Fattah Salutes Veterans in Warrior Transition Program

May 14, 2010, 12:13 ET from Office of Congressman Chaka Fattah

PHILADELPHIA, May 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA), joined by Wounded Warrior veterans including a member of his own staff, today keynoted the national launch of the innovative AMVETS Warrior Transition Workshops.

The workshops were developed by combat veterans for combat veterans to assist in their transition from military to civilian life. The program is being introduced as the nation celebrates its veterans during National Military Appreciation Month.

The Warrior Transition Workshops are a partnership between AMVETS and Freedom & Honor, and will be expanded to five other cities.

AMVETS National Commander Duane J. Miskulin, who has made transitioning programs for recently discharged combat veterans his mission, outlined the Warrior Transition Workshops at the news conference at Elkins Estate in Elkins Park, Penna., where the workshops will be held.

Among those joining Fattah and Miskulin was William Cooper, an Army veteran seriously wounded in Iraq by an improvised explosive device (IED), who is celebrating his first anniversary in Fattah's District office as a veterans' caseworker. After 54 surgeries and a remarkable recovery, Cooper's own transition began with AMVETS and led to his recruitment into the Wounded Warrior Program, an initiative by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to create fellowships that provide employment opportunities for wounded or disabled veterans within the House of Representatives.

"Our obligation to the courageous men and women who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan is only beginning when they return home," Fattah said. "AMVETS is to be commended for its excellent work since 1944 to help our veterans as they transition to civilian life. Bill Cooper is a Wounded Warrior who is doing an extraordinary service to his fellow veterans in my office. He is a true profile in courage."

Fattah, Pennsylvania's senior member on the House Appropriations Committee, advocated for the current $53 billion appropriation for the Department of Veterans Affairs, an unprecedented $19.9 billion increase over the past two years. He supported the Veterans Caregivers Act signed this month by President Obama.

"AMVETS is constantly striving for new and better ways to perform this vital work," Fattah said. "The national program that we inaugurate today, AMVETS Warrior Transition in partnership with Freedom and Honor, is a major advance in this effort."

Also participating in the press conference were Angel Fernandez, an AMVETS staffer who served five tours in Iraq and Afghanistan; Major General William Terpeluk, 77th Reserve Support Command (ret); and Freedom & Honor program director Martin Richardson

SOURCE Office of Congressman Chaka Fattah