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New documentary featuring Oregon LGBTQ veterans to premiere Nov. 3 in Portland (Photo) - 10/19/17

The Oregon Department of Veterans' Affairs is proud to present the world premiere of "Breaking the Silence," a documentary featuring the stories of some of Oregon's LGBTQ service members and veterans.

This groundbreaking film explores the lives of five Oregon veterans, who not only served their country honorably, but were forced to serve in silence and at great risk to themselves, their careers and their families.

"We are privileged and honored to share the stories of these five incredible men and women, who have shown such great courage in coming forward after years or even decades of silence," said Cameron Smith, director of the Oregon Department of Veterans' Affairs. "We are extremely proud of this film and are excited to celebrate the diversity that unites us as a vibrant community of veterans and as a state."

"Breaking the Silence" was filmed by the multi-talented videographer Julia Reihs and produced by Portland storyteller Paul Iarrobino, in collaboration with Nathaniel Boehme, ODVA's LGBTQ veterans coordinator.

Veterans and family, the general public and media are welcome and encouraged to join us for the film premiere on Friday, Nov. 3, at the Mission Theater, 1624 N.W. Glisan St. in Portland. Doors open at 6 p.m.; the screening will be at 7 p.m., followed by a panel discussion and Q&A with the veteran storytellers who participated in the project.

Admission is free. There will also be food and drinks by McMenamins available for purchase. Minors are welcome to attend accompanied by a parent or guardian.

A trailer for the film can be found online at www.youtube.com/watch?v=JeBpkFepTnU&t. If you are an LGBTQ veteran in need of assistance or support or have any questions about the benefits you've earned through your service to our nation, please contact us at LGBTQVets@odva.state.or.us.

Media interested in interviewing the veteran participants prior to the event may contact ODVA's Tyler Francke at 971-239-6640 or tyler.francke@state.or.us to make arrangements.

Oregon Department of Veterans' Affairs launches all-new website - 10/03/17

The Oregon Department of Veterans' Affairs is inviting the veteran community and partners to explore its new and completely redesigned website at www.oregon.gov/odva.

The revamped site puts detailed information right at users' fingertips, covering the full range of benefits, programs and resources available to Oregon veterans and their families, as well as interactive maps and other tools to help locate needed services in your area.

"This site is the culmination of a very thorough and deliberate process," ODVA Director Cameron Smith said. "An incredible amount of thought, work and creativity went into this redesign, and we really believe it will be a game-changer when it comes to serving Oregon veterans and their families."

The website redesign is the capstone to a complete overhaul of ODVA's entire communication strategy that began years ago. The overhaul included the launch of an in-depth benefit magazine just for Oregon veterans, a comprehensive approach to engaging the veteran community through social media, a new, subscription-based email service and the annual Veteran Benefit Expo, which is held in different locations throughout the state.

"We want veterans to be able to find the information they need, quickly and easily, and we believe this interactive new site is the absolute best way for them to do just that," said Nicole Hoeft, ODVA's communications and information services manager.

The site is continuously updated to ensure veterans have the most up-to-date news about benefit changes, new programs, upcoming events and anything else of relevance to the veteran community. ODVA encourages visitors to explore the site, which is located at the same address (www.oregon.gov/odva).

A promo video highlighting some of the new site's features can be found at www.youtube.com/watch?v=9kQz-fVwNcg. Questions about the new site can be directed to ODVAinformation@odva.state.or.us.