Hurd on the Hill: The Call to Serve

May 7, 2018
Hurd on the Hill: Local Columns
Giving back to those who have given so much for us

Those who have answered the call to serve our country can be found all across the 23rd District of Texas. From Fort Bliss at the western edge to Joint Base San Antonio in the East and Laughlin Air Force Base down South, it is a continuous source of pride for me to represent the more than 4,600 active-duty military and 45,000 military veterans in the 29 counties and two time zones of the 23rd District.

During my nearly ten-year career as an undercover officer in the CIA, I witnessed firsthand the dedication, discipline and courage of many of our service men and women. Serving shoulder-to-shoulder with these patriots, I could feel their love for their country, their brothers and sisters in arms and their loved ones back home. Those who make the sacrifice to protect our freedoms deserve our gratitude and recognition.

As we celebrate Military Appreciation Month throughout May, I encourage each of you to thank service members you meet and perhaps answer a call of your own to give back to those who have given so much to us.

There are countless opportunities for folks to show appreciation for the armed forces in our own backyard. One way is to volunteer through a local nonprofit organization, such as the United Services Organization (USO) which facilitates community activities for active duty military, veterans and military families. From reading to children and providing prom dresses for teenagers of deployed service members, to caring for wounded soldiers, there’s no shortage of opportunities to engage at your local USO.  Local VA hospitals and veteran long-term living facilities are also always on the lookout for hardworking volunteers to warm the hearts of our nation’s heroes. Additionally, be sure to check the myriad of additional organizations across TX-23 giving back to those who serve, such as military-based non-profits like Team Red White and Blue, with chapters in San Antonio and El Paso, and local VFW and veteran social groups. An equally great opportunity to show your appreciation is to volunteer your time with less obvious organizations like Goodwill Industries or Texas Parks and Wildlife which have robust veteran outreach and job training programs.

Folks who commit their time and effort to help our military communities deserve our thanks as well. Recently, one such Texan received an award for serving 40,000 hours as a volunteer in the Big Springs VA facility, which provides service to many of my West Texas constituents. In honor of this achievement, this week I submitted a letter of endorsement to re-name a waiting area at George H. O’Brien Medical Center after Ms. Clara Lewis for her selfless service to active-duty military and veterans in need.

If you would like to volunteer for active-duty military and veterans causes in your area, my office can help point you in the right direction by sharing resources and facilitating introductions. Our military members have sacrificed so much to protect our freedoms and giving your time is a tremendous way to express gratitude.