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McCollum Statement Recognizing Ms. Constance Haddeland, 2017 Recipient of the Patrick Henry Award

October 4, 2017
Statements For the Record

Mr. Speaker, it is my privilege to recognize Ms. Constance Haddeland, a 2017 recipient of the Patrick Henry Award from the National Guard Association of the United States, which honors local civic leaders who have distinguished themselves with outstanding and exceptional service to the Armed Forces of the United States and the National Guard.  “Connie” as we know her is a Constituent Services Representative in my Saint Paul, Minnesota office.  She was nominated for this recognition by MG Richard C. Nash, Minnesota National Guard Adjutant General, who presented this award to her this week at the 133rd Airlift Wing in Minnesota.

  For more than 10 years Connie has exemplified a wholehearted commitment to the well-being of Minnesota service members, veterans and their families. Her efforts have resulted in quality of life benefits for National Guard members and Reservists, improved services to veterans and all Armed Forces Service Members serving in Minnesota.

First in 2010 and again in 2012, Minnesota National Guard members returned home from deployments and found themselves without Post Deployment/Mobilization Respite Absence Program (PDMRA) benefits and “bonus pay.”  Connie spearheaded communication between constituents and my office on this issue, providing updates to veteran service organizations and other stakeholders, and working to ensure benefits parity for Guardsmen and Reservists by correcting errors in the way the Department of Defense implemented this program.

As coordinator for U.S. Service Academy nominations in the Fourth District, Connie has led an exemplary program, shepherding applications from hundreds of students resulting in the nominations of scores of Minnesota’s best and brightest high school students to attend our nation’s prestigious service academies.

Connie has touched the lives of hundreds of veterans, military personnel and their families in deep and meaningful ways through her thoughtful, patient and tireless advocacy on their behalf.  Among the most poignant casework successes include assisting the family of an ailing World War II veteran locate the service records necessary to award him the Bronze Star before he passed away.  She also assisted a young soldier correct his military records, which allowed him to access GI Bill benefits to pursue a career in medicine and become a trauma surgeon.

The National Guard Association of the United States Patrick Henry Award citation states it best:

“Connie Haddeland has distinguished herself by providing selfless and dedicated service to the Minnesota National Guard and the United States, by working long and tireless hours representing the members of the National Guard.  Her steadfast professionalism, knowledge of Minnesota National Guard priorities, outreach efforts, and casework management have significantly contributed to successful and meaningful legislation advanced by Congresswoman McCollum on behalf of the men and women of the National Guard. Her dedicated service as a Constituent Services Representative and Service Academy Nominations Coordinator are in keeping with the finest traditions of the National Guard Association of the United States.”

Mr. Speaker, I could not agree more.  Please join me in paying tribute to Ms. Connie Haddeland for her many past and future contributions to our veterans, servicemen and women and their families.