FREDERICK, Md (WDVM) — Dozens of local veterans gathered Thursday evening at the Evangelical Reformed United Church of Christ for a workshop hosted by members of congress that centered on the needs of the thousands who’ve served.
Congressman David Trone (D-MD) was joined by fellow members of Congress, Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA) and Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), both former military members, for a workshop to hear from a community that’s home to a large population of veterans.
“You’ve got 41,000 veterans in [Maryland’s sixth district], and the biggest concentration is Frederick County and right after that, Washington County.”
One of the biggest concerns for veterans is navigating through the resources available to them after they part of the military.
“It’s not always obvious to women veterans what’s out there,” U.S. Army Nurse Corps veteran, Suzanne Sella expressed.
“Why make it difficult? Why make it hard? Why have red tape? Why have all these blockades? If the veteran is disabled, needs it, deserves it, get it to him,” a man in attendance said.
A new veteran’s services center is planned for construction in Frederick.
During the workshop event, about 18 different organizations were present to readily help veterans review their benefits from the Department of Veteran’s Affairs and non-profits displayed resources like therapy dogs.
“Overall, an issue I see most from veterans is finding that new sense of purpose once they’ve left the military. That’s the big issue. And that’s a hard issue to solve. This is a cultural problem and working with private businesses to hire veterans is really taking off,” Rep. Dan Crenshaw explained.
Terry Shreiner, founder of 22 March for Life, Inc., says transitioning out of service is a difficult change that could be better with more guidance before discharge.
“The biggest thing that I think and my opinion is that it starts in the military. The separation process is so quick, we need to give these people a roadmap,” Shreiner said.
The group of congressmen says the listening session provided significant insight that will fuel conversations on Capitol Hill.