On Veterans Day, we pay tribute to those brave men and women who have served our nation in uniform.
We also honor the enduring service of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen. Whether during peacetime or war, at home or abroad, their service has been characterized by selflessness and a sense of greater purpose.
On so many battlefields, over so many generations, they have shown the true measure of American character. Whether they fought on the beaches of Normandy, or the skies over Midway, or through the mountains of Afghanistan – they have protected our nation and advanced the cause of freedom. That is something we must never take for granted.
I recently had the opportunity to thank Idaho’s veterans by participating in the Greater Boise Area Veterans Day Parade. I’ve attended the parade every year I’ve been in Congress and I’ve loved every minute of it.
As your representative, one of the greatest honors I have is to be a voice for Idaho’s veterans. Sometimes that means helping veterans receive money they are owed by the government. Other times it means helping a veteran secure military awards. But in a few cases, it means introducing legislation that benefits not just one veteran, but all veterans.
This year, I introduced legislation on behalf of an Idaho military family to fix an oversight with their benefits. I first met Capt. Edward Hill and his wife, Heidi, in 2013, when I presented them with a Congressional Bronze Medal on behalf of their daughter, Shauna, who died in a car accident. Capt. Hill, who served 28 years as a Navy pilot, had designated Shauna as the beneficiary for his education benefits before his retirement. But after Shauna’s death, Capt. Hill learned he couldn’t reassign the benefits to their second child, Haley. The law didn’t allow any changes after retirement and no waivers were permitted.
Seeing this as an oversight, I promised the Hills that I would seek a legislative fix. On February 16, I introduced the Shauna Hill Post 9/11 Education Benefits Transferability Act. This bill honors the Hill family by permitting the reassignment of education benefits in cases where the designated beneficiary passes away. I’m proud to tell you that on July 24, the House passed my bill, and a few weeks later, President Trump signed it into law.
Please remember that I’m always here to serve you. If you or someone you know needs help with the VA or another federal agency, please contact my office. Every year, my office handles about 1,000 cases, the largest proportion of which are for veterans. Since 2014 alone, we’ve recovered over $3.5 million in veterans’ benefits.
I am so proud of our military men and women in Idaho. And I am humbled by the opportunity they have given me – and all Americans: The opportunity to live peacefully in the greatest country in the world. And the greatest country that will ever be.
May God bless them, and may God continue to bless America.