I recently learned of a letter writing campaign for World War II veterans taking place right here in Indiana. On May 10, the Honor Flight Network will fly 69 World War II veterans to Washington D.C., and as a thank you for their service, coordinators are working to ensure that each veteran receives at least 10 letters.
This got me thinking about the struggles that veterans endure and what we as state legislators did this past session to make life in Indiana a bit easier for them. One piece of legislation that I would like to share with you is House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1242. This new law, which goes into effect July 1, makes it illegal for employers to discriminate against veterans.
It may sound hard to believe, but this does happen. Young men and women in the National Guard are sometimes placed at a disadvantage when it comes to employment simply because of the possibility of deployment. Many of these individuals have spouses at home who depend on them to help with the bills and children who need fed. A veteran’s service to our country should never be used against them, especially when looking for a job. With a veteran unemployment rate of 16.2 percent, this is an important step towards putting Indiana veterans back to work.
We also passed a new law this session to establish the Hoosier Women Veterans Program. Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 354 establishes this program to provide information and services to the Hoosier women who have served in our military. Indiana is currently home to over 37,000 women veterans, and that number is only rising.
Despite this, the Indiana Department of Veteran Affairs currently has no program informing women veterans of the unique benefits that they alone qualify for. Women veterans are just like any other type of veteran, but sometimes they have separate needs that they do not feel comfortable talking to men about. This program will allow our state to better serve those women whom have sacrificed so much for our freedom, and I believe this program is crucial to our state.
While these are just a couple examples of our dedication to Hoosier veterans, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of something as simple as a thank you card. If you would like to participate in the current letter writing campaign, store-bought cards, handwritten letters and pictures drawn by children are all welcome. The salutation on each item should be “Dear Veteran” and should not be dated. Once completed, you can mail these special letters to:
Indy Honor Flight
ATTN: Mail Call
9093 S. SR 39
Mooresville, IN 46158
These letters must be received by May 2nd in order for the veterans to receive them in time for the flight. This weekend, while I’m visiting with my grandkids, I plan to share this message with them and look forward to seeing the drawings they come up with. A short letter or drawing is the least we can do for these hometown Hoosier heroes. It may not seem like much but this will mean more to them than we could ever imagine. I encourage you to participate and share this message with your friends and family so that we can give these heroes the thank you of a lifetime!