There are nearly 25 million military veterans in America today and about 411,000 military veterans living in Minnesota. Veterans Day is Thursday, a day for us celebrate the bravery and sacrifices of those true heroes who put their families, communities and country first.
Please take a moment to thank any friends or family members who have served in our military, or even visit the Fergus Falls Veterans Home. Veterans Day is a good day to visit and let our veterans know how much we appreciate their efforts.
Veterans Day actually kicks off an entire week is dedicated to making sure future generations understand what our veterans’ selfless sacrifices mean to all of us. “National Veterans Awareness Week,” is Nov. 11-17 as declared by a United States Senate resolution which passed in 2001. This resolution calls for educational efforts directed at elementary and secondary school students concerning the contributions and sacrifices of veterans.
It is good to know the legacy of our veterans will be understood by future generations. But education starts in the home so please make a point of relaying the message to young family members this week.
This also is a good time to check out programs and service available to veterans through the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs and other agencies. I encourage you to pass the information below to anyone who could benefit, or even take a minute to assist a veteran who may need a helping hand.
LinkVet, the Veterans Linkage Line for Minnesota veterans, makes it easier for veterans and their families to find services and ensure immediate crisis intervention. During business hours, trained staff from the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs will provide information on veterans’ benefits, healthcare, education, and reintegration. The line will roll to Crisis Connection counselors for 24-hour, seven days a week coverage (including holidays) for immediate crisis intervention and psychological counseling. For more information on LinkVet, log on to http://www.mdva.state.mn.us/LinkVet.htm or call 1-888-546-5838.
Minnesota GI Bill
The Minnesota GI Bill program provides postsecondary educational assistance to eligible Minnesota veterans, and to the children and spouses of deceased or severely disabled Minnesota Veterans. For eligibility requirements and financial assistance information, log on to http://www.minnesotaveteran.org/education/MNGIBill.htm or call 651-642-0567.
The Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs now offers e-mail lists to keep you informed of veteran issues in Minnesota. To sign up for the newsletters, log on to http://www.mdva.state.mn.us/newsletter.htm or call 1-888-546-5838.
As for legislative business, we've been putting the foundation in place to assume the House majority when the 2011 session begins Jan. 4. We
have elected Rep. Kurt Zellers of Maple Grove as the new House Speaker and Rep. Matt Dean of the White Bear Lake area was elected as the new
Majority Leader. Next is to name committee chairs and assign members to those committees. I'll keep you posted.