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Veterans

For an aging individual coping with the loss of mobility, lack of proper foundations in and around a
home can lead to difficulties remaining independent and mobile. This is especially true of our nation's
veterans and as a nation, we have a duty to take care of these individuals who have sacrificed so much
for our country.

My grandmother lived in Texas, and she would remind me that everything was bigger there -- including their hearts. The work of one person, empowered by a Corporation for National and Community Service program, demonstrates how thousands of people are making a Texas-sized impact on the lives of our nation's veterans.

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.

Today, a group of young men and women, many of them veterans, will stand up and pledge to “get
things done for America”. They will join a legion of more than 750,000 Americans who have served in
AmeriCorps and become the first class to also serve as VetCorps members.

Madison Street Veterans Association began about three years ago with a group of homeless veterans living in an emergency shelter in Phoenix. The veterans decided that they should band together to improve the conditions in the shelter for themselves and any veterans who showed up in the shelter. What a difference they made!

As America's heroes return from deployments abroad and transition back into civilian life, many are facing challenges in finding employment. With the unemployment rate among recently returned veterans hovering around 12 percent, these men and women who volunteered to courageously serve our country should not have to return home with bleak opportunities in sight.

As America's heroes return from war zones and transition back into civilian life, many are facing
challenges finding work. Last month, more than over 857,000 veterans were unemployed, and the
jobless rate for post-9/11 veterans is 13.1 percent.

Many years ago, I stepped off a plane from Iraq and onto the tarmac at Pope Airfield in Fort Bragg, NC.
The scene was filled with open arms, cheers, the sound of muffled grunts of joy as weeping kids
jumped into the arms of their parents, and spouses' soft cries of love and longing. The sounds of
reunions were deafening as they bounced off the high walls of the hangar -- it was a sound that I
welcomed, and remember to this day.

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.

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