Local war veteran & Almeda Fire victim honored

MEDFORD, Ore. – A local war veteran who lost everything in the Almeda Fire was thanked in a special way.

83-year-old Bill Shrader said he’s lived a roller coaster of a 2020. After losing all of his possessions to the fire, he said he’s felt an overwhelming amount of support from the community.

Recently, Shrader recieved another vote of thanks, this time from an Oregon U.S. senator’s office.

Wednesday afternoon, representatives from Senator Ron Wyden’s office met with the Korean War veteran, along with his family, colleagues, and friends. At Veterans Park in Medford, he received new flags, medals and patriotic memorabilia to replace what was lost.

When reflecting on the past couple of months, he explained the fire has changed everything about how he lives each day. “Every time you want something, you don’t have it,” he said. “That’s exactly what it is, in a nutshell. You reach for a pair of hand clippers to clip your fingernails, there’s none there. It’s really hard to put words to it.”

He said since the devastation, the outreach of the community has been what’s keeping him going.

Honor Flight Oregon, the organization that sends vets on free trips to Washington D.C. to see their war memorials, also presented Shrader with memorabilia.

When NBC5 spoke to Shrader, he told us about the most important thing he was able to recover from his home’s charred remains. He gestured to a watch his wife had given him 50 years ago. He said the fact that he’s still able to hold on to that is what matters most.


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