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COLUMN:Making Prince William County even more veteran-friendly

Wood, Derek
We live in a land where we serve others - in our community, in our families, and many serve our country, like I did in the Marine Corps.

Memorial Day reminds us to appreciate service and sacrifice.

Whether active duty, retiree or veteran, when sacrifice is called for, Virginians step forward.

President Theodore Roosevelt said, "A man who is good enough to shed his blood for his country is good enough to be given a square deal afterwards."

But last year, the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) released its annual State Report Card and Virginia got mixed reviews: on many services for veterans, we lag behind other states.

Some local business offer discounts to active duty but not veterans or retirees, or vice versa.

Many Prince William County veterans tell me they face long drives for the benefits they earned.

Our county offers transportation services for veterans over 55 who have medical appointments, and helps veterans with home- and community-based services as an alternative to nursing homes.

And we have approval for a new veterans’ center here in Prince William County.

These are good resources, but if Washington and Richmond want to bicker instead of find solutions, then we in Prince William County must step up and lead.

It’s why I serve on the Prince William Chamber of Commerce Veterans Council, to help veterans seeking jobs and starting businesses.

In April, I was proud to co-host the bi-partisan Prince William County Veterans Resource Fair, to help more than a dozen local veterans sign up for benefits they earned and provide information and resources for dozens more.

I’m proud I put my experience as a veteran and town councilman to work for Prince William veterans.

We need to keep bringing people together, to hear ideas to serve those who served us.

Together, we can make Prince William County stronger, for veterans and for all of us.

Semper Fidelis.

- Derrick Wood served eight years in the United States Marine Corps and is currently a Dumfries town councilman and a candidate for the Potomac District supervisor's seat.
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