Life on the front lines isn’t a pretty sight. For some members of the Texas National Guard, it can be an agonizing experience; they're away from their homes and loved ones for an undetermined amount of time. But, this is the life of a soldier, serving the state and our nation proudly.
You might think when Governor Rick Perry ordered hundreds of them to the border this past summer, the state would supply the needs of our troops. But you would be wrong. Every day, the state is spending thousands of dollars to fund an operation to beef up security along the Rio Grande River. It’s been estimated that approximately $12 million a month is going to surge. But, apparently, none of it is getting to our guardsmen fast enough.
As per policy of the Texas National Guard, deployed members must pay for their own food, only to be reimbursed at a later time. The office of State Representative Rene Oliveira told us that this process could take weeks, if not months. They say it poses a huge problem for a hungry soldier, who may not have the ability to cover any upfront costs associated with the deployment. It seems that dozens of soldiers have turned to food banks in Brownsville to meet their food needs. A spokesman for Rep. Oliveira says the state lawmaker is planning to speak with Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives John Strauss and the Chairman of Fiscal Impact of Texas Border Support Operations, and requesting a review of how the Guard reimbursement program currently works. In the meantime, he’s working with local restaurants and other organizations to provide meals for our soldiers.
"We need to find immediate solutions for these hungry soldiers. I have made the commitment to buy meals for National Guard troops serving in Operation Strong Safety in the Brownsville area who need it,” says Rep. Rene O. Oliveira, of Brownsville.
Hopefully, lawmakers in Austin will follow his lead and help give these guys some grub because we want the Guard to be on the lookout, not hunting down their next meal.