Pin It
Favorite

The Veteran: Richard "Dick" Gorby 

click to enlarge dick-gorby.jpg

Richard "Dick" Gorby's office in the Deschutes County Parole and Probation building is lined with pictures. A photograph of his father in military dress, a map of wartime Vietnam and photos of Gorby holding plaques, surrounded by veterans, family, friends and the parolees he works with every day.

Gorby, a Vietnam veteran - he served as a minesweeper from '63 to '65 - has always been active in veterans affairs. But it wasn't until just 15 years ago when he realized he suffered from PTSD related to the war that he changed his profession from marketing to social services, leaving behind what he called his "money years."


Gorby now runs cognitive programs for those on parole and probation, helping to "correct" thinking and reintegrate offenders back into society.

"I love mental health," he says as he shows me books upon books on cognitive thinking. "Mental health is the key to success."

And he should know. Gorby himself still battles PTSD and tears up when talking about the current crop of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. He says that he feels the need to help others because of his experiences in Vietnam. In addition to working with incarcerated veterans in his job, Gorby also serves on the board of Vietnam Veterans of America, Oregon State Council, where he was president for five years.

When I arrive at Gorby's office, he takes out a thick folder. In it are heartfelt thank you letters from veterans and offenders he's helped, from a former criminal he facilitated rehab for to a veteran in Christmas Valley who has received VA claims because of Gorby's advocacy. There are letters about a new active duty license plate and a court specifically for veterans, which are both in the process of being instated, thanks in part to Gorby's work.

While Gorby is proud of his work with offenders, he feels his most important work is with incarcerated veterans.

"I like to think I serve the veteran, not the criminal," he says."They have it tough. They're going out and serving their country and coming back to no jobs. They did not leave for duty a criminal. They're coming back and doing criminal things."

Gorby has made a name for himself as a vocal, passionate advocate for incarcerated veterans. And lucky for them, Gorby, 66, has no plans to retire.

"Ain't going to happen," he says with a smile.

Richard "Dick" Gorby

Age: 66

Occupation: Cognitive Programs Specialist, Parole and Probation, Deschutes County

Family: Married to Diane Gorby. Children: Scott, 40 and Matt, 34.

Personal hero: "The men and women who serve our country."

More in Local Heroes

  • The Doctor: Clarence Carnahan

    The Doctor: Clarence Carnahan

    It's not that Clarence Carnahan doesn't know what to do with his golden years. Carnahan plays tennis twice a week. He likes to travel and play golf. But the 83-year-old doctor still makes the trip into the Veteran's Affairs (VA) office in Bend once a week to meet with ex-soldiers, some whose service dates back to World War II, to help them deal with the lingering effects of combat. A veteran himself, Carnahan was drafted into the service during the Second World War, but gives little thought to his own service, which he describes as light duty. The men he has treated over the years as a VA psychiatrist are the heroes, Carnahan says.
    • Feb 25, 2011
  • The Flight Nurse: Deidre Heinrich

    The Flight Nurse: Deidre Heinrich

    Deidre Heinrich wouldn't label herself a hero. In fact, when we told her she was nominated as a local hero, she spent a few minutes trying to convince us why it's her job, not her, that is heroic. But no matter what she says, Heinrich saves people's lives on a daily basis in a profession that was named the most dangerous in America by the Wall Street Journal. Heinrich, who also volunteers her time at many local charities, including the Bethlehem Inn, the Red Cross and the Bend Community Center, works 24-hour shifts as a flight nurse for St. Charles Medical Center. Each morning Heinrich heads to work, she is debriefed with her crew, which includes pilots, respiratory therapists and other flight nurses, and prepares her plane or helicopter for the unknown. Depending upon the day, Heinrich and her three-person team may respond to as many as six calls during a 24-hour period.
    • Feb 25, 2011
  • The Jack (or Jill) of all Trades: Jill Hodgson

    The Jack (or Jill) of all Trades: Jill Hodgson

    Jill Hodgson likes to call herself a "broke philanthropist," which is not just funny, but probably also an apt description of her role as a jack-of-all-trades do-gooder in Central Oregon. Her job finds her as the volunteer coordinator at Common Table, downtown Bend's nonprofit restaurant, but her work extends far beyond that role. She's a poet who speaks about social change, she provides a helping hand to the city's homeless youth, helps out with arts education, coordinates neighborhood food growing efforts and, on top of all that, is always looking to help out friends and neighbors who also want to get involved in bettering the community.
    • Feb 25, 2011
  • The Rescuer: Geoff Frank

    The Rescuer: Geoff Frank

    When he's outside Tumalo Creek Kayak and Canoe, the popular water sports store he owns, Geoff Frank keeps a close ear on what's happening just feet from his back door on the Deschutes River. Frank and his employees are in the business of selling, renting and instructing people in the use of kayaks and canoes, but during the summer months, they've taken on an additional responsibility - listening for signs of distress near the Colorado Avenue bridge where floaters have in the past been known to find themselves in trouble.
    • Feb 25, 2011
  • The Teacher: Robert Tadjiki

    The Teacher: Robert Tadjiki

    Robert Tadjiki spends his days helping special needs students overcome disabilities by making sure that they focus on what they can do. A special education teacher at Bend High School, Tadjiki has been recognized for his outstanding work by the Oregon governor's office. In 2005, USA Today named Tadjiki to its annual teacher all-star list for his innovative approach to instruction. But it was a trip to China that truly expanded Tadjiki's horizons. There he met the director of a local orphanage who was selling traditional Chinese artwork in a public square. Tadjiki introduced himself and learned that the work was the product of Chinese orphans and that the proceeds were used to support the orphanage. The chance encounter led to the formation of a novel non-profit business, EChO (Educating Chinese Orphans) that is building schools for Chinese orphans, a la Greg Mortenson and Three Cups of Tea in Pakistan.
    • Feb 25, 2011
  • The Soldier: Ryan James Craig

    The Soldier: Ryan James Craig

    The word "hero" is sometimes applied quite literally, which is the case with Madras native Ryan Craig. He joined the Army after doing a stint as a carpenter and was nearly killed by a sniper's bullet that pierced his combat helmet during a patrol in Kabul. Ryan, 23, was scrambling to assist a pair of injured soldiers after his unit came under fire from insurgents when he was hit. A brawny young man who played both offensive and defensive line for the Madras High School football team, Ryan literally carried the big gun in his patrol, a .308 caliber, Mach 48, designed to pin down enemy soldiers and keep them hunkered.
    • Feb 25, 2011
  • The Trail Angel: Lloyd Gust is a Pacific Coast Trail hiker's best friend

    The Trail Angel: Lloyd Gust is a Pacific Coast Trail hiker's best friend

    Lloyd Gust has never met a hiker he didn't like, and he's met a lot. Gust has been hiking the Pacific Crest Trail since 1946, or if you ask him, "back in the stone age." For the past 11 years, Gust has volunteered his time as a Pacific Crest Trail Angel, helping hikers on the trail by providing them with water while also bringing them into Bend and Sisters for medical care, a warm night's rest and plenty of beer, food and entertainment. Each year Gust helps between 200 and 250 hikers who are in need in his area of the trail, which stretches from Windigo Pass, near Crater Lake, to just south of Mt. Hood.
    • Feb 25, 2011
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Latest in Local Heroes

More by Sara Roth

© 2016 LAY IT OUT INC | 704 NW GEORGIA, BEND, OREGON 97703  |   Privacy Policy

Website powered by Foundation