Giving Thanks for Our Veterans By Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz

As the dust settles from the recent elections, we turn our focus in November to honoring our veterans, and giving thanks for our good fortune throughout the year.

Each year on Veterans Day, Americans remember and honor those men and women who have defended our great country. Just as we must never forget their service and sacrifice, we must also stand firm in our commitment to help veterans as they return to civilian life.  In Florida we have more than 1.6 million veterans, and as our men and women return home, we must ensure that they have access to the help they need, whether it is finding a job or securing health care and housing, or just getting back into the daily routine of family life.

After serving our country honorably and courageously, the last thing our veterans should have to worry about when they finally come home to their loved ones is whether or not they will be able to find a job.  That is why I am proud to be a cosponsor of H.R. 1941, the Hiring Heroes Act of 2011, which would help get veterans back to work.  I also applaud President Barack Obama’s expanded commitment to alleviate unemployment among our veterans, to end veteran’s homelessness and to support our military families.

In an effort to help our veterans find employment, Reps. Ted Deutch (FL-19), Alcee Hastings (FL-23) Frederica Wilson (FL-17), and I hosted a successful veterans’ job fair at the Fort Lauderdale Armory in October. We hope to hold more in the future in our ongoing efforts to help our veterans.

It is also my hope that some of our returning veterans will take up the torch left behind by veterans like South Florida’s own Bill Kling.  He was a member of our “greatest generation” of Americans, serving our nation as a radar technician for the Navy during World War II.  But Bill’s service to our nation was far from over when he returned from war.  He became a national leader and one of the strongest advocates for Florida’s veterans. Bill was dedicated to helping generations of veterans as they returned to civilian life and he worked tirelessly to make sure our veterans were getting the benefits they deserved – from education under the GI bill to quality health care through our VA system.

In an effort to memorialize Bill Kling’s contributions to South Florida, Rep. Deutch and I have introduced legislation to rename the Broward County VA Outpatient Clinic in honor of him.  With passage of this bill, every veteran who walks through the doors of the Broward VA Clinic will know the name of the man who did so much for so many.

As we give thanks to our brave men and women for defending our freedom across the globe, November is also a time to be thankful for our family, friends, and good fortune throughout the year as we all gather to celebrate Thanksgiving.

I am especially grateful to all of my constituents in South Florida for allowing me the opportunity to continue representing you in Washington. I am proud to be an advocate for you, and my office is always open to you. You can reach us in Pembroke Pines at 954-437-3936, in Aventura at 305-936-5724 and in Washington, DC at 202-225-7931.  I’m also available on Facebook, and you can download my mobile app for iPhone and Android here.

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