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New Central Oregon POW/MIA memorial in the works

Bend man's nonprofit searches for, finds missing service members

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ)-- Project Recover is a national nonprofit organization that searches for and locates Americans missing in action from America's past conflicts, dating back to World War II.

Their efforts help bring closure to families across the nation, and now they are working to bring a memorial to Central Oregon that honors Gold Star Families.

A Gold Star Family consists of the immediate family for a service member who lost their life in a time of conflict.

Project Recover has repatriated 13 Americans, and is working to find the location of 87 others from around the U.S.

Derek Abbey of Bend, the founder and CEO of Project Recover, said Thursday the impact will be similar to that of U.S. Highway 26 recently being dedicated to prisoners of war and missing in action service members.

He noted the impact Project Recover and the memorial can have on the community.

"Well, the biggest support we can provide is answers for what happened to their loved ones," Abbey said. "Believe it or not, even seven generations-plus later, if we are looking at the World War II loss, that grievance, that impact on that family is really passed from generation to generation."

"In our interactions with those families," he continued, "we have seen that the pain is still there, questions are still there, and they want to know what happened. Many times, we can provide answers to that, and in actuality, provide the return of their loved ones.”

Abbey is partnering with the Hershel Woody Williams Medal of Honor Foundation to try and bring the memorial to Brooks Park.

The Hershel Woody Williams Foundation will fund the memorial.
Abbey said their efforts have been paused due to the coronavirus pandemic.

To learn moresd or to donate to the effort, visit: https://www.projectrecover.org/

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Arielle Brumfield

Arielle Brumfield is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Arielle here.

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