Wildfire Protection Plan: “Public education,
training, planning, and response ...”
Ballard said, “This was a really great meeting ... I think
we can all agree, last year was an exceptionally bad year
(for wildfires). Hopefully, that won’t happen again...
We’re victims of a past management, also ... I feel like
change is coming, and, we can all do this.”