On the eve of the celebration of our independence, I would like to issue a special salute to uniformed service members, veterans and their family members. Your continued sacrifices have made celebrating the Fourth of July possible for 233 years and counting.
Wisconsinites fight for our freedom every day. The Wisconsin Guard has roughly 3,600 soldiers and airmen on active duty.
While we are all proud and supportive of these brave individuals, lengthy deployments can cause a lot of stress for the folks at home. When a soldier, sailor, airman or Marine is gone, families have to learn to function without them around every day. When a service member returns, family members have the sometimes difficult task of helping that veteran transition back to civilian life.
Making sure that families have what they need is a professional and personal mission for me. As a former U.S. Navy Reserve member, and now as chair of the Senate Committee on Veterans and Military Affairs, I know the commitment to service our troops make. I also know what it is like to grow up in a military family. My father served in Vietnam, commanding a PT boat in 1966. He served for 27 years around the world, retiring from the Coast Guard here in Milwaukee. As a parent today, I realize the impact the challenges of service have on military families. Looking back, I see what a critical role our community played in supporting our lives.
Below is information about some important programs designed to help military families:
Military OneSource is provided by the Department of Defense at no cost to active duty, Guard and Reserve (regardless of activation status) and their families. You can get answers to questions about education, relocation, parenting, stress, or any other related topic. Visit Military OneSource at www.militaryonesource.com or call 1-800-342-9647.
Operation Life Transformed provides education and resources to our military, military spouses, war wounded caregivers, veterans and veteran’s spouses. The group supports military spouses and war wounded caregivers who need to re-enter the workforce. To learn more about the group, visit www.operationlifetransformed.org.
We also have incredible local resources for soldiers and their families. Operation: Families First, a program based West Allis/West Milwaukee, provides soldiers’ families with information on benefits, community activities and support groups. To learn more, visit www.wawmfamiliesfirst.org.
I hope these links are helpful.
And again, on behalf of the people of Wisconsin who continue to enjoy the freedoms bestowed upon Americans, I would like to thank those who continue to fight for our liberties and the families who support them. As we celebrate this Fourth of July, we can look forward to another year of independence because of you.