He Continued; I Was Thrilled

Source Governor's  Website; http://news.delaware.gov/2015/01/22/governor-markell-presents-vision-for-delaware-to-thrive-in-a-new-era/
Source Governor’s Website; http://news.delaware.gov/2015/01/22/governor-markell-presents-vision-for-delaware-to-thrive-in-a-new-era/

Delaware Gov. Jack Markell entered the chamber in Legislative Hall in Dover, Del. at about 2 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015 to deliver his annual State-of-the-State address.

I watched from Wilmington via the Internet.

The chamber for the joint session appeared Infantry Blue – recent pictures show it grey, nonetheless over the live feed, it looked Infantry Blue – a good omen.

People, who work veterans issues throughout the state, waited with bated breath. Would he, or wouldn’t he? Would he or wouldn’t he?

For the first 45 minutes or so Gov. Markell talked about such important issues as workforce development, and then schools, and then high-need student populations, and then prison reentry, and then infrastructure, and then crime.

And then it happened.

“The opportunities our people have today would not be possible without our men and women in uniform,” Gov. Markell said. “It’s been my honor to meet many of our soldiers and airmen who, under the outstanding leadership of General Vavala (Del. Adjutant General), serve us at home and abroad. Thank you General.”

It seemed as though it was getting close to end of the address and I was sure this would be the only mention of veterans; a cursory though obligatory nod.

He continued; I was thrilled.

“Let me recognize a couple of our best and brightest – Specialist Joel Tellez-Belardo, Jr. of the Army Guard’s 238th General Support Aviation Battalion and Technical Sergeant Dave Magill of the Air Guard’s 166 Logistics Readiness Squadron. We are blessed to have many hometown heroes like Joel and Dave who courageously serve our state and nation.”

Surely this would be the end.

He continued; I was thrilled.

“The most important expression of gratitude we can offer them is to help them find jobs when their service is complete” Gov. Markell said. “I am proud to say that thanks to our business community, we have cut the unemployment rate for Iraq and Afghanistan era veterans.

“So today, I also want to recognize Mark Aitken from Horizon Services and Mike Berardi from Wohlson Construction Company, who recently hired Joel and Dave and have joined more than 100 companies partnering with the National Guard to support our veterans.”

I was standing in office cheering; high- fiving invisible comrades, screaming, “Go yeah, go!”

That surely must be the end – Acknowledgement that vets employment is an equally important issue.

He continued; I was thrilled

“Recognizing our special obligation to veterans, nothing should disturb us more than the high rate of homelessness among former service members. I know you agree that even one homeless veteran is one too many,” Gov. Markell said. “Housing Director Ben Addi and Secretary Landgraf are developing a plan to end veteran homelessness in our state by the end of this year.”

And now he wrapped up his speech.

And I stood there in Wilmington, alone in my office, and slowly clapped to the computer screen.

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