McCarthy heads Veterans Center in Freeland

The Veterans Resource Center in Freeland has hired an executive director.

Dr. Fred McCarthy, former South Whidbey public schools superintendent and a community leader, will take on the challenge of helping the nonprofit center re-establish its presence on Whidbey Island, according to a press release.

The VRC’s mission is to promote efforts within the community to heal the effects of war on veterans, family members and the communities to which they are returning from war and military service.

McCarthy, well known on Whidbey Island for his work in public schools, civic clubs, nonprofit agencies, chambers of commerce and faith communities, is not as well known as a veteran. He served during Vietnam as an Army Warrant Officer and helicopter pilot during the 1968 Tet Offensive in South Vietnam.

“When I was 21 years old I was an aircraft commander in helicopter gunships with the 121st Assault Helicopter Company, operating out an airfield in the Mekong Delta near the town of Soc Trang,” McCarthy said. “A month and a half after I arrived in country the Tet Offensive of 1968 occurred. I flew 1,300 hours of combat missions during my year in Vietnam and had my share of adventures during that memorable time in my life.”

Following his experience in Vietnam, McCarthy went on to become a teacher and school administrator, ultimately serving 38 years in four public school districts in Washington State and also at a private school in Seattle.

A veteran himself and the son of two World War II veterans, McCarthy said he has a deep, abiding respect for the men and women who have served our country in the military.

“I am honored to take on this work with the VRC,” he said. “We have the mission of helping the courageous men and women and their families, who have served our country and given so much, to return to an active  contributing life in their home communities. I have been blessed with the opportunity to make this transition myself and am looking forward to helping other veterans have a similar experience.”

McCarthy said he looks forward spreading the mission and services of the VRC throughout Whidbey Island communities. Contact him by calling 360-331-8081 or by email at

The next community event being planned by the VRC is a Veterans Standdown from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 5 at American Legion Post 141 in Bayview. There will be agencies and service providers on hand to help veterans register with the VA and access other community services.


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