Today, we honor all military veterans who have bravely protected our nation. In my book, every day is Veterans Day. My father and two brothers served our country in the armed forces, so I understand the sacrifices and commitment made by our military members and their loved ones. Indiana is home to 500,000 veterans, all who deserve our help and support.
One of our very own in nearby Newburgh was recently inducted into the Indiana Military Veterans Hall of Fame. Daniel Oates was one of 12 Hoosier veterans inducted earlier this month for his military service achievements and community contributions. Oates was one of the select few inductees out of the 61 nominations this year. I personally want to congratulate Mr. Oates for this well-deserved honor, as well as thank him for his service. We owe all of our veterans gratitude for the sacrifices they have made so we can enjoy the freedoms we too often take for granted.
While we can never fully repay those who answered the call to protect our state and nation, as a policymaker, I can support new laws helping our Hoosier veterans. One of the 13 laws enacted benefiting our veterans allows National Guard members to qualify for veteran-assistance programs. Indiana is home to the fourth-largest National Guard in the nation. The federal definition of a veteran is a service member who has completed 180 days of continuous active duty and did not receive a dishonorable discharge. Currently in Indiana, as many as 100,000 Hoosier men and women have served in the guard while not being placed on active duty, so they do not qualify as a veteran under the federal definition. The recent law we passed expands the definition of a “Hoosier veteran” under Indiana Code referencing state programs for veterans to allow more guard members access to multiple programs and resources.
If you are willing to put on the uniform for our country, you not only deserve my respect, but deserve to receive assistance from our local veteran service officers and to qualify for state programs, veterans’ employment preferences and veteran-owned business opportunities.
During my time at the Statehouse, I will do my best to support our Hoosier veterans. If you are a veteran, thank you for your bravery and sacrifice.
State Rep. Ron Bacon (R-Chandler) represents House District 75, which includes portions of Warrick, Pike and Spencer counties.
A high-resolution photo of Bacon can be downloaded by clicking here.