Commissioner Lesley Briones: Veterans deserve more than thanks. They deserve resources.

11 Nov, 23

By Commissioner Lesley Briones

Texas has the nation’s largest veteran population, and Harris County is home to over 185,000 veterans – the most in the state. This Veterans Day, we extend our deepest gratitude to every one of the men and women for their unwavering service and devotion to preserving the liberties we cherish. It’s because of their selflessness that our democracy is preserved, and as civilians, we owe them our resolute support and utmost appreciation.  

In Precinct 4 and across Harris County, we’re dedicated to providing the necessary resources to enhance the quality of life for our veterans. 

For some, that begins with seeking employment with the assistance of the County’s Veterans Service Department and Harris Health System, which help veterans translate their military experience into meaningful careers. Family Houston realizes how daunting job searching can be, which is why it offers free support in developing resumes and providing educational tools that lead to financial stability. 

As an educator, I especially value the importance of equitable access to quality education and training. I’m proud of Harris County’s partnership with NPower, a national nonprofit offering free training in Information Technology, and the $1.8 million investment to connect veterans and young adults with high-paying jobs in the tech industry. The County is deeply committed to providing apprenticeships like these. Our investment in the Apprenticeship Advantage Initiative program -- the largest in Harris County history -- doubles the apprenticeship opportunities we offer in low-emission vehicle repair, sports, arts and entertainment, construction, and more. Through programs also implemented in the Lone Star College System and University of Houston, we work together to address the gap in education outcomes.  

Yet, there are inequities that still afflict our communities. While the percentage of homeless veterans has decreased in recent years, there’s still much work to be done so all veterans have a place to call home. Please visit Harris County Community Services or Coalition for the Homeless if you or someone you know is experiencing homelessness.    

It's during our most uncertain life moments when our capacity to care for one another truly shines. To that end, it’s so important to have a supportive community. For veterans, VFW Post 8950 and U.S. Vets- Houston are organizations that invite veterans, first responders, and other supporters dedicated to life-long service to the community, and post-military fellowship.   

Harris County also hosts many exciting community events throughout the year to honor our veterans, including Precinct 4’s Veterans Day celebration and annual classic car show on Nov.11 from 10 a.m. .to 2 p.m. at the Hockley Recreational Complex. Please join us on Nov. 11 to celebrate the lives of those who serve to protect us. You can find more events at the Harris Veterans Services website.  

The veterans of Harris County and everywhere deserve our respect and these valuable resources. Today, we salute and honor all veterans for their unsurpassed courage and service.