State seeks volunteers to help vets

SALEM — The Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs is seeking volunteers to work with veterans in Clackamas, Deschutes and Polk counties who may not be aware of the state, county and federal benefits they qualify for or how to access them.

It’s part of the new Veteran Volunteer Program, the first-ever statewide volunteer program working with the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs and its partners to help connect veterans with their earned benefits, which can provide needed financial support, health care and other long-term care needs.

The volunteers will work with the state’s veteran volunteer coordinator and certified veteran service officers in each county to locate veterans in long-term care facilities who may need assistance accessing their benefits. Veterans over the age of 65 represent about half of the state’s veteran population.

The program is being piloted in Clackamas, Deschutes and Polk counties, but will eventually be rolled out statewide. Prospective volunteers do not have to reside in Clackamas, Deschutes or Polk county as long as they have the ability to travel for their volunteer duties and training.

The program is open to anyone 18 years or older. Anyone who enjoys working with veterans and the aging population is encouraged to apply. For more information: oregonvetvolunteer.com, call Veteran Volunteer Coordinator Mark Newell at 503-373-2057 or veteranvolunteer@odva.state.or.us.

Dallas man sentenced for sex abuse

DALLAS — Thomas James Andrus, 28, of Dallas, was sentenced on Feb. 7 to 12 years in prison after being found guilty on two counts of first-degree sex abuse.

Andrus was charged with 10 counts of first-degree sex abuse, which were alleged to have occurred between Dec. 1, 2016, and July 1, 2017. All incidents involved the same victim, who was younger than 14 at the time of the abuse.

Andrus was acquitted of eight counts. The verdict and sentences came at the conclusion of a one and a half-day trial before Polk County Circuit Court Judge Rafael A. Caso.

Prior to imposing the sentence, Caso heard statements from the victim’s family.

Andrus will serve 45 months of post-prison supervision and register as a sex offender. The case was prosecuted by the Polk County District Attorney’s Office and investigated by Dallas Police detectives.

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