National Guard veteran honored at Capitol
Tuesday, February 8th 2005, 5:53 am
News On 6
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) During his State of the State address Monday, Gov. Brad Henry used Capt. Scott Houck, a 14-year veteran of the Army National Guard, to illustrate the value of a proposal to increase military benefits.
``Houck is typical of how our Army and Air National Guard have made an extraordinary commitment for our state and nation,'' Henry said. ``And so it is time we make an extraordinary commitment to our Guard and their family.''
Houck, 33, was stationed in Afghanistan in September 2003 and returned last August. He said he was overwhelmed by the governor's remarks at the state Capitol.
``I was humbled by the standing ovation from everyone,'' he said. ``It goes beyond my wildest dreams.''
Henry proposed providing a tax exemption for military pension income for all veterans and purchasing a $250,000 life insurance policy for every Guardsman.
``The governor outlined a great plan,'' Houck said. ``I hope the legislature will make the right choice.''
Houck also supported the governor's idea for a military family relief fund.
The fund would ``give all Oklahomans the opportunity to donate to Guard families who need it most,'' Henry said. ``We honor their sacrifice, and it's high time we honor their families, also.''
Houck served in Afghanistan as a personnel officer and helped hundreds of people through medical camps. His work earned him a Bronze Star.
``I couldn't have done it without the help of the people who were working for me,'' he said. ``Everyone did a great job under a difficult circumstance.''
Some of Houck's other decorations include the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Humanitarian Medal.
Houck's wife, Kimberly, said she will always support her husband in his military endeavors.
``We are all just so proud of him,'' she said. ``When he first left, I felt like it would never end. I was five months pregnant. Those e-mails and phone calls were our saving grace.''
Houck said getting a phone call from the Red Cross about the birth of his daughter Kaelyn is the best memory he has from his time in Afghanistan.
Kimberly said Houck and the 14-month-old child are nearly inseparable.
Houck was a part of the 700th Forward Support Company of the 45th Infantry Brigade in Oklahoma City. It was the first time the brigade mobilized since the Korean War.