On behalf of Tualatinâ€™s Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3452 and its auxiliary, Potts was honored at the Royal Rosarian Foundationâ€™s eighth annual Newsmakers of the Year event at the Governor Hotel in downtown Portland on Wednesday, March 15.
The newsmakers are selected by Portland news media, and the VFW Post was recognized by Community Newspapers for â€œproviding untold and ongoing support to members of the military serving in the Middle East, as well as assistance for family members of soldiers serving abroad.â€
During the past couple of years, the VFW post, along with the help of the Korean War Veterans Association Oregon Trail Chapter, rallied community support for the 671st Army Engineer Company, gathering supplies and messages for the troops during a yearlong tour in Iraq and then threw the unit a parade and picnic in spring of 2004.
Community Newspapers is publisher of The Times (serving Tigard, Tualatin and Sherwood) and the Beaverton Valley Times. Times Associate Publisher Christine Moore made the presentation.
â€œIt was neat being a hero for a night,â€ said Potts after the event.
â€œSome of the other honorees were really deserving. A deputy sheriff who in one week risked his life twice, rescuing the driver of a car in an accident from a fiery inferno, and then disarming a knife-yielding mental patient without using his gun.â€
Others singled out by Portland-area media included a student who saved a teacher who collapsed with a heart attack by administering CPR and a woman â€œwho mortgaged her home to buy medicine and baby supplies for Katrina victims and then rented and drove a truck to deliver them,â€ Potts reported the next day.
â€œWe were No. 7 of eight presentations,â€ he said. â€œThe stage lights were blinding, and there was no way to see the audienceâ€™s reaction to what you were saying.
â€œI emphasized how we were influencing public opinion by getting the citizenry involved in troop support activies,â€ said Potts, himself a veteran of the Navy in the Vietnam era (having served in Vietnam’s coastal waters and earning two combat ribbons).
He said he urged that we â€œnever have a repeat of the terrible treatment of Vietnam vets when people associated politics with troops.â€