Nevada legislators were given the opportunity to handle more than political firepower on Wednesday afternoon.
During Nevada Vet Rally Day at the Legislature, they saw the weapons used by the Nevada National and Air National Guard. Military tents and vehicles were parked on the legislative plaza, serving as the backdrop for the free barbecue lunch for lawmakers.
"We do it to educate the legislators, because many of them are new, about what the Guard is and what we do for the state," said Brig. Gen. Cynthia Kirkland. "It's one of those visual lessons."
The event is put on as a partnership between the Nevada National Guard, the Nevada Office of Veteran Affairs, the Veteran Service Commission, the American Legion, the Disabled American Veterans and the United States Enlisted Association of National Guard.
The rally was also attended by veterans groups from across Northern Nevada.
Tim Tetz, director of the Nevada Office of Veteran Affairs, said the organizations involved were happy to bring more exposure to the needs of veterans.
"Our biggest message to legislators is that we are always ready to thank veterans with our words, but we need to do it with our actions. We need to give them back a small piece of what they have given us," Tetz said.
Kirkland said with a number of issues concerning veterans before the Legislature this session, it's good to let lawmakers actually see those who are serving their country.
"Anything we can do to make their service easier and lessen the impacts, both financial and emotional, we owe that to them," Kirkland said.
The rally also served to bring awareness to a new national program the Guard is hoping to bring to Nevada, called Project ChalleNGe. It is a national community-based program that leads, trains and mentors at-risk youth and is currently operating in 26 states.
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