WWP Participates in Annual Congressional Testimony and Commences Operation Advocacy
On March 2, WWP CEO Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Mike Linnington testified before the Senate and House Committees on Veterans’ Affairs, relaying powerful warrior stories that illustrate the needs behind WWP’s top legislative priorities.
In conjunction with the testimony, WWP staff and 32 dedicated warriors met with their elected officials and policymakers as part of WWP’s virtual fly-in, Operation Advocacy, to make their voices heard and discuss the issues that matter most to post-9/11 veterans. This event gives wounded veterans a chance to convey to policymakers their unique perspectives.
“It was the first time I have participated in any advocacy of any kind and eye opening to see how much effort WWP puts into making sure Congress is aware of what challenges veterans face and what we need to combat them. It will not be the last time I step up to speak on behalf of myself and my fellow brothers and sisters,” said John Fiery, (U.S. Army).
“Operation Advocacy 2022 was an amazing experience that allowed our veteran voices to be heard on Capitol Hill. The legislation that we are working on will help veterans nationwide,” said Charles M. Henry Sr., (U.S Army). “Advocating for veterans issues and lobbying work is essential in our progress for better healthcare, quality of living, and access to programs that best serves our fellow brothers and sisters. Thank you to Wounded Warrior Project for this opportunity to continue to serve!”
WWP and warriors discussed a number of issues, including WWP’s 2022 legislative priorities, which are as follows:
- The importance of passing the Post-9/11 Veterans Mental Health Improvement Act (S. 3293) and the Support the Resiliency of Our Nation’s Great (STRONG) Veterans Act (H.R. 6411), which will help the VA improve treatment for veterans with mental health challenges aggravated by additional substance use disorders, poor sleep, difficulty accessing care in residential settings, or military transition stress.
- The need for Congress to improve accessibility and availability of women’s health care by increasing resources and essential services, creating safe and welcoming VA care environments, and optimizing channels of care like telehealth and the Community Care Network.
- The ways Congress can support survivors of Military Sexual Trauma (MST) by enacting greater coordination across agencies and disciplines to improve awareness, accessibility, and quality of care.
- The urgent need to pass the Comprehensive and Overdue Support for Troops (COST) of War Act (S. 3003) and the Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act (H.R. 3967), which would grant VA health care enrollment eligibility to any veteran who suffered toxic exposures while in service regardless of their service-connected disability claim status.
“Operation Advocacy not only helped Wounded Warrior Project strengthen relationships with Members of Congress, but also gave these warriors a direct opportunity to positively impact the lives of their brothers and sisters in arms,” Linnington said. “I am extremely grateful to the warriors who shared their perspectives with policymakers in DC.”
Wounded Warrior Project would like to thank the following warrior-advocates for taking the time to make their voices heard: Dru Amos (AL), Joel Grace (AL), Bonnie Dorman (AK), Jerome Mitchell (AR), Dawn Drake (AZ), Fernando Monarrez (AZ), Giovanni Perez (CA), John Mikelson (IA), Scott Gilje (IA), Jeremiah Deyarmin (IN), Scott Moehl (IN), Angela Hlavacek (IL), Elizabeth Dykstra (IL), Brent Whitten (KS), Deron Santiny (LA), Angela Waller (MD), John Fiery (MD), Michelle Riggs (MI), Anton Johnson (MT), Dana Hutson (NC), Jonothan Conover (NC), Jason Pratscher (NC), Jason Woodall (OH), Thomas Chimenti (PA), Lucinda Anderson (SC), Connie Johnson (SD), Charles Henry (TX), Diana Calero (VA), Beth Schmidt (VA), Alanna Rathkpof (WA), Stephanie Williams (WV), Brandon Gregory (WV)