November 08, 2018
OAKLAND, ME – Today, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) honored Maine’s veterans in a speech at Messalonskee Middle School’s annual Veterans Tribute Assembly. In preparation for the assembly, students completed projects focused on learning about military service and the sacrifices of America’s veterans. During his remarks, Senator King highlighted students’ work on their projects, honored the veterans in attendance, and underscored the importance of living up to the sacred responsibility of caring for those who have served.
“An event like today’s truly epitomizes what makes Maine so special. These students at Messalonskee Middle School are not only learning about the sacrifices of our veterans, but also understanding – at their young age – the responsibility that we have as community members to ensure that these veterans are cared for,” said Senator King. “Maine has a long tradition of brave service, with one of the highest numbers of veterans per capita in the United States, and it’s important for students to have a strong, first-hand understanding of the opportunities and challenges that veterans face in their own communities. Year after year, the students and faculty at Messalonskee Middle School honor the service of our veterans – and in doing so, remind us all about the gratitude we owe to the men and women who have served.”
Senator King has been a strong advocate for veterans issues during his time in Washington. Last month, he attended the 6th Annual Women Veterans’ Luncheon in Rumford where he recognized and commended the attendees, who represented all branches of military service. In October, he joined Maine veterans at the 21st Annual Homeless Veterans Stand Down at Togus VA Medical Center to highlight services and resources for veterans who are homeless or in transitional housing. In September, he joined a panel featuring veterans’ healthcare experts and caregivers at the Portland Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC), to discuss common suicide risk factors and warning signs for suicide and provide information about VA mental health and suicide prevention resources. Also in September, he applauded the House and Senate’s passage of the MilCon-VA Conference Report, which aims to consolidate and improve VA community care programs and reform the VA’s existing facilities to best serve veterans. In June, his bill to strengthen accountability of senior executives at the VA was signed into law.
In April, Senator King visited the Travis Mills Foundation Veterans Retreat in Rome, which brings injured veterans and their families to Maine in order to help the veterans overcome physical obstacles with the support of family members. Senator King also highlighted the important place of veterans in Maine by dedicating his November 2017 and December 2017 podcasts to the subject, with Travis Mills as one of the guests on the latter show. In December 2017, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced it will fund three new positions in Maine to better serve justice-involved Maine veterans confronting homelessness, mental health or substance abuse issues – a move which followed a February 2017 letter from Senator King to the VA urging additional resources on the topic.