A Long Time Coming

I work for the folks that I represent. It’s the approach I’ve always taken as a member of Congress. And one of the most important parts of my job is making sure that constituents are treated fairly by our government. When crisscrossing the region, I like to tell anyone I meet that if they are grappling with a federal agency, having trouble getting an answer they need, or facing difficulties accessing the benefits and services they’ve earned, they should reach out.

I’m proud of the extraordinary casework our office does on a daily basis. In fact, you probably noticed some numbers at the top of my homepage. We keep a running tally of the money we’ve saved folks and the number of people who have contacted us for help. That’s because casework is one of the most important things my office does.

We’ve done everything from help reverse a bureaucratic blunder that prevented a widow from receiving benefits to correcting a mistake that would have forced a retiree to give back a large portion of her retirement package. Given that so many veterans call our region home, we also get to help men and women who served our nation in the military.   Often that means helping them access VA benefits or even get long overdue recognition for sacrifices they made.    

That’s what brought me to the Tacoma Narrows Bridge Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10018 last week to celebrate the service of SGT Edward Dvorak from Lakebay. Along with the Undersecretary of the Army, Patrick Murphy, we presented a Silver Star to SGT Dvorak for protecting his fellow servicemembers on a November day in 1968.


When his long-range patrol faced a much larger force while on a mission, his team was hit with two rocket propelled grenades injuring several team members, including Ed. SGT Dvorak, without hesitation, exposed himself to danger, rushing to a machine gun and making sure the soldiers he led could be safely evacuated by helicopters. Most notably, he refused treatment until he knew the folks he led as Team Leader were safe. During the ceremony Undersecretary Murphy remarked that Ed, “was suffering great pain, but that no-quit attitude is the embodiment of the American soldier.”

Unfortunately, for nearly 50 years, Ed did not receive the proper recognition for the bravery he showed that day.  So when he decided to submit an application to the Department of Defense for a Bronze Star he asked for help from my office. Our office was more than happy to assist in submitting the application for review. During that process, the Department decided to upgrade the award to a Silver Star, our nation’s third highest military award.

I was proud to watch as SGT Dvorak, after so many years, received this well-deserved recognition of his bravery. Ed is yet another example of the extraordinary men and women who serve our nation.  It was an honor to play a small part in making the day happen. You can see highlights of the ceremony here, courtesy of I Corps at Joint Base Lewis McChord.

It was also a great example of the work our office can do to help the folks we represent.  If you need a hand – with the VA, with the IRS, with the Social Security Administration, or with any other agency – please do not hesitate to reach out to my office.  Again, we work for you!