BG Dennis Merrill, USA (Ret) has over 35 years of public and military service. He served over 32 years with the Oregon Army National Guard, retiring in 2004. Additionally, he served as the United States Marshal for the District of Oregon from 2002 to 2010. Prior to his appointment as the United States Marshal, He served for 27 years with the Portland Police Bureau, retiring as a Captain in 2002.BG Merrill’s volunteer and community service endeavors include: co-coordinator and driver for DAV transportation program in Bend; an area coordinator for the Employer Support of Guard and Reserve; Advisory Board member of the National Guard Youth Challenge Program; President of the Oregon State Council of Chapters of the Military Officers Association of America; and Communications Chair/Board member of the Central Oregon Military Officers Association of America.His professional associations include Life member of the MOAA, VFW and Oregon Peace Officers Association.He is a native Oregonian. He graduated from Tigard High School and Portland State University. He currently resides in Powell Butte.
Vice President of the Board
Mike graduated from Lakeview High School, Lakeview, OR in 1962, and from Southern Oregon College in 1967. He joined the Marine Corps, and served as a infantry Platoon Commander in Vietnam in 1968 and 1969. He served as a Company Commander in 3 different commands. From Infantry, he transitioned to intelligence where he finished out his service as a Colonel in 1994.Mike then went on to become an instructor for Naval Junior ROTC at Mountain View High School, Bend, OR, retiring in 2005. He has also been a volunteer for Caring for Troops, Honor Flight, COVO, NJROTC, Toys for Tots, and other community groups. He married Dianne Fieguth 45 years ago. They have two children. Daughter Lindsey works for Consumer Cellar. Son Casey is a Major in the Marine Corps.
Secretary of the Board
Len De Groot
Len was born and raised near Green Bay, WI. developing a lifelong love of the Packers. He spent 11 years active Navy as a Sonar Tech getting an education in electronics. He then added to this education with an Associates Degree in Psychology, a Bachelor’s Degree in Business and a Master’s in Finance. Having a varied career which included Gremlin Industries, General Dynamics Convair, and IVAC Corporation, Len settled into his last 22 years before retirement with Hughes Network Systems as Manager of Installations for the Western US and Canada. Len connected with COVO at the 2011 Standdown, and has continued his interest in helping Vets through the Outreach program since then. He also volunteers with Mosaic Medical and the ELKS. In his spare time, he enjoys fishing (sometimes catching), hiking with his wife and dog (Annie), and RV-ing, enjoying life in Oregon.
Treasurer of the Board
Robert L. (Bob) Gordon
Bob graduated from McKinley High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa in 1950 and the University of Oregon in 1958 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, with a major in Accounting. He became an Enrolled Agent recognized by the U.S. Treasury Dept. IRS, in March of 1975 allowing him to represent his clients before that agency until his retirement in 2013.
He served four years from 1951 to 1955 with the Air Force, with three and one-half years of that service at the then active Air Force Base at Portland International Airport, now the facility for the Oregon Air National Guard. Three years of that time was in the Air Police and the final seven months before discharge was served as the NCOIC of the Portland Base Officers Club.
Bob is a life-time member of the Oregon Association of Independent Accountants, after serving for two years as President. He was a member of the National Society of Accountants and served two years as District Governor, a board member and numerous committees.
He also served the Oregon Board of Accountancy for two three year terms and as a result is a life-time member of the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy. He served Deschutes County Fair Association and was treasurer for 15 of 16 years as a board member and is an honorary life member of that Board.
He married Joan Dygert 61 years ago. They have two children, Daughter Glenda Hills and Son Dale. Glenda has three boys and Dale has a daughter.
JW was born and raised in Ashtabula, Ohio He joined the U.S. Navy in 1963 and served for over 30 years. He retired as a Chief of Naval Operations appointed Command Master Chief. After retiring from the navy he was on the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department, and Office Manager for Maricopa County Home Health Care Department. In 2000 he started teaching as an instructor for the Navy’s NROTC program in LaVerne, Ca. and came to Bend as an instructor at Mountain View High School in 2001. He is currently the State and Bend Chapter President of the Band of Brother’s, Commander of Post 4 American Legion, Lifetime member of Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 820 and Executive Officer U.S. Navy Sea Cadets, John Spence Division. He enjoys family time, golf and his 3 grandchildren, 2 great grandsons
Fred moved to Bend Oregon in March 2014 when he retired from the Veterans Administration after eighteen years of employment. He moved to Bend with his wife Joanne and dog Jazzy to be with family and enjoy the quality life style in the high desert. Fred worked for the Veterans Administration for nine-teen years both in Los Angeles, California and Portland Oregon. He was Assistant Vocational and Rehabilitational Officer. He managed 34 professional employees who acquired services for Veterans with physical and psychological disabilities. The task was to get Veterans training or independent living services so these Veterans could enjoy a better quality of life. Prior to his service with the Veterans Administration, he worked in sales management positions for major corporations in sales and marketing for twenty five years. Companies like Panasonic, Epson, Thermador Waste King, Polaroid and Talley Industries. Fred has a BS degree in Business Management from New Hampshire College and a MS degree in Counseling from California State University. Fred served four years in the United States Air Force that included a tour in Vietnam. He is a disabled Vietnam Veteran and understands the needs of other fellow Veterans.
Originally from Boston, he is a major fan of the Red Sox’s and New England Patriots.