Today we remember President John F. Kennedy. Since 2009 I have had the honor of occupying his Senate office.
President Kennedy inspired a generation of Americans to serve their country at home and around the world and to help their fellow man. He also had a remarkable ability to look towards the future always searching for new ideas and new opportunities.
As we remember President Kennedy today let us recommit to his vision, to this country and to our shared future. As President Kennedy once said: “I can assure you that we love our country, not for what it was, though it has always been great -- not for what it is, though of this we are deeply proud -- but for what it someday can, and, through the efforts of us all, someday will be.”
As the Catholic Volunteer Network (CVN) celebrates its 50th anniversary, this is a great time to highlight the important work being done by CVN and its volunteers. CVN continues to inspire everyone it reaches as the organization grows in numbers and continues to help people find meaningful, faith-based services across the country and around the globe.
Since its founding in 1963 by Father George Mader, CVN has grown from a local program operating out of the Newark Archdiocese into a global operation based out of Washington, D.C. I am a proud alumnus of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC), an affiliate program of CVN. During my time with JVC, I had the privilege to serve as a 5th grade teacher and 8th grade basketball coach at the Gesu School in North Philadelphia. Several members of my family, including one of my daughters, have followed as volunteers with JVC or with other Catholic service-based organizations. Working with children in the classroom and on the basketball court was an invaluable experience that has continued to have a profound impact on my life. Today, fighting on behalf of the underprivileged children of Pennsylvania remains a critical part of my role as a United States Senator.
CVN offers young people the chance to aid those in need. The faith-based service that it promotes allows young volunteers to play an active role in strengthening and developing their communities. I can personally speak to its effectiveness, as CVN and JVC gave me one of my first opportunities to serve the public good. My year as a Jesuit volunteer provided me with numerous eye-opening experiences, and the struggles of those I met in the inner city continue to affect me and my work. I will continue to support CVN and the valuable work that it does. The program embodies two principles that comprise the foundation of my life - faith and service.
It is with great pride and pleasure that I congratulate CVN on 50 years of remarkable, altruistic work. I look forward to an even brighter future for CVN as their compassionate assistance continues to provide exceptional service for our communities. With each act of kindness that CVN provides, we, as a community, step towards a better future for all.
I know of no other place more beautiful than Pennsylvania, especially so in autumn. To celebrate, I'm hosting a fall foliage photo contest. Please vote for your favorite fall scene by visiting the contest gallery on facebook. The one with the most likes on November 22 will be used as our cover photo until the end of the year. Photos have been cropped to fit the cover photo dimensions and the captions read First Name - Hometown - Photo Location. Thanks to all who submitted a photo!
When I meet with Pennsylvanian servicemembers, veterans, and their families, I am always humbled by their remarkable patriotism, resilience, and sense of duty. Military families understand what it means to answer the call of duty, rising above and beyond, to serve our nation. Strong families clearly form the backbone of our strong military. I believe that supporting military families is crucial to the wellbeing of our servicemembers and the quality of our all-volunteer force.
As we celebrate Military Families Appreciation Month, I want to highlight just a few of the organizations and resources available to support Pennsylvania’s military families.
The Army Strong Community Center in Moon Township, Pennsylvania, works to strengthen our armed service through effective community support for military families.
Operation Military Kids in University Park, Pennsylvania, works to support the estimated 32,000 Pennsylvanian children who have a parent serving in the military.
Operation Homefront is a nationwide organization with an office in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. They work to provide families with “relief during a crisis, a place to recover, and recognition for a life of sacrifice.”
The Pennsylvania Military Family Relief Assistance Program works with the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs in Annville, Pennsylvania. PA MFRAP “provides financial assistance, in the form of grants, to eligible Pennsylvania service members and their eligible family members.”
The Lehigh Valley Military Affairs Council in Hellertown, Pennsylvania, “provides scholarships and grants to needy Lehigh Valley military families; sponsors public events to foster patriotism and respect for those that have served and are still serving in the US Armed Forces; supports local military units and activities.”
The Armed Services YMCA has partnered with the Department of Defense to provide child care services to military families.
The American Red Cross in Reno, Pennsylvania, “provides emergency assistance, public education, disaster assistance, military services which include emergency communications between the services person and his/her family, financial assistance for service persons on emergency leave and support groups for the military families.”
The Pennsylvania National Guard Foundation is a “charitable organization serving the Pennsylvania National Guard, its soldier, airmen, and families.” This foundation supports fundraising efforts and projects to assist the Pennsylvania National Guard, its personnel and families.
In addition to these organizations, my office is always ready to assist. I appreciate hearing from all Pennsylvanians on issues that are important to them.
Today marks the 238th birthday of the United States Marine Corps. The origins of the Marine Corps can be traced back to the Continental Marines of War for American Independence. The Second Continental Congress established the Marine Corps on November 10, 1775. Pennsylvania’s long and storied tradition of Corps also dates back to Captain Samuel Nicholas of Philadelphia, who was the first officer commissioned in the Continental Marines. From America’s inception to today, these brave men and women truly embody the Marines’ motto “Semper Fidelis” by their persistent honor and courage. Join me in wishing the United States Marine Corps, and all those that have served within the ranks of the few and the proud, a happy birthday.