Giving veterans the honor they deserve and honoring the U.S. military members who did not come home. That’s what State Representative Dave Griffith, R-Jefferson City, said he wants to do.

Griffith is proposing to create the Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Freedom’s Sentinel and Operation Allies Refuge Program. The program would award medallions, medals, and certificates of appreciation to Missouri veterans who honorably served on active duty in the U.S. military between October 7, 2011, and August 30, 2021 – the time when the U.S. invaded Afghanistan and then left.

Griffith presented House Bill 836 to the Missouri House Veterans Committee.

“What we are able to do for our veterans that served during operations like in Afghanistan, in Iraq, Vietnam, Korea, World War I and World War II in order to really show our appreciation to them and to give them the honor that they really deserve, these type of medallions are important,” he said during the public hearing.

Griffith served in the U.S. Army 8th Special Forces Group as a Green Beret.

The awards could also be given to veterans who were honorably separated and discharged from military service. The program would be for Missouri veterans, regardless of where they served.

Maj. Ryan Borgmeyer, with the Missouri National Guard, spoke in support of the plan.

“This legislation would allow us to honor the men and women who served in the campaigns for our country’s efforts in Afghanistan,” said Borgmeyer. “In the National Guard, in partnership with the Missouri Veterans Commission, currently recognizes veterans and previous campaigns back to World War II with similar medallions, medals and certificates.”

The estimated cost of this effort is $73,000.

No one spoke in opposition to the legislation.

The House Veterans Committee has unanimously voted in support of the bill. Another House committee is reviewing the proposal.

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