July 20, 2007
Senator Jon Tester, Senator Max Baucus and Senator Ken Salazar
My name is Keith Heavyrunner I am an enrolled member of the Blackfeet Nation, Browning, Montana
I am currently married to Bessie Heavyrunner, I have six children.
My oldest son is station at Fort Bliss, Texas as United States Army, Signal Support Specialist.
I come from a family of 5 brothers and 3 sisters. My youngest brother is currently in the Montana National Guard as a Staff Sergeants. I have a nephew with the Marines station in Iraq and another nephew station in the army at Fort Leonard Wood Missouri I also have another nephew leaving in August for the Army.
I grew up on the Blackfeet reservation and attend the Browning public schools.
I listed into the United States Army in 1979 to 1983. After returning back home to Browning I did work such as carpenter work, farming, ranching, United States Postal Service as a contractor and in 2001 I was hired as the Veteran Tribal Representing for the Blackfeet Tribe.
My duties as Tribal Veterans Director is completing claims for veterans, transporting veterans to appointments through out Montana, working with the men and women currently in the military, hold special ceremonial for the men and women returning home from the military.
I serve on several boards; I am with the Montana Veterans Affairs Division, Native American Indian Veterans, Inc., Operation Glacier Warriors and the National Native American Indian Veterans Memorial.
Operation Glacier Warrior is an annual three days of outdoor activities on the blackfeet Reservation and in Glacier National Park, Montana. Operation Glacier Warrior is honoring All Montana Families who are serving or have served in all branches of the military. Operation Glacier Warrior most importantly provides the opportunity for veterans to speak with fellow veterans and families who have dealt with similar difficulties in their lives. Operation Glacier warrior is also lifting the spirit of Gold Star families who have lost a son, daughter, mother or father. Additionally we support our soldiers, Marines, Sailors and Airmen returning home from the war by helping them in the transition from the military into civilian life. Resources range from counseling from accredited counselors to traditional healers. The volunteers consist of member of the Blackfeet tribe, members of the Montana National Guard and members of the Northwest Montana Veterans Stand Down out of Kalispell, Mt
As of June 30, 2007 for the state of Montana 201 wounded and 19 Killed in Action. Unknown how many wounded in Afghanistan, 2 killed in action in Afghanistan.
As of June 30, 2007 for the state of Colorado 440 wounded and 49 killed in action and as of July 19, 2007 3628 killed in Iraq.
Native American Indians who served in World War 1, which at that time Native Americans Indians were not recognized as US citizens. Approximately 6 thousand Native American Indians served in World War I and the original code talkers were the Choctaw Indians of Oklahoma, During World War II Minnie Spotted Wolf is the first native American Indian woman to serve in the marine's corp. she is from Heart Butte, Montana. During world war II 44, 000 native American Indians served.
The tradition has continue on with the Korean War, Vietnam, Desert Storm, and Iraqi Operation Freedom. This will continue on as future generations come of age. Native American Indians are one of the largest ethnic groups to volunteer for the military. The reason for volunteering is a family warrior traditions, poverty and the reason for native American Indian serving during world war II per the veterans did not want to see another invasion from other countries, like the one that now is here today.
Many Native American Indians has join the military after 911 to stop terrorism.
Vietnam veterans, needs to continue thanking them for there service in the military. Like the Vietnam veterans we do not want the new returning veterans to wait 30 years to file there claim for there VA benefits.
Unknown how many Montana homeless veterans their are but I have heard their are now Iraqi veteran that are homeless. Northwest Montana Veteran's Stand Down in Kalispell Montana provides help to about 40 families a month. July 9, 2007 there were 12 families and out of 7 of them were homeless. During the summer there are more homeless veterans then in the winter. Mr. Allen Erickson has been working with the homeless veterans since 2000 providing assistance such as food and clothing. In addition he is in need of more help and assistance such as food and providing assistance with the utilities as it is become a growing problem.
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