Several legislative programs and gubernatorial proclamations claim that Florida is “the most veteran-friendly state.” But a 2017 legislative committee not only ignored a scheduled bill presentation to refund the Florida Veterans Foundation, but also decided to just plain quit, hours early. This dereliction of duty was a sign of disrespect to the general and other ranking veterans (including Purple Heart recipients) on hand to testify on the foundation’s behalf — and further disrespected the 1.5 million veterans who live and work in this state.
There would not even be a Florida Legislature — and this glorious country — if our valiant veterans had been similarly derelict and gone home early instead of fighting and dying for us. It is a travesty that a committee of elected public servants was unable to spend 15 minutes listening to veterans.
I am the proud sister of James Wolf Jordan, a Vietnam Veteran who received a Silver Star for combat valor and battlefield commissions.
In my brother’s honor, I gladly worked 12-hour days with hundreds of other volunteers at the 2017 North Florida Homeless & At-Risk Veterans Stand Down on April 21-22. This annual health, education, and employment event assisted more than 300 veterans in two days.
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At Stand Down, I assisted veterans who fought in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, Iraq, and Afghanistan — many without homes or families or limbs or sight.
I hope there is a reasonable explanation for this travesty of a funding oversight — and a fix for it. We need action ASAP or thousands of Florida veterans will fall through the cracks.
It also would be wise for any elected official to remember that Florida veterans, along with their families and many supporters, are a voting block more than 5 million strong.
Elizabeth Ellelia Woodsmall, Tallahassee