Vet aid

1/19/2014

Support for services more vital than ever.

Support for services more vital than ever.

It's always good to hear of plans to help our veterans.

During his recent State of the State address, Gov. Sam Brownback proposed doing as much by increasing state funding for veterans programs, including improvements to veterans homes and the hiring of additional staff to help vets acquire earned benefits in Kansas.

Many good programs nationwide provide support for American troops and their families. But considering the devastating impact of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, still more must be done to meet their needs.

Multiple and prolonged deployments have exacted a painful toll on veterans, many of whom must deal for years with debilitating physical and emotional wounds. Too many encounter challenges with those issues and more when they return home from duty.

Those who need care often get stuck on waiting lists. It's no wonder cases of alcohol abuse, domestic violence and suicide involving veterans have spiked in recent years.

Many of the same tragic situations plague veterans of previous wars who also need our ongoing help.

Such issues should be reason enough for policymakers to be even more committed to funding services and programs our veterans desperately need.

Indeed, programs to help veterans and their families require more support, not the same or less.

The question in Kansas would be in how the state will manage adequate and additional dollars for those services — especially at a time the governor and his GOP allies have enacted a massive tax-cut plan that threatens to create serious budget shortfalls and shortchange support for mental health care and other social services that aid veterans.

The fear is we're more likely to head in the wrong direction, with painful funding cuts for the kind of services veterans need.

It's heartbreaking enough to see the constant toll on vets and their families that extends beyond the tragic battlefield loss of thousands of lives.

Making sure our veterans receive the care they need in a timely way should be among our highest priorities. Let's hope the governor manages to keep his pledge and improve the situation for veterans in Kansas who deserve no less.

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