By Rep. Kristi Noem
There's not a day that goes by when I don't think of the brave men and women who voluntarily put themselves in harm's way to defend the values that our country holds so dear. We have both a duty and an obligation to ensure that our armed forces are fully equipped both while they are actively serving and after they return home to their families and communities.
Over 72,000 veterans call South Dakota home and it is because of these patriots that South Dakotans can continue to wake up in the greatest nation in the world. That's why it is so important to treat our veterans with the honor and respect they deserve. I have and continue to support legislation that assists veterans in transitioning back to civilian life by providing them with quality health care, education assistance and job development skills.
I was proud to recently co-sponsor H.R. 569, the Veterans' Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) Act. This bill will give qualified disabled veterans and their dependents an annual COLA starting at the end of this year. I heard from many constituents across the state about the importance of this legislation and I am glad to lend my support to this bill for our combat veterans.
As you may know, folks who serve for twenty years in the National Guard are not recognized as veterans. So as a way to honor those who have dedicated many years in service to our National Guard, I have cosponsored a bipartisan bill which would give these men and women the honorary status of veteran. During the 112th Congress, my colleagues in the House and I passed similar legislation and I am proud to continue to support this effort.
We must keep our nation's heroes a top priority, and I intend to continue doing just that in Congress. My office recently assisted a veteran named Edgar who was having difficulty receiving a military medal. We were able to contact multiple departments on his behalf and were able to get Edgar the medal he deserved. If you know of a veteran who requires assistance with medals or with benefit claims, please contact one of my offices so we can help. Those needing assistance should visit my website at http://noem.house.gov for more information or call one of my offices. Contact information is listed below:
Sioux Falls: 605-275-2868 / Watertown: 605-878-2868 / Aberdeen:
605-262-2862 / Rapid City: 605-791-4673 / Washington, D.C.: 202-225-2801
/ Toll-Free: 1-855-225-2801