[r85] Pond Report: Options Available to our Veterans (1/11/2012)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Start Date: 1/11/2012 All Day
End Date: 1/11/2012

I was recently touched when a former U.S. Marine who served our country came to the Statehouse to share his story. While serving in 2006, this man’s life changed forever when an explosive device struck his Humvee during a patrol, killing two and injuring several members of his team.  His story got me thinking about options that are available to our military veterans once they return home.

I think we can all agree on the importance of veterans and the monumental sacrifice they have all made for our country. It is imperative for us to provide quality options for those who have made this huge sacrifice.

One thing that should be mentioned is the employment assistance that is offered through the state of Indiana. The Indiana Department of Workforce Development provides services to Hoosier veterans with funding from the United State Department of Labor, Veterans’ Employment and Training Service. Workforce Development offices are equipped to help Indiana veterans transition from service to civilian life. They can assist with job training and job placement opportunities.

One of the most beneficial options available falls in the realm of education. The Post-9/11 GI-Bill provides Hoosiers the chance to receive financial support, such as full tuition and fees as well as assistance with their housing. Other important benefits include a stipend for books and supplies.

This is made available to individuals with at least 90 days of aggregate service on or after September 11, 2001, or individuals discharged with a service connected disability after 30 days. Education is the building block for our society so it is crucial that our veterans know that this option is available to them. For more information on The Post-9/11 GI-Bill contact 1-888-442-4551.

Veterans should know about the County Veterans Service Officers (CVSO). Ninety-one counties in our state have a CVSO’s and we are lucky to have them in both Allen and DeKalb County. These men and women are veterans who are ready to help you with your veteran-related needs. Once in contact with the CVSO’s they can provide detailed information on how to obtain services from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs or the State of Indiana.

If you would like to contact your local CVSO, the liaison for greater Allen County can be reached at 260-449-7861 and the liaison for DeKalb County can be reached at 260-925-0131.

An option that disabled veterans may qualify for is the Golden Hoosier Passport. With this pass they are given free access and unlimited admission to all Indiana State owned parks, recreation areas, reservoirs, forests, historic sites and other Department of Natural Resource facilities.

Also, next time you are at the license branch, consider showing your support with your license plate. Since the beginning of 2007 there is a unique license plate with a yellow ribbon that is available for purchase by all Hoosiers, regardless if they are a veteran or not. It is great to know that most of the proceeds from each plate will go to the Military Family Relief Fund.

The Military Family Relief Fund works to provide qualified service members or their dependents the opportunity to apply for grants, which may be used to pay for needs such as food, housing, utilities, medical services, transportation or other essential family expenses. The grants are up to $5,000.

These are only a few of the many options available to our veterans. The sacrifices these men and women have made for this country are unparalleled and truly remarkable.  We need to continue to find ways to give them support and make sure they know they are truly appreciated.