I want to say a big belated "Happy Birthday" to those who served with the U.S. Coast Guard who has celebrated its 224th anniversary of serving the U.S. On the date of Aug. 4, 1790, the U.S. Coast Guard was formed when Congress authorized the construction of 10 vessels to enforce tariffs and trade laws, prevent smuggling and protect the collection of Federal revenue. It continues today with added responsibility of patrolling our waters for terrorist. They do a fantastic job.

We have an update on the V.A. investigations and what congress has done just recently. Congress followed suit with the House of Representatives in passing sweeping legislation to overhaul the Veteran Affairs Department. The bill calls for $16.3 billion in spending to expand community health care options for Veterans who face long wait times and commutes. They will be looking to hire more doctors and nurses and give the director the ability to fire Key administrative types for due cause. The community care option is where the VA Health care will advise patients to see civilian doctors for a patient that has a long wait to see a VA doctor. I am making the assumption (which is dangerous) that it is like what I had to do to get an eye exam. The VA was full so they gave me a letter allowing me to see a local eye doctor here in town. They spoke to me first to make sure it was ok by me. If this cuts down on the wait times for some veterans and it is with competent health care providers I am for it. President Obama is to sign the bill this week.

For those motorcycle riders out there: Come and be a part of the First Annual Honor Ride for veterans. This is to help raise money for Honor Flight Lafayette and will be located at the New Boiler Harley-Davidson store in Lafayette off of S.R. 26. It is being built right next to the Walmart off of S.R. 26 and I-65, 225 Progress Dr. in Lafayette. The date is Sept. 20 and we will start to register bikes and riders at 10 a.m. then blessing of the bikes at 11 a.m. followed by first bike out. The cost is $25 per bike $10 per passenger and will have coffee and doughnuts and free lunch and prizes. Contact Joe Ellis to sign up or go on line at www.lafayettegoldstarmothers.org.

As always give me a call or email me if you have questions about benefits.

Joe Ellis is the Veterans Service Officer for Montgomery County. His number is (765)401-0432 or (765)361-4133. He can also be reached by e-mail at joe.ellis@montgomeryco.net.