News and Tribune

August 28, 2013

'Serving those who serve': Congressman meets with vets in New Albany

U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly visits Home Depot, talks Syria

By DANIEL SUDDEATH
daniel.suddeath@newsandtribune.com

NEW ALBANY — Soldiers may find support while they’re fighting for their country, but what happens when they return from the battlefield and have bills to pay?

Former U.S. Army serviceman Scott Manderviella said having a solid job to return to makes life a little bit easier for a soldier on active duty.

“It puts your mind at ease while you’re fulfilling your job and protecting your country,” he said.

Manderviella is one of 14 veterans employed at the Home Depot in New Albany. On Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly stopped by the business to speak with some of those veterans as part of his “Serving Those Who Serve” tour.

Donnelly said he chose Home Depot as one of the stops because the business is noted for hiring members of the Air National Guard and the U.S. Army reserves.

The Home Depot also protects the jobs of reserve and Guard members who are called into action, and supports their families while they are away, he continued.

“It’s a real veterans-friendly location,” Donnelly said.

Candace Griffin worked in personnel administration in the Army for 17 years, and has spent the last six years as an associate support department supervisor for Home Depot.

The New Albany location will actually be adding more veterans to its staff following a recent job fair where some former service members were hired, she said.

“We’re always looking to support our veterans coming home,” Griffin said.

And the role of the military is again on the forefront.

It was reported Tuesday that U.S. officials were mulling over options for a military response to the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government last week during a civil war that has engulfed the country.

Donnelly said “it is very clear” from the evidence presented that Syria did in fact use chemical weapons, and he added the U.S. should continue to coordinate with other countries to determine the best course of action.

“It will not be just the United States’ response. It will be the world’s response to the criminal action of poisoning your own citizens,” Donnelly said.

He added he “wouldn’t necessarily say” sending troops is the best choice, but said that options shouldn’t be limited at this point.

On the home front, Donnelly said he’s optimistic Congress and the White House will be able to make progress on some of the budgetary issues that must be faced this fall.

Once Congress resumes on Sept. 9, lawmakers will be pressed with a Oct. 1 deadline to stave off a government shutdown by extending certain spending packages.

Donnelly said ideas from the far left and far right aren’t likely to bring about real solutions, but that a “common sense” approach can bridge the gaps that have existed in Congress in recent years.

“We’re not going to get answers on the extremes,” Donnelly said.