Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Chet: "I was in the right place at the right time"

Two 4-star Generals heap praise on Congressman's record

Representative Chet Edwards praised the military families of America in remarks before approximately 100 veterans today
in Clifton.

He said he is only a partner with veterans, voters and military people in making the Armed Forces good at what they do.

Two past commanding generals of Ft. Hood, Pete Taylor and Tom Schwartz, told the gathered veterans he's the best man
they know on Capitol Hill when the military needs help.

Said Gen. Schwartz. "There are a lot of us out here who would like to be a lot more like you."

He said Chet Edwards helped the Army in its struggle to keep from being cut to as little as 8 divisions from a high of 16, then 12.

When it comes to base housing, military families owe
Congressman Edwards a debt of gratitude, the General said.

"Chet Edwards is a combat Congressman. He's had to go across
the aisle to ask for things from the other side."

Here are some of his accomplishments, according to the two
veteran general officers.

He has doubled the budget for post traumatic stress disorder
treatment, saved the Waco VA Medical Center from certain
closure, added 10,000 new claims processors in the VA system
and funded 92 new Vet Centers for returning combat veterans.

Catherine Henson, a veteran of the Women's Army Corps and
former State Commander of the DAV, said "It would be an
American tragedy if he were not sent back to Congress." She
criticized Bill Flores for suggesting that wounded veterans
should be treated at the Army hospitals and non-service
connected veterans should get their care from private health

"They can't handle what they've got now," Mrs. Henson said.

With all due humility, Rep. Edwards said, "I didn't do any
of those things by myself; I'm just a partner in it."

He recalled how the John David Fry Scholarship Fund came to
be funded by Congress.

Gunnery Sergeant Fry was a bomb disposal technician in the
U.S. Marine Corps. He was just one week away from coming
home from Iraq when he volunteered to disarm three
Improvised Explosive Device bombs on a road during the
hottest period of the war.

Ater he disarmed the first two, he lost his life when he
worked on the third, which was wired to a fourth, concealed
bomb under the surface of the ground.

He recalled re-dedicating the U.S. Post Office in Gunny
Fry's home town of Lorena.

"I looked at his three kids and his widow, and I thought,
'I'd like to be able to do something more in his memory.'"

The reality today is that any son or daughter of a veteran
who lost his or her life in combat receives an all-expenses-
paid scholarship to a college or university. Period.

There were no dry eyes in the house as he told that part of
Gunny Fry's story.

When it comes to improving housing for soldiers, sailors and
Marines, he said, "I don't find many lobbyists knocking on
my door seeking funds for that purpose."

The House Subcommittee for Appropriations he chairs rides
herd on the VA and Military Construction.

"It's about respect," he said. It's about respect for the
men and women who do "America's number one job and that's
protecting us from our enemies."

He received a standing ovation from the crowd.

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