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Letters, Oct. 3

Peace Corps still plays a role

Sixty years ago, Peace Corps was launched: I was 16 years old.

My social studies classmate reported on JFK’s project with, “Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country.” I was hooked.

I graduated, earned a certification that would qualify me at age 19, and was invited to training for Afghan 6. I took the oath to serve where many Afghans now asren’t able to live.

Where is Peace Corps in this picture? The stories, the memories, the relationships hold true. Afghanistan is still the place where people from many cultures built bonds without weapons or bribes.

It is a place of Buddhist sculptures. It is a place where Afghans born 30 years ago can never know. The volunteers who were there keep the records.

Returned Peace Corps Volunteers have a place. Oregon is committed to receiving Afghan refugees; we can pay back and use the welcoming words they had for us, “Hona hoditan ast!” Our home is yours. We celebrate years of Peace Corps that showed how to do this.

Barb Settles


In response to Roberts

I am compelled to respond to Commissioner Colleen Roberts’ comments on recent deaths in Jackson County hospitals. She asserts that these deaths are the results of “comorbidities.” “They have co-morbidities; they are not dying from COVID” (Colleen Roberts, Mail Tribune, Sept. 29).

I challenge Roberts to walk into any ICU in this country and repeat this statement to the folks that work there, watching what happens each and every hour through this pandemic.

The “Crisis situation” headline in today’s Mail Tribune doesn’t necessarily apply. Asante has National Guard personnel, extra staffing and they are dealing with a very difficult situation, however they are getting the job done.

I’m done with politics destroying simple, common-sense public health policy. Let’s start with getting rid of Roberts and her dangerous, destructive, dog-whistle comments to the far-right base in this county that threatens us all. It’s time to act, to protect all from a pathogen that doesn’t know the difference between Democrats and Republicans, liberals, conservatives and folks that live in a fantasy world.

Jim Akins