“It’s recognition for us,” Navy veteran Joe Bubelenyi told WNDU-TV. “It’s kind of bittersweet. We didn’t get that when we came back. We were disrespected. We made a promise to leave no vets behind because we were kind of forgotten about when we came back home.”
Frank Piontek, founding president of the chapter, said he wants to help recent veterans returning from conflicts in the Middle East access their military benefits. “If you don’t engage yourself when you get out of the military about what you were told you were going to get, there’s a problem,” he said.
“I was lucky to serve at a time when Americans would honor service members, no matter how they felt about U.S. policy,” South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg tweeted. “It wasn’t that way for the Vietnam generation. Better late than never, we owe each of them a heartfelt Thank You and Welcome Home.”