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Central Point caravan will honor veterans

Not planning to sit idly by while Veterans Day festivities are put on hold due to COVID-19 restrictions, Care Team senior in-home care coordinators are rallying to put together a patriotic — albeit socially distanced — caravan of sorts to ensure senior veterans trapped at home this year feel appreciated.

Leading the charge, a pair of veterans on a 2013 Can-Am Spyder motorcycle will display a banner commemorating their combined service in three separate wars.

The driver, 87-year-old Rex Orcutt of Medford, served in both the Korean and Vietnam War, while his passenger, 95-year-old Jim Holbrook is a veteran of World War II.

Orcutt, who spent 21 years in the Navy, said he noticed a flier on the wall of the Central Point senior center and thought it would be fun to join in.

“I just thought it would be fun, so I had a banner made and put on the bike right out front — it stands out like a sore thumb. It says, ‘We Served — World War II, Korean, Vietnam,’” Orcutt said.

“I don’t know how many people will show up or if I’m the only veteran but I belong to the senior center so I did ask this other gentleman — he’s a 95-year-old World War 2 vet – and he looked at me like I was an idiot,” Orcutt said with a laugh.

“But then he said, ‘Sure, why not?’”

With most Veterans Day festivities canceled or watered down due to pandemic concerns, Joni Shale, Care Team Senior In-Home Care community relations director, said a small parade would be a way to honor veterans in the Central Point community where her agency serves.

Shale said the caravan is open to any participants willing to decorate cars, trucks or motorcycles, as well as veterans in the city who would enjoy looking outside at a display of heartfelt patriotic “Thanks!”

“The whole thing started because everything is pretty closed down, and we just felt like, what are our veterans going to do? We decided it would be fun to dress up all of our team members and decorate our cars to drive by all their houses,” Shale said.

“The state just got through saying, ‘Don’t go anywhere for two weeks.’ Our older veteran population especially should stay home. We figured if they can’t come out, we’ll just have to go to them.”

Shale said participants would dress up and decorate cars with streamers, stars and stripes, and poster boards. Assisted-living facilities on the list so far include Pear Valley Senior Living and Alderwood Senior Living, which will have veterans sitting the required 6 feet apart in the fresh outdoor air.

“Usually the Boy Scouts will come out and raise a flag at some of these places or do a little something. We just couldn’t imagine there being nothing this year,” Shale added.

“We only have about 10 cars so far, but at least it’s something we can do.”

The caravan will head out at 10 a.m. from the Freeman Court cul-de-sac. Participants are asked to show up by 9:30 a.m. with vehicles, signs, banners and balloons ready to go.

To have a veteran added to the list or for information about the caravan, call 541-816-4400 or email info@careteamsenior.com.

Reach freelance writer Buffy Pollock at buffyp76@yahoo.com.

Jamie Lusch / Mail Tribune Rex Orcutt will lead a caravan of decorated vehicles on Wednesday for Central Point Senior Veterans.