ETCETERA - Walla Walla couple awarded medals for meritorious service

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The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Afghanistan Engineer District-North celebrated the accomplishments and meritorious service of military service members and civilians, including Barbara and Phillip Benge of Walla Walla. The July 3 award ceremony was at AED-North Qalaa House Compound in Kabul, Afghanistan, according to a release from J.D. Hardesty, spokesman for USACE-AED-H, Qalaa House.

The awards covered four categories: Achievement Award for Civilian Service, Global War on Terrorism Civilian Service Department of Defense Medal and NATO Medal; Commander's Award for Civilian Service, Global War on Terrorism Civilian Service Department of Defense Medal and NATO Medal; Superior Civilian Service Award, Global War on Terrorism Civilian Service Department of Defense Medal and NATO Medal; and Joint Service Commendation Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal and the NATO Medal.

Barbara and Phillip, who both serve with the Walla Walla District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, were among seven recipients of the Commander's Award for Civilian Service, Global War on Terrorism Civilian Service Department of Defense and NATO medals.

A project manager lead from Dec. 23, 2009-July 3, 2011, Barbara was cited as "a valuable performer and example for others through her selfless service and dedication in chairing source selection evaluation boards, which performed comprehensive reviews and evaluations of solicitation proposals and developed summary reports instrumental to the award of contracts totaling over $500 million."

Phillip was also a project manager lead and served with Barbara in Afghanistan during the same time frame. He was chairman and a board member for source selection evaluation boards that evaluated contractor bid proposals and provided recommendations to the contracting office that were instrumental in the award of contracts with a value of $462 million. "Mr. Benge provided invaluable support in the development of vital infrastructure facilities and security upgrades that totaled over $7.5 million in execution."

The Corps of Engineers is the lead organization that builds army bases, police stations, roads, airstrips and other infrastructure projects in Afghanistan to increase the country's stability and economy, according to a release. The Corps of Engineers has two districts in the country -- Afghanistan Engineer District-North, based in Kabul; and Afghanistan Engineer District-South, based in Kandahar.

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For the 66th year in a row, Chief Joseph Days will offer what it bills as one of the best small-town rodeos in the country in Joseph, Ore.

The event includes 2 p.m. slack and 7 p.m. PRCA rodeo with $12 admission July 27-28; 2 p.m. slack and 7 p.m. PRCA rodeo July 29; and 2:30 p.m. slack and 7 p.m. PRCA rodeo on July 30 with $15 covered and $13 uncovered seating.

They will offer the specialty act of barrelman John Harrison from Soper, Okla., a Nez Perce Friendship Feast, Native American dancing and Main Street shopping vendors.

Additional activities include a 9 p.m. casino night in the Thunder room on July 28; 10 a.m. junior parade on Main Street, and live music in the Thunder room at 9 p.m. with an all-teen dance at the Joseph Community Center on July 29; and the 10 a.m. grand parade on Main Street, live music in the Thunder Room and all-teen dance at Joseph Community Center at 9 p.m. and an all-night cowboy breakfast at 11 p.m. on July 30.

Tickets can be ordered at 541-432-1015 or see www.chiefjosephdays.com.

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Steve Henderson builds special, reusable packing boxes from scratch in which to ship his paintings.

Wife Carolyn said the Dayton artist has been constructing a lot of the protective cardboard containers lately because a number of his works have been accepted into national shows.

The National American Society of Marine Artists selected Steve's view of Pacific Coast wave action. Called "Opalescent Sea," it's one of 86 works included in its 15th exhibition. A 20-member jury panel reviewed 450-plus paintings by ASMA artists for the two-year traveling show, Carolyn said in a release. It will be featured in eight major art museums nationwide. The tour will kick off Oct. 17 in Delray Beach, Fla., but Opalescent Sea is currently on exhibit at Wenaha Gallery in Dayton.

Another of Steve's fine art paintings, "Madonna and Child," is one of only 82 works chosen from a field of more than 600 entries to be accepted to the 2011 Best of America Exhibition by the National Oil and Acrylic Painters' Society. The show will run Sept. 11-Oct. 28 at Dunnegan Gallery of Art in Bolivar, Mo. The figurative work may be viewed at the Weinhard Hotel in Dayton,

Steve is also sending works to the International Marine Art Exhibition at the Maritime Museum in Mystic, Conn.; the Maritime Art Exhibition at Coos Art Museum, Coos Bay, Ore.; and Nautica 2011 at Ventura County Maritime Museum, Oxnard, Calif.

In August, he will be featured artist at Lawrence Gallery, Sheridan Ore. In October, he will join two local pottery artists, Shanna Fledderjohann and Roberta Zimmerman, for a show at the Allied Arts Gallery, Richland, and will travel to Puyallup, Wash., for the Fred Oldfield Celebration of Western and Wildlife Art.

Find out more about Steve and his work at www.stevehendersonfineart.com .

Etcetera appears in daily and Sunday editions. Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at annieeveland@wwub.com or 526-8313.

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