Northwestern Press

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

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Wednesday, November 13, 2019 by The Press in Opinion

Honoring our veterans through various programs

Our servicemen and women have put their lives on the line, serving our country with honor and dignity.

Their sacrifices have not gone unnoticed, which is why I want to highlight several programs I have championed to help benefit our veterans.

Startups for Soldiers

I created the Startups for Soldiers program to help veterans seeking to start a business. The program, signed into law in 2016, has proved to be a great success.

Since January 2018, 5,403 veterans and reservist business owners have saved more than $604,720 in business startup and licensing fees.

The program waives state business startup fees for those transitioning to the civilian workforce from the armed forces, as well as those serving in reserve units and the National Guard. Through the program, veterans starting a business can have the filing fees to register a new business eliminated, along with certain license fees.

More information can be found at dos.pa.gov.

Veterans Outreach

On the second Friday of each month, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., my district office at 3402 Brookside Road in Macungie hosts appointments for veterans to receive help with benefits and services they have earned.

Services available include assistance with compensation, pension, death benefits, education and health care, as well as any issues pertaining to veterans benefits.

Please call 610-965-9933 to schedule an appointment.

Honoring Purple Heart Recipients

In an effort to honor the men and women who have been killed or injured during service to our country, I authored legislation designating Aug. 7, 2019, as Purple Heart Day in Pennsylvania.

The Purple Heart is awarded to members of the armed forces who are wounded or killed during service. Originally known as the Badge of Military Merit, it later came to be called the Purple Heart. It is the oldest military decoration still in present use.

I am hopeful the designation of Purple Heart Day will encourage every American to think about the countless men and women who have suffered injuries or given their lives in the advancement and protection of our freedom.

While we will always remain indebted to the sacrifices our veterans have made for the sake of our freedom, these programs are a small token of our gratitude.

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Editor’s note: State Rep. Ryan Mackenzie, a Republican, represents the 134th Legislative District, which includes Alburtis, Lower Macungie Township, Macungie, Salisbury Township (Wards 4 and 5) and South Whitehall (District 3 and 4) in Lehigh County; and Hereford, Longswamp, Richmond and Rockland townships, and Topton Borough in Berks County.