Pro­vid­ing help for our vet­er­ans

The Hazleton Standard-Speaker - - OPINION - Rep. tarah toohil REP. TARAH TOOHIL isa Re­pub­li­can who rep­re­sents the 116th Dis­trict in the state House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

Through­out the na­tion this week­end, com­mu­ni­ties are pay­ing tribute to vet­er­ans with a va­ri­ety of pa­rades, cer­e­monies and ded­i­ca­tions.

This year also marks the 100th an­niver­sary of the armistice which ended World War I, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. Pres­i­dent Woodrow Wil­son de­clared a na­tional day to com­mem­o­rate the armistice a year later in 1919. That has since be­come Vet­er­ans Day.

The sac­ri­fices these men and women make — all to pro­tect our free­doms and our way of life — can never truly be re­paid. We are for­ever in their debt and re­main grate­ful for all they do.

The Penn­syl­va­nia Gen­eral Assem­bly con­tin­ues to do its part by en­act­ing new laws to help fam­i­lies of ac­tive-duty mil­i­tary mem­bers and vet­er­ans.

Act 119 of 2018 re­quires pub­lic schools to pro­vide sup­port ser­vices and in­for­ma­tion to a stu­dent when a par­ent or guardian is de­ployed for ac­tive duty. To help raise ad­di­tional funds for vet­er­ans’ pro­grams and ser­vices, Act 149 of 2018 al­lows ap­pli­cants for a two-year ve­hi­cle reg­is­tra­tion to dou­ble their do­na­tion to the Vet­er­ans Trust Fund, when com­pleted on­line.

These new laws are in ad­di­tion to Act 9 of 2017, the so­called Stolen Valor Law, which makes it a crime for some­one to mis­rep­re­sent mil­i­tary ser­vice or hon­ors for the pur­pose of fraud­u­lently at­tempt­ing to ob­tain money, prop­erty or other ben­e­fits.

To help en­sure vet­er­ans have ac­cess to the wide range of sup­port ser­vices and pro­grams avail­able to them, the Penn­syl­va­nia De­part­ment of Mil­i­tary and Vet­er­ans Af­fairs has com­piled an on­line registry to bet­ter con­nect vet­er­ans with avail­able re­sources. Reg­is­tra­tion takes only a few min­utes, and can be done at www .reg­is­ter.dmva.pa.gov.

Through this registry, vet­er­ans can choose to have their in­for­ma­tion shared with their county di­rec­tor of vet­er­ans af­fairs and other rel­e­vant state agen­cies. They can also opt in to re­ceive timely, in­for­ma­tive emails re­gard­ing lo­cal, state and na­tional news; pro­gram up­dates; com­mu­nity events; and em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties avail­able specif­i­cally for vet­er­ans.

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