Purple Heart Veterans get national recognition

By Kelly McCarthy

November 8, 2013 Updated Nov 8, 2013 at 6:32 PM EST

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) A section of New York State is the first in the nation to be recognized as a "Purple Heart Congressional District." Representative Richard Hanna of the 22nd District was in Binghamton to honor our purple heart vets.

More than 58,000 veterans live in the 22nd Congressional District. Naming it a "Purple Heart Congressional District" honors those who were given the purple heart medal while defending our nation.

Congressman Hanna said his father was a marine veteran and thinks this area has a rich military history.

"In it of itself it's great to be first," said (R) Richard Hanna, 22nd District, "But what it really says is this community honors its vets and that we appreciate their sacrifice and their service and their families and it's one more way to draw attention to veterans."

Hanna said more than half of his caseload that he and his staff work on are related to veteran services or needs. He would like this distinction to bring more awareness to the support many veterans still need.

"You know homelessness rates among veterans, unemployment among veterans, suicides, 18 to 22 a day," Hanna said, "Veterans need our help. They deserve our help they served their country and for the Purple Heart, for this district to be first, it was something we saw, we jumped on it, we took the opportunity to do it. It wasn't difficult."

Hanna coordinated a round table discussion with Veterans committee leaders while he was in town to discuss ways to better bring vets community services.

Hanna was joined by other elected officials at the American Legion Post 80 in Binghamton Friday morning for a ceremony of veteran appreciation.