Recognizing the Contributions of the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroesby Representative Tulsi Gabbard
Posted on 2013-12-12
in the house of representatives
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Ms. GABBARD. Mr. Speaker, as President Calvin Coolidge said, ``A
nation that that forgets its defenders will soon be forgotten.'' I rise
today to recognize the contributions of The Coalition to Salute
America's Heroes, a group that recently invited me to participate in an
event honoring the sacrifice and the service of our servicemembers.
There, I had the privilege of meeting Corporal Donny Daughenbaugh, a
Coalition spokesman who was severely injured during routine patrol in
Iraq, as well as Sergeant Mary Herrera, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.), and
Sergeant Jorge DeLeon, U.S. Army (Ret.). Herrera and DeLeon also were
injured in the line of duty while serving our country overseas. Despite
their injuries, these selfless heroes have weathered an extremely
challenging recovery and are now using their own experience to help
fellow veterans make the transition to civilian life. Like so many
other veterans, their resilience and love of country endures after they
return home and begin to face these tremendous challenges.
The event focused on the growing, serious challenges facing young veterans, particularly, homelessness, which is fast becoming a crisis among female combat veterans. These veterans, who step up to serve and are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to protect our nation, all too often don't have the support they need when they return home.
I have seen firsthand the overwhelming challenges our returning warriors face in Hawai`i and across the nation. Tragically, more than 1,100 veterans in Hawai`i alone have experienced homelessness. While the overall number of homeless veterans is decreasing, homeless female veterans are the fastest-growing segment of the homeless population. Female veterans are also more likely to suffer post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and frequently have children who also suffer.
The Coalition, led by David Walker, is a national 501(c)(3), non- profit, non-partisan organization, established in 2004 to address the needs of severely wounded veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and their families. The organization provides emergency financial assistance and other support services to help them recover from their injuries, rebuild their lives, and successfully transition back into civilian life. In addition to its work to address homelessness, the Coalition's emergency aid services also aim,to combat the troubling rates of suicide and domestic abuse among servicemembers and veterans.
This week in Orlando, Florida, the Coalition is hosting 100 combat- wounded veterans at its seventh annual Road to Recovery Conference and Tribute, a program that provides sessions on professional development, financial planning, and relationships.
Hawai`i has a proud tradition of military service to our nation, and is the grateful home [[Page E1849]] of thousands of veterans and their families. I commend the work of the Coalition to Salute America's Heroes to ensure that our nation's defenders are never forgotten.