Sue Long-Hosek’s first husband was a Vietnam combat veteran who battled post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for more than 40 years before he took his own life.
Long-Hosek was determined that his tragic struggle not be just another story among countless other military veterans who battle demons silently without any hope of overcoming them.
In 2017, she and her husband, Ron Hosek, along with others dedicated to helping veterans with PTSD, planted the seed that has developed into the Pacific Northwest Veterans Alliance, which became a 501(c)3 organization in 2019. They moved into their new space on Hurlburt Avenue in January.
On Thursday, they celebrated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony hosted by the Hermiston Chamber of Commerce.
“We are just honored with the show of support from this community,” Long-Hosek said.
PNW Veterans Alliance is for veterans and their families in Umatilla, Morrow and Union counties. Along with offering support for those with PTSD, the organization also provides assistance with rent, utilities and food, among other needs more difficult to anticipate.
For example, in January PNW Veterans Alliance got a call from a family member of a veteran from Pendleton. He had been hospitalized in Twin Falls when he died. His family had no way of transporting him to Pendleton from Twin Falls. Within 24 hours, PNW Veterans Alliance arranged for them to bring him back home.
The organization is funded primarily through the support Amazon and the Wildhorse Foundation.
“We’ve helped out 10 times more veterans with the support of our sponsors,” said Ron Hosek.
It also hosts an annual funderaiser, the Conrad Skinner Memorial Golf Tournament at Umatilla’s Big River Golf Course, which Ron Hosek co-owns. Vets play for free thanks to a financial contribution from the city of Umatilla.
PNW Veterans Alliance also offers a support group for vets called Dave’s Journey, named after Long-Hosek’s first husband. Vets meet every other month to socialize and offer support to one another.
“Veterans heal veterans when they can sit down and talk,” Sue Long-Hosek said. The next meeting is on March 20 from 7-8 p.m. at the Agape House on Harper Road.
PNW Veterans Alliance has one paid employee, Executive Director Shannon White. Its 10-member board puts in hours of volunteer work.
Long-Hosek said she is overwhelmed by how far they have come in just a few short years.
“This has been a dream of mine and it’s taken all of the help from a lot of people to make it come true,” she said.
For more information, to request services or to donate, visit the PNW Veterans Alliance website.