On Wednesday, April 2, Central Georgia's NBC affiliate --Macon's WMGT-TV--reported that State Senator David Lucas along with other local organizations plan to hold a Veterans Health Fair in an effort to provide a resource for people who had served in the military.
Lucas said that the genesis of the idea came from a phone call from one of his constituents. Ultimately, the main goal is to inform veterans about benefits and services which are available via the Department of Veterans Affairs.
In 2011, President Barack Obama dramatically cut the United States' combat role in Iraq, with the withdrawal of all U.S. ground forces designated for active combat operations. The last U.S. combat brigades departed Iraq in late August 2011.
In 2014, the President announced in his State of the Union address that the United States' participation in the decade-long Afghanistan war will come to an end by December 2014.
With more troops coming home--especially in Georgia--the need to provide support for troops in an effort to make the transition to civilian life is needed.
There are other programs available that help returning veterans who want to further their education.
One example is the The Georgia HERO (Helping Educate Reservists and their Offspring) Scholarship Program. It was created to provide educational grant assistance to members of the Georgia National Guard and U.S. Military Reservists who served in combat zones or the children of such members of the Georgia National Guard and U.S. Military Reserves. The grant is to attend an approved school for a maximum of up to four award years in the sum of $2,000.00 per award year.
The local event designed to help war veterans is scheduled for April 18 at Macon's Buck Melton Community Center which is located at 150 Sessions Drive. Some of the topics which will be discussed will involve primary care and mental health.
Lucas told WMGT-TV: "If I've got that problem with one constituent then I got a lot of constituents that live in the Macon and middle Georgia area that have got that same problem and don't know who to call."
Lucas is seeking a second term as the State Senator for District 26 and will face a familiar opponent who had been instrumental in helping to pass the Macon-Bibb consolidation law--Miriam Paris.
State Senate 26 is a multi-county district which includes the largest population center--Macon.
Even though Lucas did win Macon decisively by twenty points in August 2012 during a runoff, Paris was able to gain ground in the surrounding counties which made the 2012 summer runoff one of the closest races in Georgia with Lucas eventually prevailing with 50.6 percent of the vote.
This time around there are only two candidates running for the seat instead of multiple candidates and the race will decided on May 20.