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It is always the right time to help others

Nothing inspires me more than seeing someone in the community stand up and lend a hand. When people reach out to each other, anything is possible.

In recent months we have been subjected to a steady drumbeat of bad news about the problems in our veterans’ healthcare system. For most people it was another reminder that we can’t neglect our duty to our returned troops.

But for the Oregon Outpatient Surgery Center, located in Tualatin, it was a call to action. The Surgery center, located just south of Bridgeport Village, will be offering free surgeries to returning veterans so that our wounded warriors can get timely medical attention.

This was reported in the Tigard Times recently, and the center opened officially in early July, but I felt I would bring it up again because it’s the time of year when we think about patriotism.

Patriotism isn’t just about setting off dangerous fireworks on the Fourth or buying the biggest flag you can find, it’s about giving back to your community and your country. The greatest possible example of that is our young men and women who go out and put their lives on the line in order to serve.

These soldiers are amazing people. My dad was in the U.S. Coast Guard for 30 years and served in World War II and Korea. Being of the ‘60s generation, my friends fought in Vietnam, and I have met many of the men and women who serve in our wars today. They give so much to our country.

That is why I am so pleased to see the Oregon Outpatient Surgery Center standing up to give back to them.

Our veterans deserve so much more than they get from our outrageously outdated Veterans Administration, and while one surgery center can’t solve the serious systemic problems we face, it can pitch in and make things better.

Not everyone is a soldier, sailor or Marine, and most people can’t perform surgery, but anyone can reach out to help our community.

That is what I was taught patriotism is: It’s reaching out and sharing a little bit of yourself with your community.

There are many wonderful organizations in Tigard, Tualatin and Portland that could use your support, whether it’s volunteering to help young people learn to read or visiting the elderly in assisted living homes. It’s about building the kind of community and country that you would want to live in.

I hope you will be as inspired as I am by the example of the Oregon Outpatient Surgery Center and will reach out to do some good for others.

It’s a fantastic way to celebrate our great nation and honor the legacy of those who came before us.

The following information was provided in the July newsletter of Rep. Margaret Doherty:

The Tigard Street Fair is just around the corner! On Saturday, Aug. 16, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Main Street in downtown Tigard becomes an open air market. Local merchants will be displaying their wares. There will be fresh food, live entertainment, and kids and family activities! I hope you will stop by. You can find out more by visiting the "Explore Downtown Tigard" Facebook page.

Sometimes everyone needs a helping hand, and we have some tremendous organizations here in Washington County. One of them is Community Action, which I am honored to serve on the board. Community Action helps out low-income families with everything from heating assistance to help getting access to good child care. If you need help, or want to help lend a hand, you can find out more at www.caowash.org.

I also want to give a plug to the 2-1-1 program. (It is) a regionwide hotline (Oregon and Southwest Washington) that helps connect those in need with various social services. (It aims) to be a one-stop shop that can direct people to programs that can help them out. You can find out more about them here: www.211info.org.

Margaret Doherty represents Dist. 35, which includes Summerfield, in the Oregon Legislature.