Gov. Perry Presents Texas Legislative Medal of Honor
Thank you, Senator [Chuy] Hinojosa and thank you for your ongoing support of the men and women in our armed forces.
It is a beautiful day to be here in Edinburg to honor the memory of a true American hero.
It is hard to believe that it's been two years since I came to Edinburg to present the Medal of Honor to the family of Freddy Gonzales for his valor in the Vietnam war.
It may be time for a new nickname for Edinburg the "hometown for heroes."
When a community produces one highly-decorated combat veteran, it just might be a fluke but producing two warriors of this caliber speaks volumes about the values, the work ethic, and the patriotism of this community.
The street and school that bear the name of Pedro Cano are a persistent reminder of his sacrifice. However, the valor he displayed in the fight for America's freedom has not been lost in history because it is alive today in a new generation of warriors who are defending freedom halfway "round the world in our armed forces.
Our nation was blessed by a "greatest generation" that repelled the onslaught of oppression from the Axis powers in World War II and we now have a new "greatest generation" serving in our military today.
Whether I've met them at the military installations across our state or while visiting our troops in the Middle East I have found this new military generation to be every bit as committed and even better-equipped.
We can never truly repay the sacrifice our service members make but we are fiercely committed to honoring and supporting them and their families and sustaining the special relationship that has long existed between Texas and the military. Like Pedro Cano did, many Texans are returning from the combat zone with wounds some visible and others that go a little deeper.
As benefactors of their sacrifice, we all have a role to play in ensuring our veterans move smoothly from the field of battle to a life of dignity.
That's why I worked with the Legislature during the last session to put measures in place that are helping returning veterans deal with PTSD or traumatic brain injuries.
I also signed a bill that created mental health programs for veterans including those in which veterans help each other through veteran-to-veteran, or vet-to-vet, groups.
I also worked with the Legislature and our health agencies to secure an additional $5 million to supplement the $1.2 million from the state budget to expand mental health treatment and support programs for veterans and their families.
Across the state, those dollars are funding programs that support veterans including expanded trauma therapy and peer-to-peer support groups throughout the state.
We have also looked out for our veterans by creating a VA claims processing team that has helped clear more than 4,000 claims from Texas veterans that had gotten hung up in the system.
We do that sort of thing here in Texas because we're not only obligated to support our veterans and their families, we are honored to do so.
I applaud REP Aaron Pena for his efforts to honor U.S. Army Private Pedro Cano with the passage of House Concurrent Resolution #5 during the 81st Legislative session.
That resolution tells the story of a young man who left this beautiful town to defend his adopted country and achieved far above and beyond the call of duty.
For his valorous actions as the Allied forces pushed their way into Germany actions undertaken at great risk to his personal safety in the bloody chaos of the Hurtgen forest Private Pedro Cano set a standard of bravery that bears recognition in the form of the highest honor awarded by the state of Texas.
It is my great honor to present to Private Cano's family the Texas Legislative Medal of Honor in memory of an incredibly brave man and favorite son of Edinburg, TX.
His gallantry inspires us all and reminds us of the true cost of freedom a freedom that we can never take for granted.