Take time to thank VA, other volunteers
Every day, hundreds of appreciative citizens join in thanking veterans for their service by providing some service of their own at the VA Northern Indiana Health Care System. These volunteers are driven with a patriotic verve to use their talents and skills to improve veterans’ lives as a token of their sincere appreciation.
More than 530 volunteers provide more than 67,000 hours of service every year to thank the veterans in our community.
These volunteers show up for tasks that include driving veterans to appointments, escorting veterans and family with the parking lot shuttle program, providing coffee in waiting areas and providing direction throughout the medical center, filing paperwork, assisting our clinicians, and holding veterans’ hands at their bedside to keep them from being alone.
Giving their time and service to these former service members gives them a purpose, fulfills a passion and ends up being as rewarding for the volunteer as it is for the veteran.
National Volunteer Week is April 21-27. It is a time to reflect on the civic traditions that make American communities great, and one of the best times to recognize and thank today’s volunteers.
I encourage all of you not only to thank a volunteer today but to listen to their stories and think about joining the ranks of these remarkable champions of compassion.
DENISE M. DEITZEN Director Northern Indiana Health Care System
Wage limit hinders fight against discrimination
Lawmakers recently sent a bill to Gov. Mike Pence aimed at stopping local governments from setting wage and benefit standards above state and federal levels.
They may have invalidated a significant portion of anti-discrimination ordinances across the state in the process. These ordinances are designed to prevent employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Unintended or not, the consequence will have very real effects on Hoosiers and communities across Indiana if lawmakers don’t send language to the governor to fix the problem before the session ends.
Officials in cities across Indiana have fought for anti-discrimination ordinances because they want to attract new jobs by creating welcoming, tolerant communities for residents. They’ve taken a strong stand against discrimination, and that means a lot to the LGBT community we represent.
In some cases, it took years of education and advocacy to pass these ordinances, hard work that may be swept away by lawmakers who simply weren’t paying attention to the consequences of their actions.
Of course, one easy way for lawmakers to correct this mistake would be to pass a statewide anti-discrimination law protecting every LGBT Hoosier no matter where he or she lives. In the absence of that change, we respectfully call on Pence and lawmakers to work together with local officials to correct these unintended consequences.
Community voices across Indiana have spoken out in opposition to bias. Lawmakers must listen.
CHRIS PAULSEN Indiana Equality Action, Indianapolis
Double up on oil pipelines
The oil companies already have the magic bullet for getting their new pipeline built. They use the technology on their ocean tankers. Two words: double-hulled. Build a pipeline in a pipeline. Expensive, true – but is it more expensive than a couple of cleanups over the next hundred years?
ROGER BLANSIT Coldwater, Mich.