Congressman Tom Reed Meets with Local Veterans for Advisory Board and Taps Designation Presentation
Rep. Tom Reed and two dozen veterans gathered Wednesday morning at the Bath American Legion to discuss legislative initiatives in the 113th Congress and announce the designation of “Taps” as the National Song of Military Remembrance, a designation Reed worked with local veteran Les Hampton to secure into law.
Those around the table stressed the need to hold the Department of Veterans Affairs’ feet to the fire to get veterans their benefits in a timely manner: “We heard a great deal about the painfully slow intake and processing of veterans’ claims, taking months – and often times years – to see any progress,” Reed said. “That needs to change and we will continue working to cut through bureaucracy at the Washington VA.”
Rep. Reed has a staff member in his Corning office solely dedicated to helping veterans navigate the VA.
Following the advisory board, veterans gathered outside the Bath American Legion for an announcement of “Taps” being designated as the National Song of Military Remembrance and to hear Taps performed by bugler Jari Villanueva.
Corning American Legion and VFW member Les Hampton originally came to Reed with the idea of designating the bugle call “Taps” as the National Song of Military Remembrance. Reed introduced legislation in February 2011 and his designation was included in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which the President signed into law in January 2013.
Reed presented Hampton with a framed copy of the legislation, thanking him for his efforts: “I want to sincerely thank Les Hampton first for his service to our country and also for his advocacy and involvement in seeing this designation through to the end. This designation is the result of years of Les’ determination.”
Last Congress, Reed joined the bipartisan Veterans Jobs Caucus with the goal of combating high rates of unemployment among veterans. The Caucus reaches out to constituents, government and veteran service organizations to develop policies to decrease veteran unemployment and works to promote the “I Hire Veterans” program.