By Sarafina Brooks, WTOV 9
JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ohio — Ohio Senator Lou Gentile is working to ensure our local veterans are given college credit for their military service and have jobs to come home to after their service.
Senate Bill 13 was passed into law last year and establishes a process for giving college credit for military service. Senate Bill 18 legislation introduced this year mirrors the Federal Work Opportunity Tax Credit. It would give a tax credit to businesses who hire qualified veterans.
“The feedback I’ve heard from veterans is very positive, and the meetings I’ve had about both pieces of legislation. They have been very supportive of it,” Gentile said. “I’ve also heard from employers who have said to me that the skill sets that our veterans have are very beneficial in the workplace. So I think it’s a win-win.”
“When veterans come out of the service, there is a big transition that they have to face,” said Bill Demjan of the Veterans Service Commission. “It is very difficult for some of them to meet because now they have their family.”
Both bills work to protect and benefit veterans, but Gentile says it doesn’t stop there.
“We need to have a legislative agenda in Columbus that makes our veterans and our service men and women in this state a top priority,” Gentile said. “And as long as I am in the Ohio Senate, I will continue to push forward to make sure we are taking care of our veterans when they return.”
On Thursday, the Jefferson County Veterans Service Commission thanked Gentile for his work.
Demjan, who served in the Army during the Korean War, works for the commission and was one of the county’s many heroes to thank Gentile and recognize him for his work.
“We honored him with a letter of appreciation,” Demjan said. “The fact of the matter that he has been in the foreground and noteworthy as far as getting benefits for veterans and their families, we appreciate that very much.”
“I’m humbled that the Veteran Service Committee has honored me today with this recognition,” Gentile said. “I’m not going to stop my effort to get Senate Bill 18 passed.”
Senate Bill 18 is pending.