Helping veterans isn’t just a part of my job. For me, it’s personal. It’s in my blood.
On Veterans Day, I can’t help think of my uncles who volunteered for the service after fleeing a brutal regime in the Dominican Republic. They hadn’t been in America long, but they were already so grateful for its opportunities that they were eager to serve.
I can’t help but think of my father, who was also Dominican-born. Even before he was a naturalized American, he served with distinction in the United States Army. And when he left the military, he made service to returning heroes his career, as a physician at the Veterans Administration hospital in Buffalo.
He would come home with inspiring stories about the heroism and sacrifice of his patients. It made me want to help veterans as well, and I have been fortunate to have that opportunity.
Protecting the rights of service members was an important part of my work as Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. And now as Labor Secretary, I oversee the federal government’s lead agency in helping veterans find good jobs in the civilian economy – the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service.