LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Remember the veteran

As of this writing, June 23, we are a week away from the deadline for completion of the state budget. Legislative websites are reporting Gov. Carney has mixed feelings about restoring even partial grant in aid to nonprofit organizations.

We trust our legislators will restore the 20 percent reduction cut from last year’s budget, especially the ones that affect veterans.

There is no one who contributes more to our security than military who sacrifice their family time, effort and lives to protect us. Fewer than one in four young people even qualify to enter the military based on factors like education level, physical fitness, substance abuse, and police records.

Veteran service organizations are not charities. They provide assistance to their members and ask for very little in return. They receive $244,233 grant in aid from the state, yet veterans overall bring more than $2 billion annually to our state economy.

That includes their paychecks, retirement and disability benefits, federal education and health care funding that includes the VA hospital in Elsmere, clinics in every county, the Veterans Home in Milford and more recently, health care from civilian providers under expanded VA guidelines. Nor does that include the revenue and jobs created at Dover AFB.

Since 1999, a veteran service officer, primarily supported by Delaware’s Vietnam Veterans of America, helped disabled veterans from all generations claim about $1.7 million annually in federal benefits due them, yet would have had to close his office last year had the state VVA council not pledged to replace the $12,000 cut from a state grant. They are still struggling to make up the money, as would veterans who would be forced to apply to the state for benefits like fuel assistance, medical, food and social services.

Delaware’s 87,000 veterans start businesses, create jobs and pay their taxes. They run toward danger on our behalf. They and their families also understand and value the power of the ballot.

Legislators, don’t forget the vet.

Dave Skocik
Delaware Veterans Coalition

Paul Davis
State Council, Vietnam Veterans of America

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