Every American should know the story of Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl.

In 2009, Sgt. Bergdahl, a native of Hailey, Idaho, was captured in eastern Afghanistan by the Haqqani Network, a militant group with ties to the Taliban. Since that time, he has been a prisoner of war in Afghanistan, and his plight has been a factor in negotiations between the United States and the Taliban.

Some reports have stated that the United States, with the help of drones and other technology, may be able to locate the approximate location of Sgt. Bergdahl. Having this information could obviously play a major role in finding him and hopefully returning him home to safety.

In June, the Ohio House of Representatives, in an effort to both spread awareness of this situation and show support for Sgt. Bergdahl, passed a resolution urging the federal government to do everything possible to rescue Sgt. Bergdahl. The first line of the resolution states: “The creed ‘Leave No Man Behind’ has long been part of the spirit and culture of the United States Military.”

In that spirit, it is important that we do everything in our power to share his story and aid in his eventual return. Men and women like Sgt. Bergdahl risk their lives for all of us; I believe this is the least we can do.

The House recently took action on another measure to preserve the lives and health of our military men and women upon returning home. Delays in processing disability claims for veterans have increased drastically. Over the past year alone, the average wait time for a medical claim to be processed has lengthened from two months to almost nine months. As of April of this year, more than 850,000 claims are still awaiting a decision.

This is simply unacceptable. The people who wear the American uniform to defend our way of life deserve swift and urgent responses regarding their healthcare needs. In response, the Ohio House passed a resolution urging the federal government to take prompt action to reduce the waiting period. Additionally, all Ohio veterans should be encouraged to contact their local county veteran service offices to learn of the potential benefits they have earned. Information is also available at http://veteransbonus.ohio.gov, as well as www.OhioVet.org, or by calling 877-OHIO-VET.

Because this is a federal issue, there is only so much the State of Ohio can do, but we as a state should do everything it can to make it known we are aware of how serious this is.

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