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Congressman Gus Bilirakis

Representing the 12th District of Florida

Gus Commends Hillsborough Sheriff Gee for Honoring Fallen Heroes

January 4, 2012
Bilirakis Blog

In a surprise ceremony on Wednesday, Gus presented Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee with a Congressional commendation for providing honor escorts to soldiers who have been killed in action.

The proclamation, which is entered into the Congressional Record, is below.

Related news:
Tribune: Sheriff Gee Given Congressional Nod For Fallen Hero Escorts
ABC: Sheriff Gee Recognized for Honoring Fallen Heroes
Bay News 9: Rep. Bilirakis Honors Sheriff Gee

The Honorable Gus Bilirakis
Extension of Remarks
Honoring the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office for its Tribute to our Fallen Heroes

Mr. Speaker -

I rise today to honor the Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee for his efforts to honor fallen military heroes from the Tampa Bay area.  At the direction of Sheriff Gee, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office has instituted a program to conduct honor escorts for every fallen hero from Tampa Bay who returns to Hillsborough County.  To date, Sheriff Gee and the HillsboroughCounty Sheriff's Deputies have conducted 12 honor escorts for fallen heroes since the escortswere implemented in 2009.  While that is 12 honor escorts too many, I am proud to represent a community with an institution as respectful and dignified as the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

Per Sheriff Gee's orders, and with the permission of the fallen hero's family, any fallen hero that arrives in HillsboroughCounty is escorted to any destination.  These escorts involve multiple motorcycle deputies, patrol cruisers, and other Sheriff's vehicles, including members of the Sheriff's aviation unit, as the hearse and the family's vehicles are led to the final destination.  Each family is given a copy of a DVD and photo album commemorating the escort to help them heal, remember, and recall that their loved one was a real American hero.

Many of us recall the unfortunate response that many of our veterans received upon their return from Vietnam.  One of the great lessons of that tragedy was to always remember the sacrifices of the service member.  As Vice-Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, I constantly find myself in awe of the sacrifices and efforts that have been made on behalf of our great country by the men and women who have worn the uniform of our Armed Services.  Regardless of the politics of the conflicts that our country has engaged in over the course of the last decade, I am proud of and appreciative of the efforts that Sheriff Gee and the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office have taken to honor and respect our fallen heroes.  Mr. Speaker, I salute the efforts of not only our brave men and women in uniform, but also that of Sheriff Gee and the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office to honor their brothers and sisters in arms and to protect the safety and security of the citizens of Hillsborough County.

I yield back the remainder of my time.