This Week In History
Veterans' Outreach participates in annual veterans' rights forum with Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown
On January 25, 2011, Veterans’ Outreach participated in an annual open forum to discuss veterans’ problems as well as the House Committee of Affair’s “Veterans Opportunity to Work Act” (VOW) with Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown.
Among the heads of numerous other veteran’s organizations, VO president John Ely and program service director Robert Julian joined the discussion, expressing their concerns and intent to keep the VO at the frontline in the fight for vets’ rights.
“How can we, as a non-profit, best fit into helping with this program?” Ely asked Senator Brown. “We want to help as much as possible starting with the very vets we presently help!”
In addition, Julian asked “why it takes so long, still to process vets’ claims” - an issue plaguing service members and their families for years.
Veterans’ Outreach’s inclusion in Senator Brown’s conference call is a direct result of increased aid and successful efforts to improve the rights and lives of vets across the nation.
Among those present for the conference were other various American Legion and VFW Post Commanders, as well as several with the Military Order of the Purple Heart and community leaders from across Ohio. With directions to call at 5 p.m. and present individually assigned identification numbers, the group discussed how Congress’ “Veterans Opportunity to Work Act of 2011” will benefit Ohioans directly.
Mentioned directly in President Obama’s 2012 State of the Union Address, the VOW to Hire Heroes Act will work to ease the transition from military to civilian life. In earlier correspondences, Senator Brown further explained how the act will impact small businesses and vets.
“[It] will provide tax credits to businesses that hire veterans who have been looking for a job for more than four weeks. It also expands education and training opportunities for older veterans by providing 100,000 unemployed veterans… with up to 1-year of additional Montgomery GI benefits.
“During this challenging economic climate, it is extremely important that veterans and service members have access to training and educational programs… [This] will enhance a veteran’s skill set and expand his or her employment opportunities in a competitive job market,” Brown wrote.
Among a large number of technical questions and clarifications, the conference call also served as a connecting point for Ohio veterans organizations. After a Summit County constituent indicated she planned on hosting a “Stand Down” in her area, Julian pledged the VO’s assistance with sleeping bags, food, toiletries, and volunteers- an act of charity essential to the fight for veterans’ rights.
This call is not the first among Senator Brown’s actions to create a community of business owners, civilians, and service members working towards the soldier’s cause, having supported various different pieces of legislation surrounding veterans’ rights.
“[Hopefully] it can turn into a ‘think-tank’ kind of forum,” Ely said.
With an intention of continuing the conversation with Senator Brown and other state representative’s in the future, Veterans’ Outreach will continue to actively participate in the interpretation and execution of the VOW to Hire Heroes Act.
Ely is eager for the VO’s continued participation. “[This] will hopefully get [Veterans’ Outreach] into the national spotlight so we can propagate our successes through our constituent agencies as well as present and future regional offices.”