The men and women of the U.S. military make huge sacrifices to protect our freedoms. To make sure we never forget that fact, Congress designated May as National Military Appreciation Month.
Over the years, Indiana has made a special effort at helping the members of our armed forces transition back to civilian life after their service. That effort continued during the 2014 legislative session as several pieces of legislation were passed in our ongoing effort to support those who have served our country along with their families.
For example, veterans are being encouraged to further their education by giving them college credit for courses and tests they took during their military service. In addition, state universities will now be establishing programs that assist veterans seeking to become teachers.
While the General Assembly has endeavored to provide aid for all veterans, it is also addressing the particular needs of women who have served. The Hoosier Women’s Veterans Program has been established within the Department of Veterans' Affairs to offer information and services to improve public services for Indiana’s female veterans.
Finding quality, long-term employment can be difficult for veterans. To eliminate some hurdles, we passed a law making it illegal to refuse to hire an applicant because of their status as a U.S. military veteran, National Guard member or reservist in the state of Indiana. The Indiana Civil Rights Commission has been given the task of addressing any alleged violations. The Indiana Department of Veterans’ Affairs will distribute information notifying Hoosier veterans of this new protection.
It is also noteworthy that the Legislature sought to help veterans with disabilities. Grants will be given to law schools that maintain a veteran’s disability clinic, which offers legal services at little or no cost to them. The Indiana State Department of Health will further study the implementation of programs for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries.
I am committed to supporting our military members as they transition back into civilian life. As a former member of the U.S. Army Reserves, I understand the importance of caring for our soldiers and their families during and after their service.
The month of May is a time to thank veterans and those currently serving for what they did or are currently doing for our country. They deserve our never-ending gratitude. There is no way to adequately thank them, but we should never stop trying.