A Bill – Oregon Military Task Force
Yesterday, a bill was introduced, before the Oregon House Committee on Veteran Affairs, a bill to establish a Military Family Task Force. Stacy Bannerman, a a passionate military family advocate and author of the book When the War Cam Home, testified before the committee. The Task Force is
[d]esigned to include military family members from all regions of the state, who represent different branches of the military, and a variety of ages and experiences, such as a teenager whose parent deployed with the OR National Guard, the wife who is a caretaker of her disabled veteran, and the Gold Star parent, the Task Force will provide members of the Assembly with expert witness and opinion on legislation, and recommendations and advice on current and future issues that could improve or influence the Oregon Military’s Family Programs and programs that include or support veterans’ families at the VA and Vet Centers.
Guard families are spread out throughout the state, they usually don’t live close to a post/base, and are extremely isolated in the community. Especially the kids, who may be the only one in their school with a parent deployed, or dealing with issues post deployment.
For nearly a decade, less than 1% of the population has been carrying 100% of the burden of two wars. These wars are hallmarked by multiple, lengthy combat tours; unprecedented deployments by Guard and Reservists; and the highest percentage – ever – of fighting forces, including women, who are married with children.
In her testimony Stacy said –
Military families have needs, challenges, and issues that are clearly distinct from those of our troops and veterans, but are nonetheless intertwined. Military families directly impact troop readiness, morale, resilience, reintegration, and recovery. Investing in and supporting military families is investing in and supporting the troops and our veterans. The military family, especially the spouse, is essential to the war effort; before, during, and after deployment, military family support – and knowing that their family is supported – is critical to mission readiness, is a significant protective factor, and helps ameliorate combat stress.
As a former Guard Wife – I can’t help but think that having this task force, available to the members of the Oregon legislature, to give them the straight skinny on what’s really working, not working, what is needed to keep the families secure and supported – it can only be a good thing.
So any of you Oregonians – keep an eye out. Call your reps and let them know you support Oregon House Bill 3391. For those who are worried about the cost – there is NO cost, no salaries – if the members of the panel do any traveling, the Veterans Affairs Committee will reimburse for expenses ONLY. So they get advice straight from those who are doing/living it, at no charge. Pretty good deal! Here’s the link to the Bill Tracker .
We’ll keep an eye out here – let you know how this bill is doing. Anyone know if there’s another bill like this in your state? if there is, please put a link in your comment. We’d love to know.