Major General Peter Lennon, who commands 36,000 soldiers, joins state legislators, local officials and veterans to shine light on how NYS can better help veterans
Assemblyman Jim Tedisco (R,C,I-Glenville) and Senator Hugh T. Farley (R,C,I-Niskayuna) today announced new legislation to create a voluntary tax check-off for New Yorkers to contribute to programs and services for veterans.
Tedisco and Farley joined New York native and U.S. Army Major General Peter S. Lennon, Commanding General of the 337th Sustainment Command in Belle Chasse, Louisiana, local officials and Saratoga County veterans, to tour the Guardian House for homeless female veterans in Ballston Spa, which is the type of program that could benefit from this new legislation.
The bill, (A.5409/S.4349), creates a voluntary tax check-off fund for New Yorkers to contribute to veterans programs and services like the Guardian House for women veterans.
“There’s a phrase that’s frequently used by people when they are appreciative, ‘thanks for everything.’ When it comes to our veterans, there can be no more literal definition of that saying because we are thankful to our veterans for giving us everything. Everything we as Americans hold dear. All of our freedoms and liberties and relative safety are due to the service and sacrifice of a veteran. In many instances, we don’t see the psychological toll of war on our veterans. This bill is one way our state government can be an ombudsman for the public to say in deeds ‘thanks for everything’ to our veterans by supporting programs like the Guardian House to help our returning service women and men get back on their feet and achieve the American Dream they fought so hard to protect for us,” said Tedisco.
“Our country owes a debt of gratitude to our veterans,” said Farley. “More needs to be done to ensure that they have the programs and services they need. There are many valuable programs throughout New York State, such as the VETHELP programs offered by the Saratoga County RPC, to assist veterans with their health, mental health, employment and housing needs. Our tax check-off bill would provide citizens with a convenient and effective way to assist veterans by providing financial support for programs like these.”
This year’s state budget included a tax credit which Tedisco and Farley voted for to encourage businesses to hire veterans who have served since September 11, 2001 ($5,000 tax credit to hire a post 9/11 veteran and up to $15,000 for a disabled veteran).
Major General Lennon, a reservist, is in charge of 36,000 soldiers in 34 states. Most recently, General Lennon led the Army Reserves’ response to Hurricane Sandy. Previously, he served as Deputy Director of Logistics, U.S. Central Command, was an architect of the Northern Distribution Network into Afghanistan and directed the Oil for Food program in Iraq.
The Guardian House, which is run by the Saratoga Rural Preservation Company’s VETHELP program, offers residential housing and support services to 11 homeless female veterans. The Guardian House recently won a $25,000 Home Depot Foundation award to renovate part of the building. It’s now in the running for a $250,000 prize.
General Lennon reached out to Tedisco and Farley and asked to see local programs for veterans like the Guardian House, which helps female veterans re-assimilate to civilian life so they can get back on their feet, that the Army can support and replicate nationally.
“The brave men and women who have served our country deserve and need the continued support of all New Yorkers, said Clifton Park Town Supervisor Phil Barrett. “Providing an additional alternative for New Yorkers to support our Veterans is a common sense measure that is worthy of support from all New York State elected officials. I am proud to partner with Mr. Easton and Clifton Park Veterans to present this initiative and very thankful to Assemblyman Tedisco and Senator Farley for introducing the bill to the NYS Legislature for consideration. Mr. Tedisco and Mr. Farley continue to be champions for our Veterans.”
“The Saratoga County Rural Preservation Company’s Vet Help welcomes Major General Lennon, Senator Farley and Assemblyman Tedisco to the Guardian House and wants to say a huge thank-you for their continued support through Legislative Bill A.5409/S.4349 and helping Vet Help with our efforts to win Home Depot’s Aprons in Action Contest,” said Don Little, Director of Veteran Programs for the Saratoga County Rural Preservation Company, and a Vietnam veteran.
“This fund will give New Yorkers the opportunity to financially support veterans’ programs. The number of issues affecting veterans makes this support even more critical. Homelessness is one issue and the Guardian House is a facility which could benefit from this tax check off proposal,” said Jim Easton of Clifton Park, a Vietnam veteran who, along with Clifton Park Supervisor Barrett, approached Tedisco and Farley with the idea for this legislation.