Rapp Succeeds in Making Pennsylvania 12th State to Honor Vietnam Vets Exposed to Agent Orange
3/7/2007
State House members now have ability to salute unrecognized local military heroes and promote early cancer screenings for veterans
 
Rep. Kathy Rapp (R-Warren) announced today that her negotiations with Speaker of the House Denny O’Brien (R-Philadelphia) to make Pennsylvania the 12th state in the nation to recognize Order of the Silver Rose recipients, (Vietnam veterans who have become sick or lost their lives due to Agent Orange exposure) with an official House citation have reached a successful conclusion.    
 
“On any given session day, Pennsylvania House members are asked to vote on various resolutions in recognition of community events, anniversaries and so on and so forth,” said Rapp, a member of the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee. “I have always maintained that none of these are more important or appropriate than publicly honoring Pennsylvania veterans that have paid the ultimate price for their country.  
 
“By establishing a citation recognizing the courage, heroism and contributions of our military personnel found to have been exposed to Agent Orange or other toxic chemicals, the Pennsylvania House is helping to correct a grave injustice by our federal government who has yet to recognize the sacrifices of these brave men and woman with the Purple Heart or another medal of distinction at the national level. “I would like to thank both Speaker of the House Denny O’Brien and Speaker Emeritus John Perzel for joining me in my efforts to recognize this overlooked group of American heroes with the respect and honor they so richly deserve.”
 
Supported by the Vietnam Veterans of America and the National Agent Orange Association, the mission of the Order of the Silver Rose (www.silverrose.info) is two-fold. The first is to encourage every Vietnam veteran to receive a yearly physical and cancer screening. The second and final goal is to see that every Vietnam veteran who has suffered due to Agent Orange exposure is brought honors and recognition for their sacrifices, regardless of whether they are living or deceased.
 
More than 3,000 gratis Silver Rose Awards have been presented to date.

Agent Orange is a chemical defoliant that was deployed by American Forces during the Vietnam War.  More than 22.5 million gallons were sprayed, and that does not take into consideration what was sprayed by hand, helicopter or by the South Vietnamese. Although the U.S. Veterans Administration and the federal government recognize 43 cancers and sicknesses, including Diabetes II as Agent Orange related and military service connected, they do not currently offer any type of official honors or recognition.
 
Today’s announcement of this new PA House citation comes two weeks after Rapp secured a memorial marker commemorating the life and extraordinary service record of Warren County’s only Medal of Honor recipient, U.S. Army Staff Sergeant John Gertsch to be added to Soldiers Grove at the State Capitol Complex.   
 
Gertsch, a five-time Silver Star recipient who was killed in action on July 19, 1969, during combat operations in Vietnam’s A Shau Valley was denied recognition at Soldiers Grove by the Department of General Services due to the fact that he entered the service in nearby Buffalo, N.Y., rather than traveling to the next closest Military Entrance Processing Center in Pittsburgh. Gertsch’s marker will be officially unveiled during a special ceremony on Monday, June 4.
 
Rapp encourages any Order of the Silver Rose recipients, and/or their friends and family members, residing in the 65th Legislative District to contact her Warren district office toll free at (866) 854-5294 so that she may personally recognize their contributions to America and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.   
 
The 65th legislative district includes all of Forest and Warren counties as well as Hamilton, Hamlin, Lafayette and Wetmore townships and Kane and Mount Jewett boroughs in McKean County. 
 
Rep. Kathy Rapp
65th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

(814) 723-5203
(717) 787-1367
www.RepRapp.com
Contact: Ty McCauslin
House Republican Public Relations
(717) 772-9979