May 2, 2015

During Annual Veterans Breakfast, Whitehouse Announces Bill to Protect Servicemembers from Foreclosure

Senator Presents Medals to Rhode Island Korean War Veteran

Warwick, RI – On Saturday, during his 8th Annual Veterans Breakfast and Resource Fair at the Rhode Island National Guard Armory, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse presented medals to a Korean War veteran from Pawtucket, heard from veterans and their families about the issues they face, and announced legislation to protect servicemembers from losing their homes to foreclosure.  Whitehouse introduced the legislation in the Senate on Thursday.

The event also included representatives from federal and state agencies, major employers, and veteran service organizations to provide information, employment opportunities, and services to attendees. 

“I look forward to this breakfast every year.  It’s an opportunity to talk with Rhode Island veterans and their families about the issues they face, and provide an update on my work to ensure that veterans get the benefits, care, and fair treatment they’ve earned,” said Whitehouse.  “This year I was also proud to announce the introduction of the Foreclosure Relief and Extension for Servicemembers Act.  After fighting for our country overseas, our troops shouldn’t have to fight to keep a roof over their heads when they return home, and this bill will help.”

Congressman David Cicilline, Major General Kevin McBride of the Rhode Island National Guard, and Providence VA Medical Center Director Dr. Susan MacKenzie joined Whitehouse for the event.

“I am honored to join with Senator Whitehouse at his Annual Veterans Breakfast to help connect Rhode Island veterans to the many great organizations that advocate for them.  Supporting those who have served our nation and made extraordinary sacrifices is one of our most important responsibilities as elected officials.  I want to thank Senator Whitehouse for his dedication to this issue and I look forward to continuing to work with him in Congress to ensuring our government fulfills its promises to veterans and their families,” said Cicilline.

Foreclosure Bill

Whitehouse has been fighting for years to ensure that servicemembers are protected from foreclosure following a tour of duty.  Currently, thanks to a bill Whitehouse helped pass last year, servicemembers are protected from foreclosure for a full year after they return home from active service, but that provision is due to expire at the end of this year if Congress fails to act.  Whitehouse’s bill would extend the year-long foreclosure protection permanently. 

“Servicemembers coming back from active duty often need time to regain their financial footing, particularly those in the National Guard and Reserves who give up their full-time jobs to fight for our freedom,” Whitehouse continued.  “To honor their service and grant them peace of mind, we need to provide sensible, permanent foreclosure protection for our veterans.”

Medal Ceremony

Also during the Breakfast, Whitehouse presented medals to Norman Gordon of Pawtucket, who earned several honors during the Korean War but never received them.  During his time in Korea with the U.S. Army, Gordon served as a lineman, responsible for setting up communications equipment used during combat operations.  Whitehouse presented Gordon with the following awards:

Presidential Unit Citation – Awarded to units of the armed forces of the United States and cobelligerent nations for extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy occurring on or after December 7, 1941.

National Defense Service Medal – Awarded for honorable active military service as a member of the armed forces of the United States.

Korean Service Medal with 3 Bronze Service Stars – Awarded to members of the armed forces of the United States who served within the area or areas of military operations in the Korean theater.

United Nations Service Medal – Awarded to military personnel and civilian police who are or have been in the service of the United Nations.

Resource Fair

As in years past, the Breakfast featured a Resource Fair with representatives from federal and state agencies, major Rhode Island employers, and veteran service organizations.  The groups were available to assist veterans and their families in accessing veteran benefits, housing, employment, counseling, and more.  Participating organizations included:

The Providence VA Medical Center 

The Providence VA Regional Office

Veterans Inc.

Operation Stand Down

Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR)

Electric Boat


CVS Caremark

Vet Center

Nat. Guard Family Assistance Center

Family Services of RI

Phones For Vets


Press Contact

Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921