Today marks Veterans Day, an important reminder to honor those who have sacrificed so much in service to our state and our country. Having served 23 years in the U.S. Navy, I know the sacrifices military members and their families make. They put their lives on hold during their service, and work long after they leave the military to heal wounds, both visible and invisible, suffered while serving in the line of duty.
Veterans deserve not only our appreciation for their service, but also our commitment to taking care of them long after they return to civilian life. Veterans deserve access to high-quality healthcare that cares for them and their families, and reliable education that can put them on the path toward long-lasting careers. We also owe it to our veterans who have fallen on hard times to lift them up and help them back on the path toward leading healthy, happy lives.
Earlier today, I joined Secretary Julian Castro, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Governor Jack Markell, Senator Chris Coons and Congressman John Carney at Memorial Plaza in New Castle to celebrate progress in Delaware’s commitment to ending homelessness for our veterans. In 2014, First Lady Michelle Obama launched the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness, and in his 2015 State of the State Address, Governor Markell announced that the entire state of Delaware would answer that call and take up this challenge together. Right away, the Delaware State Housing Authority and Delaware Health and Social Services teamed up to identify Delaware’s veterans struggling with homelessness and implement a plan to end veteran homelessness in our state.
In less than two years, 414 homeless veterans have been placed in permanent housing in Delaware, and Delaware has become just the third state to reach its goal of effectively ending homelessness in our state – creating a sustainable, systematic response to ensure the number of homeless veterans in Delaware never moves backward from where it stands today. I am proud of the work Delaware has done to quickly respond to this challenge by coming together in an effort to uphold our sacred commitment to our veterans.
While Veterans Day is only celebrated one day out of the year, we have a responsibility to care for our veterans each day as if it were their holiday. While serving in the military, our women and men in uniform can’t just take a day off. And we should never take a day off from caring for them.
On this Veterans Day, I say Thank You to all of our veterans in Delaware and across the country. God bless you and your families on this day, and every day.