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Mon, November 11, 2013

Veterans Day - GUEST COMMENTARY

Honoring our veterans and service members
by Iowa Sen. Jeff Danielson


November 11 is Veterans Day, a time to honor all American veterans, living and dead, for their service to our country.

Iowa is home to about 240,000 veterans. In recent years, record numbers of service members have returned to our state as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have wound down.  We are grateful for the sacrifices of these men and women—and to thousands of others from previous conflicts.

Iowa is a national leader when it comes to supporting veterans.  Each year, we work to improve services at the state and county levels to help service members make a smooth transition back to civilian life.  Local veterans’ organizations tell us that education, job training and health care are among the essentials needed to welcome them home.

Over the years, we’ve boosted help for returning soldiers seeking a college degree or the skills to qualify for good jobs.  We’ve worked with employers to protect soldiers’ jobs while they’re serving overseas.  We’ve made it illegal to foreclose on the homes of active duty Iowa National Guard members.  And we’ve improved efforts to connect veterans to the help they need and the benefits they’ve earned.

This year, we continued Iowa’s strong track record of supporting and honoring our veterans, service members and their families by:

• Ensuring that those serving on active duty remain eligible to receive tuition assistance benefits and attend school once they return.

• Emphasizing the admission of homeless, honorably discharged veterans to the Iowa Veterans Home.

• Including a mental health treatment staff member on the care committee for patients at the Iowa Veterans Home.

• Providing care at the Iowa Veterans Home for Gold Star parents—that is any parent of a service member who died on active duty.

• Providing more than $12 million to train our service members and honor our veterans, including money for the Iowa Veterans Cemetery and the Iowa Veterans Oral History Project.

To learn more about the services and benefits available to Iowa veterans, go to https://va.iowa.gov.

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