The Minority Affairs Committee wishes to express our sincere condolences to the family of our dear friend and fellow committee member, Pat Toro. We are devastated and shocked by the sudden death of Pat, a stalwart on our committee. As a vice chair, Pat worked tirelessly for Puerto Rico and its veterans. We will miss you dearly, amigo.
Our committee had its VVA Health Benefit Information Booth for the sixth time at the NAACP National Convention, which was held this year at the Mandalay Bay Casino in Las Vegas in July. We thank Joe Wynn and the NABVETS/Vets Group for helping us set up our booth. Our thanks also to Joanna Henshaw, our AVVA liaison, for obtaining health brochures.
National President John Rowan announced at the Leadership & Education Conference that the Native American Veterans Memorial legislation has passed in Congress. We thank Stephen Bowers, our committee vice chair for American Indians, for his hard work on this legislation.
The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation held its annual legislative conference in Washington, D.C., in September. Our committee had its booth there again to meet active duty personnel, veterans and their families to discuss medical issues and VA benefits.
The Native American Veterans Association of Southern California hosted its Second Annual Native American Veterans Summit in early September in Los Angeles. Our committee had its booth there.
The National Gold Star Mothers celebrated its Founding Charter in Washington, D.C., at the end of September, and laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery. We honor these moms who have lost their sons and daughters in service to our country.