As families celebrate this long weekend with barbecues, parades, and other summertime festivities, we must not lose sight of what this weekend is truly about. This weekend, we commemorate our fallen heroes for their courage in defense of our country, to which we owe our appreciation and respect. They have given their lives for our freedoms, and neither they -- nor their sacrifice -- will ever be forgotten.
Investigating the Atlanta VAMC, holding execs accountable
In light of the recent deaths at the Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC), I've repeatedly called for answers from facility executives, seeking the termination of those responsible and more transparency. A report released by the Inspector General found "that there was inadequate coordination, monitoring, and staffing for oversight" for patients with mental health concerns, which contributed to "patients falling through the cracks."
The veterans treated at the Atlanta VAMC--and everywhere--deserve better. We owe our men and women in uniform a great debt of gratitude. In return for their service, the least we can do is fulfill the promises we made them. I will continue demanding accountability from the VAMC and will provide more information as it becomes available.
Making USO care packages for the troops
This week I attended a United Service Organizations service project to assemble care packages for our troops. The event resulted in more than 2,000 bags of household goods, pens, first aid gear, and snacks for troops that surely miss these reminders of home.
Since 2003, this project has rallied many American businesses to their cause and sent more than 2.3 million packages to servicemen and women around the world. I am grateful for the USO's hard work, which allows so many people to show gratitude to those who serve our country.
Organizing veterans outreach workshops
Given the current situation at the Atlanta VA hospital and months of backlogged veteran benefit applications, my office is in the process of working with community groups to organize veterans outreach workshops. As we must continue to provide the highest quality of care available to our veterans, these outings will be directed at helping them understand how to navigate the VA's claims processing system and recieve their benefits in a more timely fashion.
Please stay tuned to my website and weekly newsletter, as I will be providing more details about these workshops as they become available.
Observing Memorial Day Weekend
This weekend, I will be observing Memorial Day with many veteran constituents and their families across my district. On Saturday, I will attend the Georgia National Cemetery ceremony with other Georgia officials and military leaders. Monday, I will be a guest at the Dacula Memorial Day parade, where volunteers will carry hundreds of signs that individually represent Georgia soldiers who have fallen in Iraq and Afghanistan. That afternoon, I will be attending the National Memorial Day Association's ceremony at the Marietta National cemetery with B. General Leon Johnson and a member of the Tuskegee Airmen.
As you spend time with your families on this most important weekend, take time to remember those who have given so much for our freedoms and give them thanks for their service.