Jackson County recognizes pair for helping veterans

The Jackson County Board of Commissioners recognized Herbert Robb in memoriam and Mike Whitfield with awards this week for their service to veterans.

Commissioners presented a Recognition of Service Award to Rose Marie Robb in honor of her husband Herbert Robb, who passed away in August at the age of 88 after spending decades helping veterans.

Whitfield was honored with a Special Award for Excellence for his work in support of veterans.

"During this week that we consider the extraordinary contributions of our nation's veterans, it seems only fitting to us as a board to express our sincere gratitude to the family of Mr. Herbert Robb for the amazing contribution he made to our community," Commissioner Bob Strosser said at a ceremony in Medford a few days before Veterans Day.

Strosser said Robb helped thousands of veterans in the community through his service with organizations that included the Jackson County Allied Veterans Council, the Non-commissioned Officers Association and the Marine Corps League. He coordinated and supported many veterans' events and Veterans Day ceremonies, in addition to being active with Rotary International.

"Typically awards like this are presented to dedicated volunteers who work in the community in significant ways. Occasionally these community members will work so quietly, humbly and efficiently for so long that they fly under the radar and recognizing their efforts can unfortunately be overlooked," Strosser said. "Mr. Herbert Robb was one of these remarkable individuals."

Robb served in the U.S. Marine Corps for 12 years, receiving an honorable discharge in 1959.

Strosser said he never quit serving his country.

Commissioner Rick Dyer said Robb may have had an even bigger impact once he left the military because of everything he did to help veterans.

Commissioners said Whitfield, who works full-time as the coordinator of Rogue Valley Veterans Community Outreach, helps with countless community events, including Stand Down, Project Community Connect, the Southern Oregon Military Appreciation Golf Tournament and the annual Red, White and Boom Fourth of July celebration.

Whitfield also works with law enforcement during homeless sweeps to connect homeless veterans with services.

"I've actually attended one of these sweeps with Mike. He can relate to these homeless veterans who are down and out," Dyer said.

Whitfield shares information about a Rogue Valley Veterans Community Outreach transitional housing program for homeless veterans. In addition to housing, the program offers case management, support groups, classes, advocacy, a mail service, help in filing for Social Security and assistance in getting identification, birth certificates and military records. He also helps veterans navigate the complex U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs benefits process, county officials said.

Whitfield said everything he does is part of a team effort.

"It's an honor and a privilege to serve in this community," he said.

— Reach staff reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-776-4486 or valdous@mailtribune.com. Follow her at www.twitter.com/VickieAldous.

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