Veteran of the Year Recognized

Ponca City Now - May 16, 2023 6:54 am

Rep. John Pfeiffer

By Rep. John Pfeiffer-

U.S. Army veteran Gary Miles, of Ponca City, was recognized as the 2023 Oklahoma Veteran of the Year by the Oklahoma Veterans Council during a joint session of the House and Senate recently.  The Veteran Family of the Year is Larry, Joy and Eric Van Schuyver. Larry is a U.S. Navy veteran.  Also honored were Rep. Nicole Miller, R-Edmond, and Sen. Paul Rosino, R-Oklahoma City, who were named the legislators of the year by the council. Each of these were noted for their work to support veterans and veteran causes throughout our state. The gallery was full of veterans attending the ceremony, and we recognized others on the House floor as well.

This tribute is fitting as we approach Memorial Day, a time to pause and reflect on those veterans who paid the ultimate sacrifice, giving their lives to preserve our freedoms and protect us. For those heroes who have passed from us and those still among us, I say thank you for serving our state and our nation. Thank you for your willingness to sacrifice your very lives to defend us. You are all to be commended for your bravery and courage. Thank  you, as well, to your family members who sacrificed alongside you.

Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell, who presided over the session, aptly pointed out that Oklahoma is known for being a strong pro-military state. We have critical military institutions across the state with tens of thousands of active members of our armed services stationed here, and we have approximately 290,000 Oklahoma veterans. It was also noted during the ceremony that Oklahoma is the only state in the nation with a dedicated veterans council to serve the needs of this population.

The Legislature has passed numerous laws to support our veterans. These include numerous tax exemptions, employment and tuition assistance programs, human services reforms, and granting free hunting and fishing privileges as well as free entrance to our state parks. We’ve also undertaken a number of initiatives to help our veterans reenter the workforce if they so desire. The average age of retirement from military service is 41, so many of our veterans still have many years left to work if they wish. Our veterans also enjoy one of the best benefit packages in the nation. This takes care of not only our veterans but their dependents and surviving spouses. We want to make sure Oklahoma is the very best place for our veterans and their families to live, work and retire.

In the legislative session, meanwhile, the governor has signed a number of pieces of legislation into law. In this final two weeks of session, we are working to finalize our state budget, as well as to pass any remaining policy bills that have amendments from the opposite chamber.

John Pfeiffer serves District 38 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. His district includes Grant County and parts of Garfield, Kay, Logan and Noble counties.


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