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Jan-19-2009 00:25printcommentsVideo

Oregonians Turn Out for Service of Major Thomas Egan (VIDEO)

Thomas Egan had been living alone and without a roof over his head when he died. He had friends and at least one distant relative, but this vet passed away as a forgotten man.

Memorial for Maj. Thomas L. Egan ret.
Images of the service for Maj. Thomas L. Egan
Courtesy: Q Madp VietnamWarHeroes.org

(EUGENE, Ore.) - Maj Thomas L. Egan was a retired Oregon National Guard officer who the world seemed to forget, and then remember, but just a little too late. The 60-year old veteran was found in mid-December frozen to death on a Eugene, Oregon sidewalk, near the corner of West First Avenue and Blair Boulevard.

This veteran was remembered and honored Saturday at the Oregon Guard Armory in Eugene at 1:30 PM. One of the people sure to attend events like this is Q Madp of IraqWarHeroes.org.

Long before this site that documents every life lost in Iraq and Afghanistan, Q began founded VietnamWarHeroes.org. This site documents the lives of those who served during the Vietnam War.

He says he counted 53 people in attendance for Major Thomas L. Egan's memorial service. He said there were also 23 members of the Patriot Guard Riders, a group that makes a point of honoring those who served.

Based on what is known, Thomas Egan had been living alone and without a roof over his head when he died. He did have friends and at least one distant relative, but this soldier slipped through the cracks as all too many veterans do in this age, Madp says.

"You know, he had no family, so we all came as a family to honor him. He had a couple of friends who attended and also a couple of people who served with him."

He continued, "We spend billions of dollars helping people in far away places who don't like us, but we have veterans freezing to death in this country."

Madp says it is a bad situation and more outreach needs to take place for American veterans, many of whom are stricken with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of their military service and contribution to their country.


Regarding Thomas Egan's homelessness and reported alcohol problem, Madp said, "It almost sounds like they're trying to make it his fault, and maybe it is, but we the people should have helped him."

At least two retired Oregon Guard general officers attended the event Saturday; underscoring the care that does exist for people like Major Egan.

"We should not forget and neglect our veterans, yet it takes place all too often," Madp said.

I asked Q if he believes this case to be isolated.

"Hell no" he answered. "This one people are hearing about because his friends who cared pushed it into the media. If people hadn't pushed it the way they did, I think his death would have just gone to the side."

Eugene's KVAL TV news and other organizations did take the time to cover the memorial for Major Egan. It is a sad loss and a sad story, but there was respect for him in the end.

For more images from the service, please visit Q Madp's VietnamWarHeroes.org/egan.htm

Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor.
Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 in Afghanistan with Oregon troops. Tim recently returned from Iraq where he covered the war there while embedded with an Oregon Guard aviation unit. Serving the community in very real terms, Salem-News.com is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website, affiliated with Google News and several other major search engines and news aggregators.
You can send Tim an email at this address: newsroom@salem-news.com




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td March 23, 2012 6:43 am (Pacific time)

RESPECT...


eric c. July 4, 2009 11:42 am (Pacific time)

i am NOT american,but i did serve in the military as an officer..I think i do understand well the situation of the late Maj.T. Egan ,ON THE OTHER HAND I ABSOLUTELY DO NOT UNDERSTAND how a rich country as the USA,witch plenty of resources both financial and human,does not MAKE IT A TOP PRIORITY to look after the ones THAT LOOKED AFTER THEM,willing to sacrifice even their lives..THE*BIG SHOTS* in the MILITARY SHOULD BE MORE THAN EMBARRESED AND ASHAMED...WHERE WERE THEY WHEN THE MAJOR WAS STILL ALIVE and in DESPERATE NEED of some kind of help,emotionaly and or financially..????


Major Frank Clark, US Army retired April 30, 2009 10:13 pm (Pacific time)

I just read your article on Tom Egan. Very sad. I took Egan under my wings when he first reported in to Korea. The photos in the obit were from that time. !/72d Armor, 2nd Infantry Division. I have been hunting for him for about 10 years. There were 3 of us that hung together in Korea and Ft Bliss, TX. We used to call each other every St Patrick's day. Egan left Ft. Bliss in 1976, I left in 77, the 3rd man, Moriarty left in 78. I probably knew more about Egan than any man alive back then. He was very tight about his past. The brass wasn't fond of him, but his troops loved him and they were a top unit. Major Frank Clark, US Army retired Oklahoma City


Mike Weaver January 21, 2009 5:28 am (Pacific time)

We should all be ashamed that this occured in a midst.


http://pot-you-mentary.com January 19, 2009 8:24 pm (Pacific time)

Thanks for having the courage to publish this story.After 20 months of chronic ptsd and and being denied the help by the VA,I hope GOD will provide you that same courage to tell my story if it ends like Major Egan's life ended. And please don't forget to mention my dog was the only living thing that cared about me.FOR THE RECORD..I never have used alcohol or street drugs.God could never provide consistently the ptsd meds for me in a safe manner in order to kep the faith. WELCOME HOME BROTHERS.


Vic January 19, 2009 6:47 pm (Pacific time)

Memories....well said..what a great story, too..


Memories January 19, 2009 9:40 am (Pacific time)

I recall during my youth seeing many WWII and Korean veterans in the downtown core area of Portland , Oregon (much different city then) who were no doubt homeless. They often were called drunken bums or other negative names. My father often hired them (a WWII vet himself) for labor jobs around our property. Fed them and paid them a good wage for their work. Often I would see the same men over and over working around the house as the years went by. I ended up knowing many of these men fairly well, but I had no idea what the demons were that they were fighting. My father knew and did what he could. Years later when I was also a combat veteran I started thinking about these men from my youth, and I unfortunately knew myself the demons they were fighting. Supporting our veterans may not offer a cure, but it will go a long ways in helping them live a life with more dignity than say calling them drunken (or drug addicted) bums. Over the years the people that I observed that best overcame their combat memories, were those who were recognized for their sacrifices. This is not a matter of political ideology as to who best provides for our veterans, it is providing for them regardless of ideology or the political hay one makes by denigrigating another political party.


Karen Swanson January 19, 2009 6:31 am (Pacific time)

Thomas Egan will always be remembered as the hero that served to protect our freedom.

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