West Virginia is proud to be home to so many distinguished men and women who have bravely served, or who are actively serving, our country. We appreciate the sacrifices each person and each family has made in the name of service to our nation. Every day, and especially on Memorial Day, we pause to reflect on this incredible service and to honor and remember those who’ve given the ultimate sacrifice.
While we can never truly repay our women and men in uniform, and their families, for the sacrifices they’ve made, we must take every available opportunity to honor them. One way we can honor the men and women we’ve lost is to support all our servicemembers and veterans by making sure they receive the benefits and services they need and deserve.
I’m so proud to report some important progress here in West Virginia that will improve veterans’ access to care. In February, a long-awaited mobile health clinic was delivered to Mercer County. The mobile clinic will directly benefit veterans in southern West Virginia and the Beckley VA Medical Center. This clinic gives veterans in this area more immediate access to the primary and mental health care services they need and deserve, and I am so proud to have played a part in bringing this clinic to the Beckley area.
Furthermore, making sure the VA has the capacity to care for all the veterans who rely on it is a moral responsibility for those of us in Congress, and one I take very seriously. Currently, the VA faces major challenges – including reports of misconduct in VA facilities around the country. While investigations are underway, we can’t let it distract us from what is most important, which is caring for our veterans.
The VA is enrolling more veterans than ever before, and many of them are being admitted with complex injuries unlike we’ve seen in the past. As tens of thousands of our troops continue to come home – often with mental health problems or severe, debilitating wounds – Congress continues to fund this agency, with its incredible demands and health care costs, at only one-half of our entire military budget.
To help the VA meet this profound obligation to our veterans, Congress must prioritize the care and long-term health of our veterans – which includes making sure the VA has adequate funding to address every veteran who accesses its services for their health care.
Protecting and improving the services our veterans receive is one of the best ways to honor them, and I pledge to continue my work to make sure the VA has the resources it needs to meet our nation’s obligations to our veterans. I also encourage West Virginians to find their own way of honoring our fallen and active servicemembers. A simple act of gratitude – a kind word or a thank you – goes such a long way in further expressing our thanks for all they’ve given to defend our freedoms and keep us safe.