OKLAHOMA CITY – Senator Frank Simpson was recently honored on the Senate floor for his tireless support and legislative contributions to the Oklahoma National Guard during his tenure in the Senate.
The Springer Republican was presented with the Oklahoma Thunderbird medal for “outstanding service, achievement or contribution made in support of Oklahoma National Guard missions” by Oklahoma Adjutant General, Brig. Gen. Thomas Mancino and Oklahoma Air National Guard Senior Enlisted Leader, Chief Master Sgt. Scott Irwin.
The medal is the guard’s highest award presented to a civilian, and Simpson is the first Senator to ever receive it.
“This was a total surprise,” Simpson said on the floor, addressing his colleagues.
“I’m not usually at a loss for words but I can’t tell you how much I have enjoyed the 12 years of serving with each of you in this chamber. The great thing about veterans legislation is it’s bipartisan and everybody wants to help our veterans, so it makes passing veterans’ bills pretty easy. I want to thank all of you for the support you have shown for my fellow veterans, for our National Guard and for our men and women in the military here in Oklahoma. This is a tremendous, tremendous honor.”
According to a release sent to The Oklahoma City Sentinel, during his nearly twelve years in the Senate, the Navy veteran and chair of the Senate Veterans and Military Affairs Committee has authored numerous bills to help support Oklahoma’s active military, including the Oklahoma National Guard, veterans, and their families.
His legislation provided a sales tax exemption for the spouses and widows of 100% disabled veterans, state veterans benefits to peacetime veterans, and non-institutional community-based care for aging and/or terminally ill veterans who cannot live alone.
His efforts have helped improve services at the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs (ODVA) by strengthening agency oversight as well as training and education for veteran center personnel.
His work has also led to the establishment of peer-supported veteran drop-in centers statewide, another state veterans cemetery, veteran and 100% disabled veteran designations on driver licenses, and a grant to ensure indigent veterans receive a proper burial.
Obtaining a higher education is also more affordable for veterans and military members thanks to his bills.
“Senator Simpson represents the best of public service both in the Oklahoma State Senate and the U.S. Navy,” Mancino said.
“It was a privilege to know and work with him over these past 12 years.”
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