Today, we honor the many thousands of veterans who live in the 24th District. Regardless of each person's length or location of service, they have each fulfilled honorable commitments to defend and protect the freedoms we enjoy today. As the son of a World War II veteran, I know our veterans deserve nothing less than to be thanked and celebrated.
Our veterans also warrant more than just a day of remembrance. We are indebted to them for their contributions to our country, and it is important we support them and their families in return. On Saturday, 36 organizations and numerous volunteers came together for my 2011 Veterans Fair. The event served to connect North Texas veterans, military personnel, and their families with earned benefit assistance and available resources. Organizations involved included the VA Hospital providing flu shots and blood screenings; the VA Regional Office providing onsite assistance with casework issues; and the Small Business Administration providing employment and business guidance.
At the Veterans Fair, I had the privilege to unveil the Wall of Honor, an exhibit recognizing our service members in the 24th District. Currently more than 120 service members are listed, and 30 more registered at the fair to be added. This Wall is meant to acknowledge all service members in our community and is an ongoing project that will be updated on my website at: www.marchant.house.gov/WallofHonor.
I also held a special ceremony to recognized Conner Wilkinson of Grapevine who recently enlisted in the Marine Corps and will leave for training on January 3rd. An athlete and former high school student body leader, Conner has made an important decision to join the legacy of those who have served our nation.
My staff was also on-site to inform veterans of the services offered by my office. Not only do we help resolve casework issues involving the Department of Veterans Affairs, but we also help veterans preserve their time of service for future generations. There are two ways we help to do this:
* First, my staff helps veterans obtain overdue military medals. Whether a veteran's medals have been lost or believed to have never been rightfully awarded, my staff conducts thorough research to retrieve these medals on a veteran's behalf.
* Second, my office participates in the Veterans History Project. For this project, my staff helps veterans record their stories of service in U.S. war efforts. The stories are then permanently cataloged at the Library of Congress and available to the public. This effort will allow future generations to better understand the realities of preserving America's freedom.
I strongly believe that one of our nation's highest priorities is to care for our veterans. I hope those who attended the Veterans Fair found it beneficial. For those unable to attend, please don't hesitate to contact my Irving office with questions or for assistance at (972) 556-0162. Our nation is forever grateful for the many Americans who have fought to defend liberty and extend freedom to all.
Congressman Kenny Marchant