COLUMN: Celebrating Our Veterans Every Day
This Saturday is an important one for our nation. It is a day to remember the service and sacrifice of our veterans. Since the founding of our nation, brave men and women have answered the call to serve during times of peace, and during times of great need. They put their lives on hold, often missing birthdays and anniversaries with their loves ones, in order to defend the many liberties that we as Americans hold dear. Without their bravery, we would not be the land of the free and the world would be a less stable one.
We are fortunate to have many veterans living among us in Colorado’s Third Congressional District. In fact, Pueblo, Colorado has the proud title “Home of Heroes” due to the high number of Medal of Honor recipients who lived there. I always look forward to spending Veterans Day at home, honoring these heroes at different events throughout the district. Honoring our veterans just one day a year is not enough though, and in some way, every day should be Veterans Day, dedicated to improving the lives of our nation’s heroes and thanking them for all they have done.
In the House we remain focused on working to ensure veterans receive the recognition and benefits they have earned. That is why this week, my colleagues and I voted on several measures to guarantee veterans receive the health care and support they deserve year round.
We all know that combat can take a terrible physical toll. However, many more who serve face psychological and emotional wounds from experiencing things that the rest of us will never be able to understand.
That’s why I was especially proud to support legislation (H.R. 918), sponsored by my friend and colleague Representative Mike Coffman to allow the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to provide early mental health evaluations and other vital mental healthcare services to veterans at risk. It will even provide these services to veterans who have not been honorably discharged. Very often, misbehavior by a service member is the result of the trauma that they experienced during their service, making it more critical than ever to provide them with the support they need.
I was also proud to support The Veterans E-Health and Telemedicine Support (VETS) Act of 2017. This legislation will create a VA state licensure exemption, allowing VA-credentialed health care professionals to work across state borders to perform tele-medicine without having to acquire a new license in that state. This is especially important as it better enables our VA professionals to provide veterans who live in rural areas with greater access to the healthcare services that they deserve.
After everything that our veterans have done for us, we must always ensure that we are standing up for them. While we have a lot more to do to ensure the success of our heroes, both of these measures are important steps forward.
To all of you who have served, thank you from the bottom of my heart for stepping up for your fellow Americans. Your service is greatly appreciated, and we all owe you a tremendous debt of gratitude that can never fully be repaid. As Americans, I believe that we all share a commitment to ensuring that the benefits our veterans have earned work for them. I’m dedicated to that common goal and my office stands ready to help. May God bless our veterans, all who serve and their families.