Eagles set to soar for veterans

Two birds in Vancouver for events leading up to Veterans Day and to help raise money for CDM Services

By Tom Vogt, Columbian science, military & history reporter




11 a.m.: Annual service at Vancouver Barracks Post Cemetery; speakers include Marine Sgt. Maj. Eric Sheline, Mayor Tim Leavitt and U.S. Rep Jaime Herrera Beutler.

11:30 a.m.: Pearson Air Museum Community Luncheon, fundraising event for CDM Services.

2 p.m.: Open house and ribbon-cutting at Armed Forces Reserve Center, 15005 N.E. 65th St.

A symbol of America’s freedom and his wingman — yes, that’s right — arrived Wednesday afternoon in Vancouver to take part in several events leading up to Veterans Day.

The two eagles didn’t exactly land, however. Their journey was a road trip from a wildlife center in Oregon, and it included a motorcycle escort.

Defiance, a bald eagle, and Phoenix, a golden eagle, are helping raise money for a Vancouver-based nonprofit agency.

CDM Services assists veterans as well as other seniors, families and children with in-home care. It also operates an adult day health center

that provides rehabilitation, socialization and meals.

The eagles are residents of Wildlife Images Rehabilitation & Education Center in Grants Pass, Ore.

While their visit is heavily flavored with this week’s theme of Veterans Day theme, the nonprofit CDM Services is raising money because of another aspect of current events: budget cuts.

“With all the state funding cuts, we’re relying more and more on community events,” said Eric Erickson, executive director of CDM Services. The agency has helped people from infants to seniors for 30 years, but it’s getting tougher.

“We are in our fourth year of state cuts, and (Veterans Affairs) funding is eroding,” Erickson said during a reception at Beaches Restaurant.

When the fundraising effort was proposed, Erickson said, local philanthropist Ed Lynch immediately wrote a check to cover the cost of bringing the birds and members of the Wildlife Image staff to Vancouver.

They will be featured at a 9 a.m. community program Thursday at Hudson’s Bay High School, which, by the way, is the home of the Eagles. The tribute to America’s veterans is open to the public.

On Friday, the eagles will be at Pearson Air Museum for a community lunch at 11:30 a.m.; cost is $30 a person.

Dave Siddon, executive director of Wildlife Images, said that Phoenix has been at the rehabilitation center for about 35 years. A log-truck driver saw the bird when it was just a ball of fluff on an Oregon logging road, nestled it inside a hard hat on his truck seat and called Siddon when he got home.

“I drove 125 miles,” Siddon said. “I can’t tell you how many times people have called me to say they found an eagle, and it’s been a pigeon or a duck.”

Tom Vogt: 360-735-4558; http://www.twitter.com/col_history;">www.twitter.com/col_history;">http://www.twitter.com/col_history;tom.vogt@columbian.com.