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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Senator proposes making Puerto Rico a haven for vets

Sen. Karen Riquelme Cabrera

By The Star Staff

With the purpose of making Puerto Rico the ideal place for the nation’s veterans to retire, at-large Sen. Karen Riquelme Cabrera has announced the creation of a Volunteer Veterans Advisory Committee.

The group will work alongside the senator on the creation of proposals for public policy, education and services for veterans residing on the island.

“This is an effort to turn our island into the nation’s veterans’ retirement center, thereby improving the services our veterans receive, while at the same time injecting new revenue streams that will result in the creation of new small and midsize businesses, as well as jobs,” Riquelme Cabrera said Wednesday.

The group will comprise Veterans Advocate Agustin Montañez, retired Brigadier General Víctor Pérez, retired Maj. Sigfredo Pérez, retired Chief Warrant Officer Nixon Rosado, former Sen. Lucy Arce, American Legion District 3 Commander Will LaFontaine, retired Sgt. Abraham “Capacete” García, retired Sgt. Héctor Ramos, Luis Ponce, José M. González and William Lourido, president of the Puerto Rican Veterans and Soldiers Council.

The committee will be expanded according to the need posed by issues to be worked on, and according to advice sought from entities of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs on the island.

“Among the short-term issues will be establishing educational programs among the new generation and combat veterans so that they share their stories of bravery in war, as well as instilling in young people a culture of respect and appreciation for our veterans,” the New Progressive Party senator said. “One of the committee’s first tasks will be to evaluate other jurisdictions in terms of their public policy for veterans and see which of those policies can be adopted on the island.”

States such as Florida, with a retired veteran population of 1.4 million, have benefited from the work of similar councils, with new and improved medical-hospital facilities and increased services for veterans.

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