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Veterans and Military Families

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The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) just announced a tremendous commitment to support veterans and military families at the National Conference on Volunteering and Service. From expanded grants to increased “people power” in areas of need, we are ready to stand with our soldiers to provide opportunities that will help them continue their service here at home while we serve their special needs.

As we celebrate the 4th of July, we celebrate our patriotism and the millions who have shown their love
of country by wearing the uniform. There are a few Veterans among us -- 16,000 so far -- who came
home and volunteered for a second time and served their communities though AmeriCorps.

Paul Reickhoff, president and CEO of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, has an idea about a great, untapped American resource. He believes national service models based on AmeriCorps to harness and leverage the skills of military veterans and can “help people think about us as the cavalry, not as a problem.

In the spring of 2011, a Marine stood on the porch steps of his new home in Annapolis, MD. He was not
thinking about the beautiful row house that he would now share with his wife and four children, but was
looking down at the porch that he helped build with his own hands. He was contemplating his spirit of
service with a renewed vigor and hope.

After defending our country in locations all around the world, many veterans find more battles await
them when they return home. A new initiative was announced today to support and ease the
reintegration of returning service members, veterans, and their families as they search for jobs and
support services.

Recently discharged veterans shouldn't have to struggle to find work when they return home from
service, but they often do. AmeriCorps VISTA Heather Hays is helping vets make the most of a program
that lets them serve their country in a new way while placing them on a pathway to permanent
employment.

Of the 130,000 veterans in Idaho, more than 30,000 are registered with the Idaho Department of Labor
to receive employment resources and job training. Budget cuts, however, have put this program in
jeopardy.

African American History Month has ended, and while the official celebration is over, our contributions
to society don't end on any given particular day. Likewise, our African American service members
continue to contribute and make history, even after they take off their uniforms for the last time.

Service has many meanings. To a member of the Armed Forces, service is duty, pride, and honor. Those of us who wear – or have worn – the uniform have a deep sense of conviction and purpose.

The mood was merry when Dr. Jill Biden hosted a fourth-grade class from White Oaks Elementary School in Burke, Virginia at the Vice President's Residence on Monday, Dec. 12. The festive event focused on helping children understand the challenges faced by military families during the holiday season.

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