By Troy Singleton, New Jersey State Senator
This week we once again celebrated Veterans Day. It originally celebrated the signing of the armistice that ended World War I. We have expanded that celebratory day to offer a day of thanks to all U.S. military personnel, active or retired.
Our servicemen and women have made a heroic commitment to the nation, placing themselves and their comrades in harm’s way. Additionally, their families also share a huge share of that burden, given the demands of the military, often beginning with absences from home.
Our political system allows for preferential treatment of certain businesses or industries, given the benefit that accrues to society as a whole. No one, however, is or should be more respected and assisted than those who serve in the military.
Indeed, when we think of them, we should focus on the “serving” part of their profession.
I have been a strong supporter of our military personnel and their families from my first day in office. I am proud to have many proposals which are particularly focused on New Jersey’s veteran population enacted into law. I also believe that while we are expressing our thanks on Veterans Day by words and deeds highlighted by tributes and ceremonies, we can do more. Action is often the best way to express thanks, and this is why I am engaged in these new initiatives that assist our veterans.
Senate Bill No. 2444 would require the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs to conduct a study on the outcomes and efficacy of the veteran-to-veteran peer support group. There is an assumption that peer-to-peer support is a positive approach for veterans who face unusual stress and challenges that is different from civilian life. This two-year study would review, for example, the veteran’s hotline data to help determine, for example, precisely how helpful the hotline is in leading veterans to sustained mental health care and suicide prevention.
Senate Bill No. 2968 touches upon the economics that affects military personnel and their families. This bill would permit certain health care professionals to waive health insurance co-payments for members of the military on active duty and their family members. It would also potentially help to remove one potentially burdensome requirement when a family already pays its price by active duty. This is a fair and responsible approach that helps to mitigate potential financial strain.
SR-76 is a resolution that urges Congress to require Veterans Affairs hospitals to provide all routine screenings for women veterans on-site at each hospital. Women now account for about 10% of the armed forces and have different medical needs from men. These military women should have access to on-site or at facilities in their community for regular screening, without having to travel outside their orbit for these services. Women proudly served our country and risked their lives. This resolution urges that we commit and invest in the health and well-being of all our brave women veterans.
Our veterans deserve our respect and thanks. The freedoms we enjoy every day were paid for by the blood, sweat and sacrifice of these patriots. It is that we honor their selfless service with a commitment to support them equally when they return home as we should when they are on the battlefield. Please join me in that endeavor.
That’s my take, what’s yours?