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Public Statements

Establishing Army Corps of Engineers Veterans' Curation Program

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. BARROW. I thank the gentlelady for yielding her leadership on this issue.

Madam Speaker, in October of 2009, the Army Corps of Engineers used temporary funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to begin the Veterans' Curation project to employ and train wounded Iraq and Afghanistan veterans in archeological processing. The project gives these veterans an opportunity to learn transferable job skills and earn a fair wage while cataloging artifacts that the Corps has discovered and is required to preserve. The project now employs about 50 veterans in Augusta, Georgia; St. Louis, Missouri; and Washington, D.C.

Unfortunately, temporary funding for the Veterans' Curation project is set to run out just when our returning veterans and our economy need it the most. H.R. 5282 provides long-term authorization for the program and will preserve the program and allow it to grow.

The Veterans' Curation project not only helps educate, train, and employ veterans, but it allows them to heal through the power of meaningful work. Since the Army Corps of Engineers has to catalog these artifacts anyway, there can be no better qualified or more deserving group than our own veterans to help get the job done. We owe no debt as citizens that is greater than the debt we owe to the veterans who fought for our freedoms. We literally owe them everything.

That is why I urge my colleagues to support this worthy program to help our wounded veterans heal and get good job skills at the same time. It's not only the right thing to do; it is the smart thing to do.

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