On Tuesday evening, President Barack Obama will have a very special guest in attendance at his State of the Union Address in Washington, D.C.
Army Ranger Cory Smith, who recently served as a member of the 3rd Battalion 7th Ranger Regiment in the Army, and completed two deployments in Afghanistan within nearly four years of service, has just accepted an invitation from Indiana Congressman Andre Carson. The Indiana State University graduate has gained popularity in recent weeks as he tries to bring attention to important issues faced by so many fellow service men and women.
Corporal Smith has partnered with a nonprofit organization called the GallantFew which is dedicated to assisting veterans during their transition from military to civilian life. He is joined by many other military members as he makes a 565-mile run home to Indianapolis, Indiana from his military base in Columbus, Georgia. Throughout his journey, Smith makes a few pit stops to share his story and advocate for those making that often difficult transition from soldier to veteran.
“We need to shine a light on the fact that, on any given night, 107,000 veterans are sleeping on the streets and that 18 veterans take their own lives each day. We can do more, and if more Americans are aware of the struggle that our brave military men and women undergo, they will demand more,” said Smith.
Rep. Carson has acted as a very strong voice for military families as President Obama has recently signed two Carson-sponsored bills which are dedicated to strengthening mental health, as well as financial literacy among veterans.
“We send young men and women off to battle, and they serve this country with honor and bravery,” said Carson. “But the true test of our patriotism is whether or not we bring them home with integrity, support, and the resources necessary to be successful in civilian life.”
The Congressman has also issued a letter to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction- the Super Committee- requesting that efforts to reduce the deficit do not include damaging cuts to veteran health benefits.
With over 280 miles under his belt, the honored Corporal Smith will get to have a much deserved break from his heroic efforts to join Rep. Carson and President Obama.