Mike Rogers: Honoring America’s veterans

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Each year on Nov. 11, we honor those brave men and women who have served our country in uniform and those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we enjoy today.

As many of you across East Alabama may know, I have a Veterans Advisory Council that includes veterans from each of the 13 counties that make up the 3rd District.

These council meetings allow me the opportunity to hear directly what is on the minds of our veterans and take their concerns back to Washington.

This year our meeting is scheduled during the week of Veterans Day and will include a very special guest, Mr. Bennie Adkins of Opelika.

Mr. Adkins was awarded the Medal of Honor in September 2014 for his acts of bravery on the battlefield in Vietnam.

Mr. Adkins, like all of our veterans, is a true American hero and we look forward to having him at our meeting.

During the past couple of years, scandals have occurred within our VA healthcare system, including the Central Alabama Veterans Healthcare System (CAVHS) in Montgomery.

I think we all can agree our Veterans deserve the best care we can offer them. It is the least we can do to thank them for their selfless service.

One of the changes implemented was the Veterans Choice Program that allows veterans to get health care from non-VA doctors.

Unfortunately some of our veterans still haven’t been able to get the help they need. That is why I’ve joined U.S. Rep. Byrne in cosponsoring H.R. 1096, which would make the choice program work better by changing the criteria to closest medical service instead of medical facility.

While this is just one fix to one issue it is an example of what we as a Congress have to continue to do to make sure we keep the the Department of Veterans Affairs  accountable and responsive to the needs of our veterans.

In addition, my office always stands ready to assist any veteran from the 3rd District when it comes to dealing with the VA.

Not just on Veterans Day, but every day, I encourage all of us across East Alabama to remember the men and women in uniform that have lost their lives and to keep those still serving and their families in our thoughts and prayers. God Bless America.

Mike Rogers represents Alabama’s 3rd Congressional District. He is in his third term.

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