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In Gratitude to Our Heroes

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Washington, November 9, 2017 | comments

Washington, D.C.  – There is no institution in this world that commands such unwavering respect as the United States military. Veterans Day is a day of national remembrance — a special occasion to honor all the men and women in uniform, past and present, who took up arms in defense of our great Nation. It is our duty as Americans — not just on Veterans Day, but every day — to remember the sacrifices they’ve made and to make certain that our commitments to them and to their families are honored.

I’m proud that the 10th District is home to such awe-inspiring heroes, like Curry Haynes, the man who was awarded ten Purple Hearts for his bravery on the battlefield during Vietnam. Also from our community are Staff Sergeant Richard Hunter, who, with one hand, dragged his wounded friend to safety under enemy fire in Afghanistan, and Dalton Smith, who witnessed the surrender of a German unit at the end of World War II. These men are not the exception; however, they are just a handful of the many, many servicemembers who have dedicated their lives to protecting what we value the most. 

Despite the sacrifices our veterans have made for our Nation, many face immense struggles when they return home – from long waits at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to problems with housing, mental health, and educational benefits. This year, Congress has been working hard to pass significant reforms to provide our veterans the services they have earned and deserve. For example, H.R. 3218, the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act, also known as the “Forever GI Bill,” was signed into law in August. This bill puts an end to the 15-year time limit for veterans to use their GI bill benefits, making it available to them throughout their lifetimes. In June, S. 1094, the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act, became law, which makes it easier to demote, suspend, and fire VA officials for misconduct or poor performance. The measure will also expand protections for whistleblowers within the VA to ensure that wrongdoing is reported and corrected. Just last week, the House advanced 14 veterans-related bills that will better serve our Nation's heroes and their overall well-being.

Although the debt we owe to these heroes can never be repaid, the brave men and women who have served in our Armed Forces deserve our utmost respect. That’s why, in addition to my work in Washington, I organized two events in appreciation of the noble men and women who have served our country. On Friday, I held a “Veterans Appreciation Coffee” to thank them for their service and demonstrate our gratitude. Next Saturday, November 18th, in partnership with Senator David Perdue and Jefferson County, my office will be hosting a “Helping Our Heroes” event at the Jefferson County Leisure Center, where we will be offering information on filing claims, veterans’ housing, benefits, suicide prevention, support for those with disabilities, employment, and more. Veterans may also enjoy a continental breakfast and turkey giveaway. While these are just a few small ways that we can thank our local heroes, I want every hero to know that it is my honor to serve those who have served us. As always, I encourage anyone seeking help with the VA or other federal agencies to reach out to my office at (770) 207-1776. My dedicated staff there will do their best to ensure a favorable outcome. May God bless our veterans, and may God bless America.

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Featured in the Covington News on Friday, November 10th. 

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