An Open Letter to Senator McConnell and The U.S. Senate - Protect Our Troops

Dear Senator McConnell,

On behalf of my veteran service organization, United Soldiers and Sailors of America – USASOA, our staff, volunteers, supporters as well as other worthy VSO’s and grateful Americans – I urge you to immediately reconsider your objection to Senator McCaskill’s bill that would guarantee that our troops and their families would be paid on time. The current divisive political atmosphere in Washington should not harm the lives of our military and their families. We have millions of enlisted personnel, a majority of whom have families who live paycheck to paycheck. For them, the possibility that they may not be receiving their regular pay, is in and of itself creating an unnecessary, harmful physiological effect which may result in impacting military effectiveness and readiness for both deployed and state-side service members.

The American people will tolerate a certain amount of political discourse and wrangling, after all, our great history is fraught with such chaotic moments such as these. However, never before in our modern history has our military received such gratitude and appreciation from the American people for the incredible sacrifices that they make to keep us free and safe. Following your objection to Senator McCaskill’s bill to ensure that our military will be paid during this government shut down, you mentioned that the timing was not right for such a vote on the Senate floor.

Sir, there should never have been an objection in the first place. Our troops and their families must never be used as pawns on a chessboard however if that is the politics of the day, then they should be treated as kings and queens to be protected at all cost. Protecting their health, happiness, safety, and welfare is my organization's core mission and we depend on Congressional leadership to act accordingly. Therefore, I respectfully urge you to please walk down the hall from your office into the well of the Senate to seek unanimous support for a vote to ensure that our troops and their families will not be affected by this government shut down. Make it clear that the lives of our troops and those of their families and their children will never again be used or manipulated as a bargaining chip for either political party. Our service members defend the Constitution and our freedom, not a political party.

Today, you have the opportunity to use your voice and position to send a clear message to our troops who are serving us around the world and to the American people that the U.S. Senate will diligently ensure that the welfare of our service members will be exempted from this and any other possible and future government closures. Our service members and their families already sacrifice enough for our nation and to do less than what we are respectfully requesting is tantamount to allowing the anguish and apprehension they currently feel to continue. We are watching with great anticipation, hope, and desire that our leadership in the Senate will act accordingly and responsibly when it comes to supporting our military service members and their families – especially those who live paycheck to paycheck.

Senator McConnell, I thank you for taking the time to consider this urgent request and hope that our nation will soon come together in the spirit of harmony and unity which for over 200 years remains a shining example to the world.

Very Respectfully,

John Yori

President, USASOA

Storm The Streets - USASOA Outreach Program to Support our Homeless Veterans

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Since 2013, USASOA has had as our core mission to directly impact the quality of life for our ill, injured, and wounded veterans, their families, and caregivers. To the end, our nonprofit organization continually strategizes to remain relevant to the changing needs of our veteran community at large. Thousands of veterans exist in pain and hopelessness on the very streets of a great and wealthy nation that they once swore to defend with their lives if needed. While accomplishments have and continue to be made by the VA and other wonderful and committed organizations, it takes a multifaceted approach combining both awareness and prevention programs and campaigns to effectively respond to the challenges and issues facing homeless veterans.

As a veteran service organization dedicated to ensuring that all veterans are treated as our greatest national treasures, our outreach program, #StormTheStreets directly engages veterans living on the streets of our nation bringing them a warm meal, blankets, and above all our volunteers offer them the hope of living a healthy, safe, and dignified life - one that they truly deserve.   Combat and service-related wounds are both visible and invisible. The relationship between veteran homelessness and the scars of war and service are quite unique and diverse. USASOA will never make a judgment about the incidents which may have caused a veteran to become homeless but rather, we will offer the strategy, support and direct assistance needed to secure for them the physical and mental care they need. Many of the veterans we encounter have been given 'bad paper' discharges related to incidents related to PTS and even sexual trauma. The number of female veterans enduring homelessness is now reaching a higher percentage rate than any other group in the overall homeless population in America. USASOA is rolling up our sleeves and going into the streets to locate our veterans and bring the hope and care that they need and deserve. Every week the USASOA passenger van will make visits to various parks and areas in the DC Metro area known to be frequented by our homeless citizens.  Armed with warm meals, bottles of water, soup, blankets and other helpful toiletries, our volunteers will seek out our homeless veterans and bring them the sustenance they need and immediately ask to assess their condition. We offer them a ride to a local homeless shelter or to a local VA facility.  When dealing with human nature, our passion to provide a better life for our marginalized and forgotten veterans is not enough to accomplish our stated goal and mission - rather, we hope to encourage and motivate other organizations and citizens to come join us in our effort of direct engagement. There are many reasons, issues, and challenges linked to veteran homelessness. It has been said that the true character of a nation is seen in how it treats its veterans. Honor our veterans by taking action – join us today and show them the same commitment to improving the quality of their lives as they gave to us in defending ours.  They served us with their selfless sacrifices, in return can we do any less and truly call ourselves grateful Americans?