By Amanda Creech
Four organizations came together Friday to announce their support for legislation to help veterans.
“We’re so excited to be working together with these other three organizations collectively for nearly half a million Hoosier veterans,” Larry Lowry, commander of the American Legion in Indiana. “We’re also excited to openly work with our wonderful legislators and state agencies who do and have done so much for the state.”
The American Legion, The Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans and American Veterans joined together at the Statehouse to express the need for veteran aid.
“We have a crisis in Indiana. Indiana was ranked the worst state for military retirees in the fall of 2015,” said Lisa Wilken, legislative director for AMVETS Indiana
. “That came on the heels of no topics being assigned to our legislative interim study committee on military and veterans.”
Indiana ranks 46th in the country with regards to bringing benefits to veterans in the state, according to Wilken, even though Indiana has the fourth largest National Guard and the 16th largest veteran population.
The organizations are focusing on helping legislators on issues like education for veterans, excise and property taxes for veterans, and giving all veterans a proper burial.
“The Missing in America Act would give these homeless veterans that have no family or near relatives an honorable burial, with full military honors,” Terry Sanders, state commander of the Department of Indiana Disabled American Veterans, said.
Sanders stressed a focus on all veterans.
“There are many, many veterans that are falling through the cracks in Indiana, as they are nationwide. We need to put up a safety net for those veterans,” he said. “We need to help them, whether they’re disabled veterans, unemployed vets, homeless veterans, we need to help them all.”
“We’re willing to do whatever it takes to work bipartisan to make our state a better place for veterans to live and grow their families,” Lowry said.