The Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA) hosted a number of student veterans, women veterans and Vietnam veterans during a recognition ceremony at the Capitol on Thursday.
As Veterans Day approaches next week, Whitmer recognized the growing diversity among the state’s almost 600,000 veterans.
“Michigan veterans represent all ages, genders, races, eras of conflict and branches of service,” Whitmer said. “Whether you’re a recent law school graduate who survived being a POW [prisoner of war], a mother of three who proudly served her country in Afghanistan or an active-duty veteran who continues serving in the National Guard, we owe all veterans our deepest gratitude for their service and sacrifices.”
According to the MVAA, Gulf War veterans will overtake Vietnam veterans as the largest contingent of veterans in the state and the proportion of women veterans will double over the next 25 years.
“I want to assure that everyone in Michigan who has served, and their families, that I am committed to working year round, everyday… to ensure that you have the support you need,” Whitmer said.
In the Fiscal Year 2020 budget, the Legislature approved a $204.6 million budget for the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA), which Whitmer signed in September. This is a 2.5% increase from the last fiscal year. The budget provides programs for veterans and service organizations, including a new study on veterans benefits eligibility.
DMVA Director Maj. Gen. Paul Rogers said he is grateful for the work Whitmer has done for service members and veterans.
“Gov. Whitmer never misses an opportunity to thank veterans, never misses an opportunity to thank service members and always puts herself out there to make herself available,” Rogers said.