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NVOP Receives Small Employer of the Year Award!

American GI Forum of Texas, Inc. Report: SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Each year, the Texas Veterans Commission (TVC) recognizes employers and organizations that provide outstanding services to Texas veterans. Awards were presented during the Texas Veterans Commission’s annual TVC Veterans Summit held in Austin, Texas on February 6, 2017.

The Small Employer Award, which was presented to NVOP's South Texas Housing and Community Development Corporation, recognizes small employers who create or use innovative approaches to best support the Texas Veteran Commission's goal of ensuring that veterans have the resources and the skills needed to remain competitive. 

NVOP's South Texas Housing and Community Development Corporation provides job opportunities for disabled veterans through its Disabled VETS Work Center and VETS Box Manufacturing Company located in San Antonio, Texas.

The VETS Work Center’s primary work is “kitting,” where assembly of materials creates a commemorative army retirement kit for retired soldiers through a contract with the U.S. Army. The box consists of a folded American flag, lapel pin, a DVD of information, and a variety of auto decals for retirees. The VETS Box Manufacturing Company produces the box, and the disabled veterans at the VETS Work Center fold the flags and assemble the pieces to create the complete retirement kit. The box company also contracts with major government and private sector clients, such as the U.S. Postal Service and Callaway Golf, for the annual production of millions of corrugated products.

For more information, please visit http://www.tvc.state.tx.us/.


Ángel Zúñiga, National Commander Represents AGIF
Washington DC 2016 Veterans Day Ceremony 

American GI Forum of Texas, Inc. Report: Washington, D.C. – Veterans Day Ceremony in Washington, DC is traditionally well represented by The American GI Forum. This year’s solemn celebration was no exception. Ángel Zúñiga, National Commander along with Felicita Lugo, National Chairwoman, Lupe Saldana, Past National Chairman, Librado Herrera, Past Youth Chair, Rebecca Lugo, Michigan State Chairwoman, Miguel Lugo, member Detroit Chapter, John Lira, member Washington DC Chapter and Dalia Moore, Corpus Christi attended the Ceremonies. 

President Barack Obama presided over the ceremony of the Laying of the wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and was the commemorative keynote speaker. The Honorable Robert “Bob” McDonald, Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs (DAV), also provided insightful information on the status of DAV. This year’s host, the Polish League of American Veterans, headed by National Commander Gene S. Hentkowski, provided the reception after the event. They did an outstanding job. We salute you! 

This year’s Veterans Day – a time set aside to honor those who served in the U.S. armed forces – is Friday, Nov. 11 2016. (Note that the inset below is our Commander Angel Zuniga taken from photo at right behind President Obama at Wreath Laying Ceremony to Unkown Ceremony).

The day traces its origins back to the end of World War I. On Nov. 11, 1918, an armistice between the U.S.-led Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. Though the war wasn't officially over until the Treaty of Versailles was signed seven months later, the Nov. 11 is recognized as the end of the "war to end all wars," according to the Veterans Administration. 

In November 1919, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Nov. 11 as the first commemoration of what was then known as Armistice Day. The day was originally celebrated with parades and a brief suspension of business at 11 a.m. Congress officially recognized the day with a resolution passed on June 4, 1926. 

It was then that the day – Nov. 11 – was officially recognized as the date of the holiday. 

Almost 30 years later, after U.S. soldiers had served in World War II and Korea, Congress voted to change the name from Armistice Day to Veterans Day in honor of all those who served in the military. 

Veterans Day remained on Nov. 11, no matter which day that fell, until the passage of the Uniform Holiday Bill. The 1968 law was intended to ensure three-day weekends for federal employees by celebrating four national holidays on Mondays: Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day. Veterans Day was first moved off its Nov. 11 day to a Monday on Oct. 25, 1971.

The change was not popular. 

"It was quite apparent that the commemoration of this day was a matter of historic and patriotic significance to a great number of our citizens," the VA said. 

On Sept. 20, 1975, President Gerald Ford signed a bill returning Veterans Day to its original date of Nov. 11. It continues to be observed on Nov. 11, regardless of what day of the week on which it falls. 

Veterans Day facts 

Difference between Veterans Day and Memorial Day: Veterans Day is a federal holiday that is celebrated on Nov. 11 each year. It's often confused with Memorial Day, which is set aside to honor those who died serving their country. Veterans Day is for all those who have served in the armed forces. 

Alabama's role: In 1945, Birmingham veteran Raymond Weeks, a veteran of World War II, led a delegation to then Army Chief of Staff Gen. Dwight Eisenhower to convince him to turn Armistice Day into a time to honor all those who served in the armed forces. Weeks led the first national celebration in Alabama in 1947, something he continued to do until his death in 1985. 

Celebrations in other countries: Britain, France, Australia and Canada commemorate those who served in World Wars I and II on or near Nov. 11th: Canada has Remembrance Day and Britain has Remembrance Sunday (the second Sunday of November). In Europe, Britain and the Commonwealth countries it is common to observe two minutes of silence at 11 a.m. every Nov. 11. 

Its official name is Veterans Day: According to the VA's Office of Public Affairs, the correct spelling is Veterans Day, no apostrophe. The spelling reflects that the day does not belong to veterans but is instead a time to honor all those who serve.


NVOP Receives Donation from Briggs Equipment to Refurbish Key Areas of NVOP Residential Center for Homeless Veterans

American GI Forum NVOP Report: SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Briggs Equipment Donates $29,827 to American GI Forum National Veterans Outreach Program to Transform Residential Center for Homeless Veterans San Antonio, Texas – On Thursday, August 11, the American GI Forum National Veterans Outreach Program (NVOP) and Briggs Equipment announced a donation of $29,827 from Briggs Equipment to refurbish key areas in the NVOP’s Residential Center for Homeless Veterans (RCV).

Opening its doors in November 2005, the RCV offers a mix of services including clinical counseling, employment services, chemical dependency counseling, daily meal service, and community reintegration programs for homeless veterans. At the facility, NVOP case managers tailor a plan of action for each veteran resident to support their transformation with self-sufficiency as the ultimate objective.

The RCV, a housing facility which is capable of serving up to 140 homeless veterans at one time, has areas such as a kitchen, patio, gazebo, loading dock, and pantry that are used daily by more than 100 veterans. The donation from Briggs will go towards renovating and refurbishing these highly used areas in the center, and it will help provide the veteran residents with comfort and stability as they work to recover and rebuild their lives.

“Veterans walk through our doors every day looking for an opportunity to get back on their feet, and thanks to supporters like Briggs Equipment, we are able to give them that opportunity,” said NVOP President and CEO Carlos Martinez. “The renovation and upgrade to the RCV will make an immediate impact on the veteran residents, and it will provide them with a beautiful new living area as they work to stabilize their lives.”


Heroes Lodge: Remember our Fallen Heroes
By Phillip Gutierres, Heroes Lodge Program Manager and CEO

American GI Forum of Texas, Inc. Report: AUSTIN, Texas – The American GI Forum of Texas in commemoration of Memorial Day is asking you to observe this special day remembering all of our fallen heroes, especially those members that are no longer with us.

The Austin Chapter has been working on and continues to work on an Austin Veterans Program, Heroes Lodge Project, a Texas 501(c)3 non-profit in partnership with the American GI Forum Chapters of Austin, of the American GI Forum of Texas, Inc.

Remember that The American GI Forum (AGIF) was founded on March 26,1948 in Corpus Christi, Texas by Dr. Hector Perez Garcia, an Army Veteran medical doctor. Dr. Garcia returned from World War II eager to participate in the American Dream. Through AGIF helped break down many of the barriers Veterans faced in a country that embraced the principles of freedom and justice, but only offered them to a select few. Today those problems still exist, and continue to be experienced by almost all Veterans. The AGIF continued its effort to eliminate and correct this problem.

In 1972 the AGIF saw need to help the returning Vietnam Veterans so it founded the National Veterans Outreach Program (NVOP) with a grant from Department of Labor (DOL). The grant was a pilot program that would address the needs of returning Vietnam Veterans and was originally based out of Denver, CO, with affiliates in about 12 states including Texas.  Funding changed with the introduction of JPTA by Congress and funding became localize with distribution of funds through County Assistance Programs.

The NVOP is now based in San Antonio and has expanded services to become the premier Veterans service provider and a model for homeless Veterans according to the VA. The NVOP offers assistance to all Veterans in need, the homeless and their families. Funding is obtained through Federal Agencies, State and local programs, and private donors. The NVOP, a 501(c)3 non-profit is governed by a National Board that helps facilitate solicitation and advocate for funds from DOL, VA and other partnerships.

The need to expand has come again. Heroes Lodge Project will help Veterans receive assistance with housing, counseling and employment services. Using the NVOP as a model and with help of our local community, sponsoring organizations and the hard work of members and staff the AGIF effort continues.  The Heroes Lodge Project with a similar mission set forth on March 26, 1948, to assist Veterans and their families in need.

Heroes Lodge in asking for your support commemorate Memorial Day and honors those brave men and women who served and gave the ultimate with this video. Please remember our fallen and assist those brave men and women whose service keeps us free. For more information visit www.heroeslodge.org and www.agiftx.org.

 


NVOP Update: Veterans Serving Veterans Since 1972

American GI Forum of Texas, Inc. Report: SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- 2016 has been a productive year so far for the American GI Forum National Veterans Outreach Program (NVOP). We have been working tirelessly over the last few months to find sustainable housing for homeless veterans and provide them the necessary wrap-around services to get them back on their feet.

Thanks to USAA's incredible support, I am thrilled to report that we are closer than ever to ending veteran homelessness in San Antonio. As our partners and supporters, everything you do to support NVOP helps change the lives of the veterans we serve every day. Thank you for your support, and I look forward to continuing to work together in 2016.

Sincerely,
Carlos Martinez
President and CEO

Ending Veteran Homelessness in San Antonio
San Antonio Mayor Ivy R. Taylor and USAA Chief Executive Officer Stuart Parker announced in January USAA’s $2.1 million pledge to end veteran homelessness in San Antonio by March 31, 2016. USAA’s pledge was inspired by the White House Administration’s Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness, which was announced by First Lady Michelle Obama in 2014 as part of the First Lady and Dr. Jill Biden’s Joining Forces initiative. 

NVOP has been working hard over the last two months to meet this goal by placing homeless veterans in housing, providing them with personalized case management, and delivering follow-up services to ensure there is ongoing monitoring of the veteran’s housing situation. Learn more about our efforts here


NVOP's VETS Work Center Gets a Visit from the U.S. Army Installation Management Command 
U.S. Army Installation Command Director of Human Resources Karen Perkins and G1 Sgt. Maj. Lon Culbreath visited NVOP's VETS Work Center this month and helped assemble Soldier for Life retirement boxes. The photo above is courtesy of Sgt. Brandon Hubbard, 204th Public Affairs Detachment.  Read about the visit here

The Big Give San Antonio 2016 
The Big Give SA is a 24-hour day of giving on Tuesday May 3, 2016 from 12:00 a.m. until midnight. It is a day when everyone in our region is asked to make a donation and show support for the local nonprofit organizations that help transform lives every day. Every dollar that NVOP raises on May 3 goes directly to help veterans and their families who are in need. Learn how you can give back on May 3 


American GI Forum Report:
Women Could be Required to Register for Military Draft
By Tia Rinehart – Staff infoZine 

Now that women are approved for all military combat roles, the question follows: Will women be required to register with the Selective Service System?

Washington, DC - infoZine - Scripps Howard Foundation Wire - Right now, all U.S. male citizens and immigrants, documented or undocumented, ages 18 to 25, are required by law to register with the SSS. Lawrence Romo, director of the Selective Service System, said Friday at the National Press Club that he thinks there is a 50-50 chance Congress will pass a law requiring women to register as well. 

“While the Secretary of Defense recently opened all military combat jobs to qualified women, there has been no change to the Military Selective Service Act, requiring them to register or be subject to a military service draft,” he said.

Romo said the SSS is not a part of the Department of Defense and does not participate in making laws to require women to register.

“The bottom line for the Selective Service System is that we do not create policy, we implement the policy as mandated by our president and Congress,” he said.

“The White House will also be working with Congress to determine if changes are necessary in light of DOD’s decision to open all combat positions to qualified women,” he said.

The first draft in American history was a result of the 1863 Conscription Act during the Civil War. The U.S. has not had a draft since the end of the Vietnam War in 1973. Draftees were selected through a lottery, a drum containing capsules representing every day of the year in it. Whichever capsule was drawn, those men had first priority to serve. Romo said if a draft were in effect today, the SSS would select men using a similar method.

Today, if a woman tries to register with the SSS online, she is denied access to the form.

Romo said in the Vietnam War, only 3 percent of the armed forces were women volunteers. Now, about 15 percent of the armed forces are women. Romo said he believes the increased numbers of women military volunteers is the reason the U.S. does not have a draft today. 

Terry O’Neill, president of the National Organization for Women, said that, although the organization does not believe in a draft, it supports equal treatment for women, meaning they should required to register.

“We don’t think women should be exempt from the draft any more than they should be exempt from combat roles,” she said.

O’Neill said women have been in harm’s way in combat for years, but they were not considered to be in combat roles because it would require an increase in pay.

“The military finally took action to recognize women should be eligible for combat pay, and they should be eligible for combat-related promotions and we feel that way about the draft as well,” she said. “Of course, women should be treated the same as men.”

Verna Jones, executive director of the American Legion, said the Legion’s official position is that women should be treated the same as men.

The Department of Veterans Affairs says there are 2 million women veterans, which is about 10 percent of all veterans.

Jones said the American Legion is actively working to change issues it believes in for the military and veterans, including registering women with the SSS. With 2.2 million Legion members, she said, anything is possible.

“You know, there’s power in numbers, and so we’re able to talk to Congress, able to talk to DOD, the VA, the White House, and just, you know, let them know what veterans need,” she said.

Jones said she believes women are capable of passing the standards set for combat positions, and there are women fit for these military roles. Last year, two women became the first to graduate from the Army Ranger School, which qualifies them for special forces teams.  

“Never underestimate the power of a woman,” Jones said. “There are women who can go pound for pound, mile for mile with their counterparts.”

In a 2010 women veterans survey, the American Legion found most women veterans did not identify themselves as veterans because, technically, have not been in combat roles. 

“If you ask a woman if she’s a veteran, oftentimes she’ll say no. If you ask, ‘Have you served in the military?’ then they say yes,” Jones said.  

Romo said registering men and immigrants is so important because just 1 percent of the U.S. population makes up the all-volunteer military. If the country needed more troops quickly, it would go to the list, the only backup available. 

“We all enjoy the freedoms that United States citizenship or residency guarantees us, yet we rely upon that 1 percent volunteer force to protect our entire society,” he said.


 Texas Veterans Job Fair


 NVOP 18th Annual Stand Down for Homeless Veterans and Veterans Day Golf Classic will take place in November 

American GI Forum of Texas, Inc. Report: SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Carlos Martinez, President and CEO of the National Veterans Outreach Program (NVOP) inform us that the  NVOP is hosting its 18th Annual Stand Down on Friday, November 6 from 10:00AM - 2:00PM at 611 N. Flores, San Antonio, Texas 78205 (NVOP headquarters). "We project to serve hundreds of homeless veterans at this free event with warm meals, employment assistance, hygiene items, clothing, and much more," said Martinez. "We are also excited to have Rudy's BBQ be the official food sponsor this year. Thanks to Rudy's, homeless veterans will be provided with delicious brisket plates at this year's event." 

2015 Veterans Day Golf Classic is November 11! 
NVOP's 2nd Annual Veterans Day Golf Classic will be held on Wednesday, November 11, at the beautiful Hyatt Hill Country Golf Club with a shotgun start at 8:30AM. One-hundred percent (100%) of all proceeds from the tournament will go directly to fund immediate veteran needs such as housing assistance, childcare, emergency food, utility costs, and transportation. Please join us on Veterans Day and help bring honor to our veterans. Visit veteransdaygolfclassic.org to sign up to play as an individual or team, become a sponsor, or make a donation. Thank you to our sponsors of this event: Silver Eagle Distributors, Spurs Sports and Entertainment, UA Local 142 Plumbers and Pipefitters, Twin Peaks Restaurants, Valero, Gabriel's Liquor, Security Service Federal Credit Union, and Speaker Joe Straus. Sign up and invite your friends to join here: http://veteransdaygolfclassic.org/

NVOP 18th Annual Stand Down for Homeless Veterans and 2nd Annual Veterans Day Golf Classic

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 Transition Information Program

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TEXAS VETERANS COMMISSION
VETERANS SUMMIT 2015
REGISTRATION NOW OPEN

The Texas Veterans Commission would like to invite you to attend the 17th Annual Veterans Summit, which will be held on Wednesday, February 4, 2015, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel North Austin (6121 North IH-35, Austin, Texas 78752).

The theme of the Veterans Summit this year is “Strengthening the Foundation: Building a Better Future for Texas Veterans” and will highlight how federal, state and local government agencies in Texas are working collaboratively with Veteran organizations and community partners to implement solutions directed by past state Legislatures and are working to build upon that foundation as the 84th Texas Legislature prepares to meet in January 2015.

The Veterans Summit will begin at 8:00 a.m. with a brief Opening Session, followed by an opening panel of elected officials to provide their insights on issues related to Texas Veterans for the 84th Legislative Session.  

The Veterans Summit will then feature a series of panels of subject matter experts examining critical issues facing the Veteran community from both a programmatic and policy perspective, including:

  • A Sustainable Legacy: The Future of the Texas Hazlewood Exemption
  • Justice 4 Veterans: Examining Four Initiatives related to Justice-Involved Veterans
  • Preserving the Network: Continuing to build upon the network of Veterans Mental Health resources in Texas

Other breakouts will discuss Veteran employment and entrepreneurship, homelessness, issues unique to Women Veterans and more. 

A complimentary meal will be provided to all attendees during an onsite networking lunch.

If your attendance at the Veterans Summit will require a hotel stay, the Crowne Plaza Hotel has set aside a block of rooms at a rate of $139 per night.  There is a link to make a reservation on the TVC Summit page (http://tvc.texas.gov/Annual-Summit.aspx) or you can call the hotel directly at 1-877-227-6963 and identify yourself as part of the “TVC” room block. The hotel offering is subject to room availability and closes January 26. 

As a leader in the Veteran community, we hope that your schedule will allow you to join us.  We also hope that you will tell others that serve Veterans and their families about the Summit and encourage them to attend as there is much to be gained from our collective work and experience. 

To register or for more information, click here: http://tvc.texas.gov/Annual-Summit.aspx.


 Dr. Garcia Day: Honoring Our Heroes
Houston METRO Showcases Heroes

The Texas Legislature as the Hector P. Garcia Day has designated the third Wednesday in September, this year on the 17th, which falls during National Hispanic Heritage Month. American GI Forum (AGIF) of Texas, Inc. Commander John Martinez will be attending a Heroes Dedication Ceremony in Houston honoring Hispanic Heroes including Dr. Hector P. Garcia, founder of the American GI Forum.

Doctor Hector, founder of the American GI Forum fought for the rights of Hispanics and veterans during a great part of his life, leaving a legacy that continues today as the American GI Forum. The AGIF continues to advocate for veterans and their families’ educational, medical and housing benefits. Dr. Garcia, during his lifetime served as an advisor to three U.S. presidents, served as the first Hispanic on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and later was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Ronald Reagan.

During Hispanic Heritage month, in Houston, Texas the METRO Northline Transit Center/Houston Community College Station will honor Heroes who have shaped the rich culture of the Community at a Heroes Dedication Ceremony, The event is scheduled for Saturday, September 20, 2014 at 9:30 a.m. at the Northline Transit Center, 7705 Fulton, Houston, Texas 77022.

This dedication ceremony commemorates the unveiling of the plaques, each featuring a description of the honored heroes, mounted next to the light rail station’s artwork. The individuals portrayed in the station artwork include eighteen prominent citizens who were selected through the support and collaboration of numerous members of Houston’s North side community. The plaques include a biographical summary for each of the heroes written with input from each individual’s family members.  Family members in attendance will receive recognition during the ceremony.    

Dr. Hector P. Garcia, American GI Forum Founder, is one of the eighteen light rail station artwork that will be showcased. His daughters, Wanda and Cecilia, will accept the his commemorative plaque. Texas American GI Forum Commander John Martinez, will be accepting the commemorative plaque of Jose Lopez, World War II veteran deceased and recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor on behalf of his daughter who is unable to attend.

This effort has resulted in the incredible transformation of the Northline Transit Center / HCC Station into an artistic showcase – one that accurately reflects the proud history of Houston’s North side community.

We thank the Houston Community, Northline Transit and HCC for their awareness of Hispanic Heroes. God Bless our military, our veterans, and continue to Bless America.


The History of “ROLL CALL”©
My Play
By Alfred Lugo

I am Alfred Lugo, retired and have been involved with seven veteran organizations and have produced many television documentaries and live programs recognizing the contributions and sacrifices of Latino veterans who fought courageously in all conflicts for our United States of America.

In 1980, I realized the lack of positive Latino images in television, theater and the movies. I then began writing my first documentary, “The Men of Company E.” My documentary was selected and won third place at the Joseph Papp Museo Del Barrio Film Festival in New York City in 1984. It aired on several Public Broadcasting Stations and air rights were purchased by the Armed Forces Radio and Television Network and aired overseas during Hispanic Heritage Week in 1985. 

Comedian Steve Allen recognized the documentary as a movie rather than a documentary. So we made it available to Hollywood producers. They were not interested but we were informed that there were many stories like theirs but of course written, produced and performed by Anglos in Hollywood. By the way, they are still producing WWII movies and still not having Latinos or their stories in them.

Frustration and anger set in and I sat down and wrote my poem on the deliberate exclusion of heroic stories of our Latino soldiers. It was titled. Roll Call

Several years later, still in frustration, I wanted to write a play on Latino Vietnam Veterans. I was stationed at a Medical Evacuation Base where day-after-day I would see many of the Vietnam wounded. I volunteered to help those who could be taken to the base Mess Hall. I met a lot of Latinos with whom I questioned them on what it was like and what they had witnessed. What I heard convinced me that I needed to tell their stories. I wrote my play, “Roll Call.” We had a reading at California State University, Los Angeles.

Unable to get it produced it sat on a shelf for 10 years. In 2006 a director friend of mine informed me that a professor Santillan at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona was interested in the play. We formulated a budget and looked for a venue. In East Los Angeles the owner of El Gallo Theater, which was formally a mortuary, wanted to bring the performing arts to East Los Angeles. So we negotiated and produced “Roll Call” for fourteen performances. 

Due to the many issues returning soldiers were having coming from Afghanistan and Iraq relating to PTSD, Roll Call came back alive. New interests that made Roll Call and awareness play on PTSD gave it new life. As with my first documentary, “The Men of Company E”, an attorney and an author are now writing a book on the Men of Company E which is due to be released in December 2014. 

First on the block to produce “Roll Call” is Rio Hondo College on November 6, 2014 and November 7, 2014.

Other Latino Veteran Productions include: “The Men of Company E”, “Guy Gabaldon…American Hero”, “The Angels Who Landed at Dawn” and “ROLL CALL” The Play.

Alfred Lugo
Documentary Producer/Playwright

Editor's Note: Mr. Alfred Lugo is a member of the El Camino Real Chapter of Southern California. He regularly attends AGIF Conferences and Mid-year Conferences and has been active in advocating for Veterans for many years. His work is well known by many of our members. 

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Roll Call

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Honoring Our Veterans--Add the Word Veteran to Your Drivers License
By Rep. Jason Isaac

There are no words to describe our gratitude towards those who risk their lives to protect our families and our country.  The magnitude of their sacrifice is simply incomparable.  Thank you to our veterans and their families who serve our country and defend our freedoms. 

Shortly after being elected State Representative, I had a friend of a friend, whose son would soon be returning from duty, mention to me how cumbersome it could be for veterans to prove that they had, in fact, served our country.   Many businesses, organizations, and events provide certain discounts and benefits to this honorable group of citizens, but often the only proof of service that they have is their discharge paperwork.  These military forms contain a lot of personal, private information and it seemed unnecessary for veterans to constantly carry them around in order to prove their status.

After hearing this story, the first bill I filed allowed veterans to add a small endorsement to their driver’s license.  Now, after showing proof of service when renewing or replacing their license, the word Veteran can be added to the license at no charge.  This simple, no-cost solution made day-to-day life more convenient for those who have bravely served our country. 

Over the past few years, the Legislature has also been successful in providing a property tax exemption to the surviving spouse of a disabled vet or a vet who was killed in action (pending voter approval of the constitutional amendment), creating a Bronze Star license plate for Texans who have been awarded the Bronze Star for their service to our country, and most recently, establishing an official Honor & Remember flag to recognize those who have lost their lives defending our freedom.

The Honor & Remember flag is a nationally recognized symbol of gratitude and will be flown by state offices and other organizations on certain days, including Memorial Day, Independence Day, & Veteran’s Day, as well as on any day that a Texas resident is killed in action.  It has been a great privilege to present Honor & Remember flags to cities and veteran’s organizations throughout Hays and Blanco counties.  Flags are available for purchase at honorandremember.org.

Although no license plate, tax exemption, flag, or benefit can ever repay the debt owed to our veterans, I hope these efforts are a small token of appreciation for their service.  As Veteran’s Day approaches, please keep those members of our armed forces who are currently serving us today in your thoughts and prayers, and take a moment to thank a veteran for their service.  My family and I remain forever grateful for their sacrifice.

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