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First State veterans honored in New Castle

Ending homelessness and increasing job opportunities for veterans were in the spotlight at Delaware's annual Veterans Day service near New Castle.

State and federal politicians applauded and saluted current and former military men and women Wednesday, thanking them for their service.

Gov. Jack Markell (D) was among them, highlighting a promise he made in his 2015 State of the State Address -- to end veteran homelessness by the end of the year.

“The fact that we even have to be talking about homelessness amongst veterans, I think, is incredibly, it’s tragic,” Markell said.

That effort found 140 homeless vets and, so far, the state has found housing for 44 of them. But Markell is optimistic that they'll meet their goal.

“Last week we had volunteers out on the streets talking to the veterans. We’ve been appealing to landlords, encouraging them to go to So we still have work to go.”

And army veteran Russ Hall, a Clayton resident, says he thinks things are moving in the right direction.

“I do appreciate the fact that within Delaware folks in the legislature, like Rep. [Earl Jaques] (D-Glasgow) and the governor and many others I could name that I know, they’ve recognized this," said Hall. "The sad this is, it almost always takes a war or two for people to come back and remember.”

That's part of a nationwide focus on veteran homelessness, which has been a priority for the Obama administration in recent years.

The National Veterans Day Committee in Washington, D.C. named the ceremony a regional site, joining 50 other celebrations across the country.

Markell and other politicians agreed that more needs to be done. They promised to continue pushing for programs to hire and train vets returning home and care for those who serve the country.