It is ironic that Napoleon Hodgers is heading up the Portland chapter of the National Association for Black Veterans, a nonprofit organization that is one of the most active veterans assistance organizations in the country.

A self-described "military brat," Hodgers swore as a child he would never enlist because of how many times his family moved when his father was in the U.S. Army. And as an African American who grew up in Detroit after his father got out of the military, he was repeatedly warned he would never see his 60th birthday, which happened this year.