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Tina Kennedy, executive officer and retired Army first sergeant, receives U.S. flag flown over Capitol from Sen. Jeff Merkley at start of town hall meeting at Camp Withycombe in Clackamas.

PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: PETER WONG - U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley presents a flag flown over the U.S. Capitol to Tina Kennedy, retired Army first sergeant and executive officer of a Clackamas County nonprofit that helps veterans. The presentation took place Thursday, July 5, at the start of a town hall meeting at Camp Withycombe in Clackamas.U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley has recognized the efforts of a Clackamas County nonprofit agency to help veterans find transitional housing, food and clothing.

Merkley presented a U.S. flag that has flown over the Capitol in Washington, D.C., to Tina Kennedy, a retired Army first sergeant and executive officer of Fort Kennedy.

PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: PETER WONG - Tina Kennedy says a few words before she accepts a U.S. flag presented by U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., at a town hall meeting Thursday, July 5, at Camp Withycombe in Clackamas. The retired Army first sergeant is executive officer of a Clackamas County nonprofit that assists veterans.He did so Thursday, July 5, at the start of a town hall meeting attended by more than 250 people at Camp Withycombe in Clackamas. Merkley often recognizes community organizations or individuals at such meetings.

Kennedy joined the Army within weeks of her graduation from Milwaukie High School in 1992. After 22 years in the Army, including Iraq War service, Kennedy returned home to create the nonprofit, which works with other groups to help veterans find employment, secure benefits and obtain family counseling, in addition to basic needs.

"They come home with challenges," she said in accepting the flag from Merkley. "We take care of them."

Kennedy said the nonprofit has worked with more than 500 veterans during its short tenure.

The nonprofit operates in donated space at 7600 S.E. Johnson Creek Blvd., Portland. It is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Web site: www.fortkennedy.org

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