By Rep. Ryan Mackenzie (R-Berks/Lehigh)
We celebrate Veterans Day on Nov. 11 each year to recognize the service and sacrifice of our military members. The nation is forever indebted to these brave men and women for preserving the freedoms we enjoy as Americans. As a small token of our gratitude, both the state and federal governments provide various benefits and support programs to aid veterans and their families.
One of the state programs to support our veterans was created through legislation I authored that was signed into law in 2016. The Startups for Soldiers program helps veterans seeking to establish their own businesses by waiving the state filing and license fees. It is a small but meaningful token of appreciation and show of support for veterans who are making the transition back to civilian life.
The program is administered by the Department of State and has been successfully used by many veterans across the Commonwealth. Statistics from the department show more than 13,000 veteran business owners have been approved for this benefit, providing them a savings of nearly $1.5 million. It is so encouraging to see this law being put to good use and helping veterans navigate the challenges and costs of starting their own businesses.
To ensure local veterans are receiving all the help they need and deserve, I also host a veterans service officer with the American Legion at my district office in Macungie monthly to meet with them. The free service is available to all veterans and their dependents, regardless of whether they are members of the American Legion.
Assistance is provided with issues such as compensation, education, pension, health care, and death benefits. Veterans who would like to schedule an in-person meeting with the service officer may do so by calling my office at 610-965-9933. Appointments are available on the second Friday of the month from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Our office is located at 3402 Brookside Road.
Another important way to show support for our veterans, as well as our active-duty service members, is to treat our American Flag with the respect it deserves. That means when it is worn out, it should be replaced. A drop box to dispose of old flags is also available at my Macungie district office. Anyone who leaves their flag in the box can be assured it will be properly retired.
Please join me in doing all we can to show our veterans how much we appreciate them, not only through our words but through our actions.
Representative Ryan Mackenzie
134th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Andy Briggs