Utica, NY— Congresswoman Claudia Tenney was joined by Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon, and members of the Rome fire department and police department at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Rome earlier today where she introduced her new bill, the Remembering Our Local Heroes Act.
“We’ve been struggling to try to find resources to support our local governments, especially through the pandemic so many of these local governments haven’t had the resources to give the proper recognition posthumously to these people and remember them as this beautiful park has done,” Tenney said.
The bill will establish a federal grant program to assist communities with the construction, restoration or maintenance of memorials, honoring veterans, active-duty military personnel, law enforcement and firefighters. The program will be authorized for an initial period of five years and will provide grants of no more than $100,000 to applicants who can demonstrate strong community support and who can secure matching funds from other public and private sources.
“We are really excited about the opportunity to make this memorial even better than it is now and memorials across our region,” Tenney said.
There are over 800,000 veterans in new york state alone. 269,000 of them served in Vietnam, yet it took over 20 years to get the Vietnam Veterans Memorial constructed in Rome. Rick Falcone, President of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund has spent the last 22 years getting the project off the floor and it’s finally near completion. He is extremely thankful for the congresswoman’s efforts.
“I can’t, that was our biggest concern, was perpetual care,” Falcone explains. “So I hope to god it goes through because then we can all move on in the world and know it’s being taken care of and it’s going to stay the way it is when we’re finished. We are trying our hardest to make it as perfect as possible with the funds we have.”