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Kentucky Awarded Grant to Create Veteran Transportation Call Center

Gov. Steve Beshear says a federal grant has been approved that will help veterans find local, affordable transportation services, but it may be a year before the program is in place.

“So many veterans that are struggling to get their bills paid and just making ends meet, transportation often goes first,” said Pat McKiernan, Kentucky’s Department of Veterans Affairs homeless outreach coordinator.

“They can’t afford to pay their car. They can’t afford to get their insurance. So therefore they’re focusing on just keeping the lights on, keeping the rent paid, and this kind of transportation is essential,” he said.

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U.S. Justice Department Visits Fort Knox Supporting Military Rights

The top U.S. civil rights attorney is requesting amendments to legislation protecting military service members’ rights.

Assistant U.S. Attorney General Thomas Perez spoke to soldiers at Fort Knox on Wednesday. Perez reviewed what legal rights soldiers have while on active duty and introduced new amendments being considered.

The amendments protect military personnel from various predatory practices. Changes include suspending foreclosure and credit card loan litigation against active soldiers.

Another amendment protects the working rights of soldiers returning to civilian life. The Civil Rights Division in the Department of Justice has increased enforcement on employment rights issues. It’s filed 33 cases protecting military discrimination in the workplace in the past few years.

The U.S. Justice Department says Congress passed the initial laws with bi-partisan support. Letters were sent to Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner for support.

Click here to see the legislative proposals and the letters that were sent.

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Kentuckian Will Receive Medal of Honor This Week

President Barack Obama will award the nation’s highest military honor to a Kentucky native this week.

Former Marine Corporal Dakota Meyer is the third living recipient of the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan. Two years ago in Afghanistan, he ran into enemy fire to find four of his fellow troops. He then helped retrieve their bodies. Meyer didn’t expect any commendation for his actions. He thought he had failed because his fellow Marines died. He’ll receive the medal Thursday.

An interview with Meyer:

Audio MP3

“I have a platform to where I can go out and let Americans know what guys like me are doing. I think the problem in the military is the infantry guys and all the guys out there doing the fighting never get recognition,” he says.

Meyer is back in Kentucky, and he looks forward to his life calming down after this week.

“You try to go and give everyone an interview because how do you decide who to turn down? So then you start running yourself into the ground. You’re talking…everyone wants a piece of you for the worst day of your life,” he says. “It’s just like reliving it over and over.”

Meyer has started a scholarship program and he plans to pursue a business degree, but he says if he could return to combat, he would sign up with the Marines immediately.

He will be the third living recipient—and first living Marine—of the award for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan.