Senate approves bill to rename Bend VA clinic after Robert Maxwell

The U.S. Senate on Friday passed a bill to rename the Veterans Affairs clinic in Bend after Robert Maxwell.

Maxwell, a Central Oregon war hero and Medal of Honor recipient, died last year at the age of 98. At the time of his death he was the oldest Medal of Honor recipient in the country.

Oregon’s congressional delegation introduced the legislation.

“Throughout Robert Maxwell’s time in uniform during World War II and later as a teacher in Central Oregon, he answered the call to serve and put the needs of others first,” said Sen. Jeff Merkley, who introduced the bill in the Senate. “Naming Bend’s VA clinic after Mr. Maxwell would be a fitting tribute to his service and commitment to his community, and I’m going to keep working to get this bill across the finish line and signed into law.”

After his courageous service, Maxwell worked as a teacher in Bend.

“Bob Maxwell was an American hero, public servant, and friend to all,” said Rep. Greg Walden, who introduced the companion legislation in the House. “Renaming the Bend VA Clinic after him will honor his dedication to this nation and serve as a reminder of all he gave to his community in Central Oregon and his lifelong commitment to helping his fellow service members.

Oregon’s congressional delegation previously wrote to the Chairs and Ranking Members of the Senate and House Veterans Affairs committees in support of the renaming.

The City of Bend,  American Legion Department of Oregon,Veterans of Foreign Wars Department of Oregon, and Disabled American Veterans Department of Oregon also advocated for the change.

There are currently six VA medical facilities across the country that are named after Medal of Honor recipients, including Loren R. Kaufman VA Clinic in The Dalles.

“Robert Maxwell’s World War II heroism for our country and then his service teaching generations of students in central Oregon exemplify the very best of our state,” Sen. Ron Wyden said. “I’m glad the Senate has passed this bill to honor Mr. Maxwell, and will keep fighting to complete the task of naming the VA clinic in Bend for this Medal of Honor winner and outstanding teacher.”

The next step for the bill is for it to pass the U.S. House of Representatives before being signed into law by the President.

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