Answering The Call To Support Ohio's Veterans
A Guest Column by State Senator Kevin Bacon
May 15, 2015
 
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Every third Saturday in May, bugles sound and parades amble through communities all across the country as we pay tribute to the extraordinary men and women who are serving active duty in a branch of the U.S. military. The theme of this year's Armed Services Day is "Honor Those Who Answered the Call to Serve." From enlistment to reintegration into society, we owe it to our men and women in uniform to honor their sacrifice.

There is no better way to honor our returning soldiers than by supporting them as they return to civilian life with wounds and challenges. Last year, I sponsored a bill that designates the week in May that coincides with Armed Forces Week as "Ohio Warrior Awareness Week" in order to draw attention to the 100,000 Ohio veterans who live with a service-related disability. 

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the number of veterans living with a service-related disability has increased by approximately one million since 2002.  As veterans and their families know, the hardship of military service does not end when they return from active duty. The physical and psychological hardships that veterans endure in the line of duty present formidable challenges as they readjust to jobs and family life. 


As the number of current military operations declines, the number of veterans returning home continues to increase. Ohio Warrior Awareness Week recognizes their sacrifice and reminds them of the variety of benefits they have earned. In addition to offering veterans the mental health and medical treatment they need at veterans medical centers, the Ohio Department of Veterans Service offers veterans a variety of ways to improve their job marketability. From earning college credit for military experience to receiving specialized job-search assistance, help is available for veterans trying to rejoin the civilian workforce.

Ohio Warrior Awareness Week recognizes not just our veterans but also the Ohio employers who support our Guard and Reservists before they deploy and after they return. The Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services maintains a registry 
of military-friendly employers (available at http://jfs.ohio.gov/owd/OMJResources/Military-Friendly-Employer-Registry.stm) who provide a safe and accommodating work environment for returning guard members or reservists. 

By simultaneously observing Armed Services Week and Ohio Warrior Awareness Week in Ohio, we honor those who have responded to the call to serve. Their sacrifice impacts our lives long after they have returned from active duty, and we as a state remain steadfastly committed to supporting and providing opportunities for them in return. 

For more information about the services available to Ohio veterans, visit http://dvs.ohio.gov/HOME/Veterans_Benefits.

 

 
 
 
  
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