U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) took to the Senate floor on Monday to deliver remarks honoring members of the military and advocating for the expansion of health care options for veterans.
The first-term senator outlined that there are nearly 20 million veterans in the United States, with 400,000 living in the Yellowhammer State.
Tuberville said his concern for the well-being of veterans is something deeply engrained as a result of his own father’s service.
“Taking care of our veterans is personal for me,” he explained. “My dad served in World War II and died on active duty after the war.”
As a member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, Tuberville believes providing proper health care to veterans is paramount.
“The biggest challenge our veterans face is the access to quality care,” he stated.
Tuberville has undertaken to address mental health issues many veterans face. He warned that more than 18 veterans per day take their own lives.
More treatments for traumatic brain injuries must be made available, according to Tuberville. He has introduced a piece of legislation in an effort to expand treatment options.
“My bill [The HBOT Access Act] would permit HBOT as a treatment option for those veterans who have tried other evidence-based treatment options for TBI and PTSD — but have not seen substantial improvements,” he said.
“HBOT” stands for hyperbaric oxygen therapy, a treatment option Tuberville is working to be made available for veterans determined to be at high risk of suicide or self-harm.
“I’ve heard from veterans and veterans service organizations who point to HBOT as a treatment that’s produced positive results for individuals suffering from severe head and brain injuries,” Tuberville advised.
He continued, “If veterans are saying they have improved after using HBOT, and if veterans services organizations have seen similar success, I say we listen to them.”
Tuberville also believes there should be more training and counseling options available to service members returning to civilian life after their time in the military.
An Alabama organization which he said is succeeding in helping veterans in need is a non-profit called Three Hots and a Cot. Located in the city of Clay, the organization was founded by veterans with a mission to help veterans.
“Three Hots offers temporary assisted housing to 18 veterans at a time,” Tuberville outlined. “They’ll drive the veterans to healthcare appointments at the VA, the grocery store, job interviews, and church, until they can get back on their feet. And the job doesn’t stop once the veterans are settled in an apartment on their own. Three Hots will help with the transition by doing tasks like stocking their pantry and getting them furniture, and check in on them regularly.”
During its 10 years of operation, Three Hots and a Cot has helped more than 1,600 veterans and family members, according to Tuberville.
He said caring for veterans would remain a top priority of his.
“Our service men and women risk everything by joining the military,” he concluded. “The least we can do is to repay their service and sacrifice by taking care of them when they return home to the country they gave so much to defend. That’s what I’ll be doing on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, and throughout my time in the Senate.”
Tim Howe is an owner of Yellowhammer Multimedia