RECOGNIZING NATIONAL PEACE CORPS DAY -- (Extensions of Remarks - March 24, 2004)
HON. MARK UDALL
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 24, 2004
Mr. UDALL of Colorado. Mr. Speaker, during March, we celebrate National Peace Corps Day, honoring the 168,000 Americans who have served as volunteers since the creation of the Peace Corps in 1961. These amazing men and women have served our Nation in 136 countries. Peace Corps volunteers have made enormous contributions in the areas of agriculture, business development, education, health, and the environment, and in so doing have improved the lives of individuals and communities around the world. The Peace Corps has become an enduring symbol of our Nation's commitment to encourage progress and create opportunity in the developing world.
My own background as an educator and director at Outward Bound for 20 years taught me about the importance of national and community service. But I also have strong connections to the Peace Corps-through my great State of Colorado and through my family. Colorado has one of the highest levels of recruitment of Peace Corps volunteers nationwide, and returned Peace Corps Volunteers in the 2nd Congressional District alone number over 500. Of course, the most important Peace Corps connection for me is my mother, who served as a volunteer in Nepal decades ago.
Because of these connections I have a special interest in advancing the ability of the Peace Corps to play an important role in these new times. I believe we must work to continue to promote world peace and friendship through the people-to-people approach of the Peace Corps. That's why I worked with my colleague Representative SAM FARR last year to introduce legislation known as the Peace Corps Charter for the 21st Century Act that would strengthen and expand the Peace Corps. The bill passed the House as part of H.R. 1950, a bill authorizing programs at the Department of State. I am hopeful that the Senate will pass the bill before the end of the 108th Congress.
The Peace Corps is one of the most admired and successful initiatives ever put in place. I'm proud that the following young people from the 2nd Congressional District are presently serving in countries all over the world: Vanessa Adams, Ben Armitage, Molly E. Boynoff, Ryan G. Burgess, Millicent S. Butterworth, Yun Chang, Shaun P. Cosgrove, Brian P. Cox, Shaun P. Cronin, Gene F. Defosse, Nicholas J. Detsch, Aryn M. Fleegler, Brooke S. Franke, David Gelvin, Marion C. Hackman, Jessica E. Hanson, Bret G. Harry, Dustin A. Hinrichs, Anna D. Jankowski, Betty J. Kelly, Joseph R. Kelly, Rebecca J. Knerl, Wendy L. Maxwell, Kerith (Kay) M. Miller, Stephanie A. Ogden, Sarah K. Oltmans, Johanna S. Patrick, Benjamin J. Ploeger, Matthew N. Rice, Paul J. Robyn, Trent W. Ruder, Kate A. Rudkin, Kathleen M. Shannon, Melinda E. Simonson, David W. Sparkman, Robert B. Sweetman, Amanda R. Tennant, Michelle L. Tinkler, Ryan P. Van Duzer, Gabrielle Varani, Michael J. Walzak, Anthony R. White, Barry M. Wick.
A pebble tossed into a still pond creates ripples that begin small and grow larger. Peace Corps volunteers have had this same effect on the people they have touched. The Peace Corps experience exemplifies how individuals can make a tremendous difference in the lives and perceptions of people in developing countries as well as people right here at home.
National Peace Corps Day honors the volunteers, past and present, and reaffirms our country's commitment to helping people help themselves throughout the world. Today I honor all of the men and women who have selflessly and generously served our country in the Peace Corps.