RETIREMENT OF CHARLOTTE MORELAND
Mr. ROCKEFELLER. Mr. President, today I want to honor an extraordinary person and one of my most dedicated staff who is retiring from service in the United States Senate, Charlotte Moreland.
For 19 years, Charlotte has worked in my DC office, joining my team during my very first year in the Senate. And for all these years, Charlotte has always been an advocate for West Virginia. Starting in my personal office, Charlotte moved to the Veterans Committee when I became Chairman and found herself developing a voice and sense of duty for veterans in West Virginia and across our country. Over the years, she listened patiently as they expressed their concerns about a disability claim or health care. She took note as they told their stories of bravery and sacrifice. She remembered the details of their lives that made the difference in getting them the benefits they had earned. Charlotte then took those stories to help craft legislation to improve benefits for all veterans.
She spoke eloquently on behalf of these veterans. As Charlotte often would tell those around her, VA is the second largest department in the United States, right behind the Department of Defense, and I have no doubt that many working for VA have heard the voice of Charlotte Moreland. Her voice was gentle, but firm, when urging VA to take a second look at a claim or to check their records for something they may have missed initially. But I have to tell you, this same voice would rise a few notches and not back down to get attention for a veteran whom she felt was being treated unfairly on a claim, unable to get medical treatment, or to ensure that a veteran got proper recognition with a headstone to pay one last respect to their service. When those times came, I often wondered how Charlotte maintained such a friendly working relationship with those at VA. She always smiled at me and said it was because they knew her heart was in the right place.
For West Virginia veterans, she has been a tireless advocate. Whenever Charlotte saw a gap in services or an unmet need, she worked to fill it. Our State's four VA Medical Centers received numerous visits from Charlotte, and the facilities are better because of those visits. Over the years, West Virginia has expanded the number of veteran centers and community-based outpatient clinics so that veterans can have quality services nearby. Charlotte has made a real difference in the lives of many veterans and their families.
Charlotte Moreland is retiring from my office after a distinguished career. You need look no further than the plaques and awards she has received from Veterans Service Organizations to know that she will be missed. You can hear praise in the telephone calls and the compliments in countless letters to my office to know that she will be missed. I am very proud that Charlotte Moreland has been on my staff for these many years, and I wish her all the best.