Locken: Ice Cream Patrol brings joy and encouragement

To the Editor:

There is a small group of our finest veterans in La Grande who devoted their younger years to defending our country, and they are still giving. The group called “Vets Ice Cream Patrol” includes Fred Alexis, Butch Boettcher, Jerry Blankenship, Russell Fowler, Darrel Plank and Tucker Billman.

Each Friday morning, they visit veterans who are now in a foster care facility and take small cups of ice cream to share with them. Fred’s wife, Hazel, has crocheted hats and scarves for the veterans they visit. The joy and encouragement this group brings to the disabled veterans is just heartwarming. Their dedication is amazing.

We contribute during poppy time to the cause of veterans and thank them for their service. This group shares their time and are giving back on a one-on-one basis. I am grateful they shared some of that with me, and for their dedication to those who have served. They remind other veterans that they are not forgotten. That is pretty special.

Nell Locken

La Grande

Cohen: Be wary of well-funded political activities

To the Editor:

I recently purchased a shackle and clevis pin at a local store. It’s a nicely made piece of forged steel. The quality seems very good. The tag on it says, on the front, “Koch Industries.” On the back, it says “Made in China.”

Koch Industries is run and almost completely owned by brothers Charles and David Koch. They are American billionaires. They support a lot of political activities through their donations that amount to many millions of dollars. Their political stance seems to be classic Libertarian: They don’t believe the government should interfere with their business activities unless their business is threatened. In that case, the government should protect them. If you see organization names like “Americans for Prosperity” or “Citizens for a Sound Economy,” then you are seeing their activities.

People who are interested in our economy support stopping illegal immigration into this country. They believe that is why jobs like foundry work are hard to find.

No immigrant caused Koch Industries to import foundry-made items from China. They simply look at it as a way to make another few billion dollars. Higher pay for American workers would cost them money.

I am very wary of well-funded political activities. There are billionaires behind a lot of those TV ads. I don’t need advice from billionaires on anything. When I see an ad that says, “Paid for by …,” I ask myself, “Where did the money come from?” When I get an unsolicited call telling me how to vote on an issue, I ask, “Who paid you to make this call?”

A couple of quotes from religious texts that don’t happen to be my own (but I respect them) give us some guidance on politics and current affairs.

“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” (Matthew 19:23-26).

“Worship none but Allah. Treat with kindness your parents and kindred, and orphans and those in need; speak fair to the people; be steadfast in prayer; and practice charity regularly” (Quran 2:83).

Ira Mark Cohen