Each year we come together as a nation on Veterans Day to honor and celebrate the hundreds of thousands of brave Americans who have served our country in uniform.

Commissioner Gene Houpe

Now more than ever, our veterans need our support. In a time when our country is divided on so many issues, we can all agree that those individuals who risked everything to protect our country and our way of life deserve our support and gratitude.

That is why I will be proposing that Iredell County join counties and municipalities across the state and nation in launching Operation Green Light for Veterans, an initiative designed to shine a light on the service of our veterans and their families.

With the pursuit of the safety and security of our nation comes the responsibility to support and serve the veterans who sacrificed on our behalf. Unfortunately, too many recent veterans, after nearly two decades of constant war, are struggling to transition back to civilian life.

Veteran suicides have claimed over 30,000 lives since 2001—four times more than the number of U.S. military personnel who died in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. While the vast majority of veterans return healthy and prepared for civilian life, we must be better as a nation.

As part of Operation Green Light for Veterans, I want Iredell County to participate in illuminating county buildings green beginning on November 7 and we encourage individuals and businesses to join us by changing one light bulb in the entryway of your house or business to a green bulb. By shining a green light, we let veterans know that they are seen, appreciated and supported.

As the District 12 director of the N.C. Association of County Commissioners, I represent eight counties in this region. I will be asking Iredell County and all of the counties and municipalities in our district to participate in this very important initiative. With over 30 years of law enforcement experience and being an elected official, I have had the honor of serving with, meeting and getting to know many veterans and their families. I have seen and heard firsthand the impact that our veterans and families face long after serving our country.

I want to say thank you to all of our veterans and their families for your service and sacrifices. While this event is focused on the week of Veterans Day, November 7-13, we encourage individuals to continue to shine the light year-round. This Veterans Day, join us in shining a light of hope and support. Join Operation Green Light and let’s turn Iredell County green for our veterans.

Gene Houpe is an Iredell County commissioner and the NCACC District 12 director.

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