Tester holds veterans workshop in Great Falls


by Daniel Johnson

U.S. Senator Jon Tester recognized veterans a day before the holiday that commemorates their sacrifices by holding a Veterans Opportunity Workshop in Great Falls.

The veterans workshop was a reminder to veterans that they aren't forgotten and will always be remembered and honored on Veterans Day.

The goal of the workshop was to help veterans in any way possible. Mervin Gunderson, a military veteran said, "The importance of what has happened today is that the senator is bringing our resources into one place for our veterans to find out what is available for them. And any time we can do that and reach out and touch our veterans in this state we can always take that opportunity."

Organizations from across the country attended Wednesday's event, and veterans were able to speak with organization members and other veterans to discuss their future needs. Senator Tester opened the floor to veterans for their questions and concerns which helped him plan ahead.

Tester said, "I think as we go forth into the future we gotta make sure our guardsmen and reservists are getting the same kind of benefits active military is, they're doing the same job. It's gonna be a good debate, it's gonna be a debate I look forward to having as we go forth. The other issue is making sure we have the health care professionals we need on the ground in rural America. It's critically important that Montana, the whole state is a rural state and getting the health care professionals we need to serve the veterans in this state is critically important."

Tester also said another important issue is finding jobs for veterans who need them. Veteran James Fiedler thinks it was a big success, saying, "I just want to thank you for all of these people for their service to this great nation and for the citizens of great falls talking the time to put this on and senator tester included. I think it was wonderful for him to do that. Thank you."

Senator Tester was also presented a medal of appreciation from Malmstrom Air Force base for his continuing commitment to veterans. Tester hopes to host similar veteran workshops in the future.