Local 189 Veteran of the Month

Veteran of the Month for January 2020

Nicholas Carroll

Nicholas Carroll works in the Noise Office within the Office of Community & Civic Life and serves as the Admin person for the Veterans Empowerment Team with the City of Portland and its Events Subcommittee Leader for the past four years.

Military tradition runs in Nicholas’ family. His grandfather and Great Uncle both served in the U.S. Army in World War II in the European theater of operations. His father and two of his uncles served in the U.S. Air Force. As a child of a career Air Force Officer father, Nicholas moved from military base to military base for the first 18 years of his life, with the dream location of Fulda, West Germany in the mid-1980s at the height of the Cold War. After graduation from high school (he was a senior the year the Berlin Wall came down and Nelson Mandela was released from prison in South Africa), he joined the Navy to see the world and landed a dream assignment right out of technical training school to the U.S. Submarine base at La Maddalena, Sardinia in Italy. During his time in Europe, he got to experience a changed landscape of easy travel to the formerly communist countries of Hungary and Czech Republic. His final duty station was on the aircraft carrier USS George Washington, based in Norfolk, Virginia.

A desire to attend college as a full-time student while still in his 20s led him to leave the Navy at the end of his five-year enlistment. He majored in International Politics at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah and in his final semester, served as an intern for Vice President Gore in the Office of the Vice President for Legislative Affairs in the U.S. Capitol building. The draw of the beauty and climate of the Pacific Northwest he had experienced during a Spring Trip road trip proved too strong for Nicholas to resist, so he moved to Portland in 2006 and worked for a non-profit organization and a music company before finding his career in government.

The idea to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall for the Veterans Empowerment Team’s 2019 Veterans Display in City Hall was based on his experience as a teenager in a divided Germany. For those who grew up during the Cold War, the Berlin Wall seemed like a permanent barrier that could never be breached, so the surprising events in the autumn of 1989 that led to the final tearing down of the wall marks a euphoric period in human history when anything seemed possible. Millions of people in six communist authoritarian government run countries were able to make their voices and demands heard and felt. Nicholas believes that it is important to be reminded of what is possible when people work in common cause to improve their lives and their societies.

The 2019 Veterans Display in City Hall ran from October 22nd through 29th and featured a 7 foot tall and 25 foot long “Berlin Wall Tribute Mural” painted by a local graffiti artist, Alexandra Morrison (daughter of AFSCME 189 member Louanne Moldavan), that divided the North Atrium space in half. Profile pages of 24 military veterans were also part of the display, as well as information about the history of the wall, its downfall, and excerpts from the historic speeches of Presidents Kennedy and Reagan about Berlin.