Brigadier General 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. He served for 27 years with the Portland Police Bureau, retiring as a Captain in 2002. Dennis’ 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..
Mike 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.
Secretary of the Board – Len De Groot
Len 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.
Treasurer of the Board – Robert L. (Bob) Gordon
Bob served from 1951 to 1955 with the Air Force. He graduated from 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.
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.
Director – Fred Coelyn
Fred served four years in the United States Air Force that included a tour in Vietnam. Fred has a BS degree in Business Management from New Hampshire College and a MS degree in Counseling from California State University. Fred worked for the Veterans Administration for nineteen years both in Los Angeles, California, and Portland, Oregon, as Assistant Vocational and Rehabilitational Officer. Prior to his service with the Veterans Administration, he worked in sales management positions for major corporations in sales and marketing for twenty five yearswith Panasonic, Epson, Thermador Waste King, Polaroid and Talley Industries. He is a disabled Vietnam Veteran and understands the needs of other fellow Veterans.
Director – Casey Baxter
Casey Baxter is founder of Baxter Harder, LLC law firm. Born and raised in Oregon, Casey has a unique view into the specific issues that affect our local residents. After high school in Bend, OR, Casey enlisted in the United States Marine Corp as a Helicopter Crew Chief. His experience in criminal litigation includes being a former Deschutes County Deputy District Attorney and prior Treasurer and President of the Deschutes County District Attorney’s Association. Casey also hold associated with the National Trial Lawyers Association, Bend Attorney Group, Oregon Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, American Institute of DUI/DWI Attorneys, DUI Defense Lawyers Association and the Deschutes County Bar Association.
Executive Director – JW Terry
JW joined the U.S. Navy in 1963 and served for 32 years, retiring 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, and a past Commander of Post 4 American Legion, a Lifetime member of Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 820 and Executive Officer of the U.S. Navy Sea Cadets, John Spence Division. He has served as Executive Director of COVO since 2015.