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Recently while in Franklin County, I passed by the Spc. Jeffrey L. White, Jr. Post Office in Pacific. Like many of you who live near that area, I've been by that building countless times. It's a fine building and a good post office with great postal workers. But the name of the post office always catches my attention and serves as a sobering reminder of one of the many Missouri veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Like so many before him and too many since, Spc. White gave his life in defense of this nation while serving in the U.S. military. I was proud to pass the bill to rename the post office in his honor, but much more importantly, I am eternally grateful for his sacrifice and the service of all our veterans.

Missouri is home to more than 400,000 veterans. This week, we celebrated Veterans Day and the millions of brave men and women who have dedicated their lives to keeping this country safe and preserving the freedoms we enjoy each and every day. You'll be hard-pressed to find a veteran who is looking for a thank you; the same mentality that led them to serve often prevents them from seeking any credit. That is the reason Veterans Day and making a point to thank veterans is so important. It is also the reason I continue to support and advocate for legislation that provides our veterans the services they have earned and most certainly deserve. In a year that has limited access to VA hospitals and many veterans, due to their service, are a part of our high-risk population, increased services and support are more important than ever.

One of the most enjoyable initiatives my office leads every year is our "Valentines for Veterans" program. Each year, we ask classrooms across the Third District to create valentines for the veterans in our community to let them know we're thinking about them and thankful for their service. We have received and delivered tens of thousands of valentines over the years. Receiving encouraging notes from children and adults alike at our office is always heartwarming and a great reminder of how kind and caring our community really is.

Most importantly, my job is to be a resource to veterans looking for help. We are able to help with a wide array of issues like pension, survivor, life insurance and education benefits. We are also able to help with issues dealing with the VA, from problems such as getting proper care to helping obtain documentation. The Missouri Department of Public Safety Veterans Commission is also a great resource for getting help with things like benefits, connecting with your local military community and enrolling in VA health care. These and more helpful resources can be found on their website, mvc.dps.mo.gov.

Missouri veterans have given so much for this country. Veterans Day is a reminder of that, but every day is a good opportunity to honor the incredible men and women who are currently serving our country, retired from duty, the souls we have lost and the families they left at home. This week and every week, we thank you for protecting our country and for keeping us free.

Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer (R) serves as the United States Representative for Missouri's 3rd Congressional District.

 

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