FORT WORTH, Texas, Nov. 3, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- As the 2016 presidential campaign heads into the home stretch, many issues will be debated. But perhaps no issue is more important--or less discussed--than our veterans.
Some 2.7 million Americans have served in the military since the attacks of 9-11. Many of them have now left the service and are returning to civilian life. The challenges they face are many.
Some of them face health challenges that will require years of treatment and rehab. Others face financial hardships. Many more struggle to find work. But all face challenges of some kind. And all need help.
It's been said of those who serve that while some gave all, all gave some. Now, it's our turn to help give something back to our veterans. And the candidate who figures out how to help veterans could win the election. The good news is that all the candidates need to do is look at the business community—we are already showing the way.
Just last year the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the George W. Bush Institute launched the Veteran Employment Transition Roadmap. The goal is to help transitioning veterans as they re-enter the workplace. The program offers practical assistance for veterans looking for work. For example, the program helps veterans re-write their resumes so that potential employers can see the connection between what the veteran did in the service and how those skills can translate into civilian work.
Meanwhile, President Obama and the Republican Congress created the Returning Heroes Tax Credit that provides a $5600.00 incentive for businesses to hire veterans. Countless businesses across the country have already taken advantage of this and hired veterans.
But the help that businesses are providing to veterans extends beyond just employment. Many veterans face financial challenges at home including how to pay for needed repairs. And businesses across the country are finding ways to help here too. I know because my business is one of them.
In 2015, Lon Smith Roofing, the largest residential roofing company in Texas, began a program we call "Roof for Vets." The idea began because we wanted to give back to those who have given to so much to our country. As a roofing company, it made sense for us to use roofing as our way to help out. The program works like this: a veteran in financial need is nominated and the application is carefully reviewed by our staff. To qualify, a veteran must have demonstrated financial need and must have a roof that needs repairs. Once a veteran is chosen, we install a new roof free of charge. To put that into perspective, a typical roof on a project like this can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000.
Since we inaugurated our program, we have been proud to install a free roof for several worthy veterans including Richard Overton, the oldest living veteran in America.
This is our way of playing a small part in a bigger story of Americans helping veterans. But our political leaders can help too.
Presidential candidates should outline ways to do even more for veterans. First, they should consider expanding and making permanent the Returning Heroes Tax Credit. Second, they should demand that the mess at VA hospitals be fixed immediately. Finally, they should highlight the good works being done by businesses across the nation as they work to honor our veterans.
America is the land of the free only because it is the home of the brave. This election, our country needs to pledge itself again to serving those who have served us in uniform. It's the least we can do for those who have done so much for us.
David Cox is the President and CEO of Lon Smith Roofing in Fort Worth, the largest roofing company in Texas.
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SOURCE Lon Smith Roofing