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Service to our Veterans

Jeremy Carr, an American living with Down Syndrome, refuses to let his disability deter his committment to service. President Obama honored Jeremy for his work with Vietnam Veterans of America in his Veteran's Day speech and invited him and his family to the White House.
President Obama greets Jeremy Carr

President Barack Obama greets Jeremy Carr in the Outer Oval Office, Jan. 13, 2012. Carr's mother, Teresa Carr, and brother, Bobby Carr, join him. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Although millions of Steelers fans mourned the first-round playoff loss this year, they had something more important to celebrate—one of their hometown heroes who lives with a disability.

Just north of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in Beaver County, lives Vietnam veteran Teresa Carr. Late last fall, Teresa took the time to write a personal letter to the President. And while as a veteran she probably could have spent pages detailing her history and service, Teresa had another topic in mind—her 23 year old son, Jeremy.

According to Teresa, Jeremy wanted more than anything to serve his country in the military. He lives with Down Syndrome so that meant he could not be an active duty soldier, but that didn’t stop Jeremy from committing to serving our country through volunteerism.  In his spare time, Jeremy volunteers at a local chapter of Vietnam Veterans of America. Last spring he spent time cleaning up a local highway with several veterans.  Through it all, Jeremy asked his mother one question; “Mom, will President Obama be proud of me for helping the soldiers?”

The answer is a resounding “Yes!” In his Veteran’s Day speech, President Obama emphasized the importance of Jeremy Carr’s service, dedication and commitment to veterans, declaring "I could not be prouder of you, and your country is proud of you. Thank you for serving our veterans and helping them continue their service to America."

To top off the personal mention, just last week Jeremy and his parents were invited to the White House to meet with President Obama. Again, the President honored Jeremy for his commitment to serving veterans and urged him to continue his inspiring efforts.

The definition of service extends far beyond active duty. Service is giving back to those who need our help and volunteering with organizations which support American dreams. Jeremy and millions of Americans with disabilities serve their communities in different ways each and every day.

Kareem Dale is the Special Assistant to the President for Disability Policy