On Friday, Sept. 4 Congressman Brad Wenstrup (R – 2nd Congressional District) visited Adams County.
The Congressman kicked off his sweeping county-wide tour with a “Coffee with your Congressman” sit down at the Greene Beanery Coffee House in Peebles on Friday morning.
“Whatever you want to talk about,” he told those in attendance, we’ll talk about.”
The Congressman then spent a casual hour moving from table to table engaged in lively discussions with his constituents.
The “round-the-kitchen-table” discussions included a range of concerns and questions on social, economic, and veteran’s issues.
“I got a lot of great input on how to tackle upcoming issues.”Wenstrup tweeted enroute to his next stop in Winchester.
The Congressman visited the First State Bank in Winchester to meet with local bankers to discuss regulatory relief for small banks.
“Small community banks are forced to operate under the same regulations as the large mega banks that caused the near collapse of the economy in 2008,” said Mike Pell, President of First State Bank, “Small community banks are the back bone of small communities and they shouldn’t be punished or treated like a mega bank”.
Wenstrup likened the regulations imposed on small banks to an entire classroom being made to stay after school because one student behaved badly.
Studies have shown that the avalanche of new regulations coming down on community banks from Washington is having a negative impact on lending and consumer choices. The new restrictions on mortgage lending are reducing access to mortgage credit for many Americans living in small communities.
“Congressman Wenstrup understands the concerns of rural America not having a voice in Washington, so he comes out here to further his own understanding of our problems and he is supportive of our needs when he is in Washington,” Pell added.
Following his meeting with local bankers Wenstrup traveled to West Union where he was interviewed by C103 announcer, Matt Hilderbrand. The interview aired Monday, Sept. 7.
The Congressman ended his visit to Adams County with a medal presentation ceremony at the Peebles Public Library.
He presented the family of Master Sergeant Donald C. Fleming with six medals: The Good Conduct Medal, the American Defense Service Medal, the American Campaign Medal, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, and an Honorable Service Lapel Button.
Fleming, a 1936 graduate of Seaman High School, served in the United States Army Air Corps during WWII from 1941-45.
The Master Sergeant’s uniform had been on display at the Peebles library, minus the medals Fleming had earned for his service. The decision was made to contact Congressman Wenstrup about replacing the lost medals.
“As a veteran serving in Congress,” he said,” it is important to me to come out and honor the lives and sacrifices of veterans and their families.”
Wenstrup served as a combat surgeon in Iraq in 2005 as part of the U.S. Army Reserve Medical Corp.
Quoting the late baseball player, Roberto Clemente, he told those assembled,” If you have a chance to make life better and fail to do so, you’ve wasted your time.” He added, “That’s what the guys who served in World War II did, they fought to make life better.”
He also recalled a scene from the movie Saving Private Ryan in which the elderly Ryan, standing over Captain Miller’s grave, turns to his wife and says, “Tell me I’ve been a good man. Tell me I’ve lived a good life.”
“Master Sergeant Fleming,” said Wenstrup, was part of what has been called the greatest generation because they and their families made sacrifices to make life better for all of us, and when they came home they endeavored to live good lives.”
Master Sergeant Fleming’s grandson, Andy Belle, who is currently serving in Afghanistan, was also present at the ceremony via FaceTime on a relative’s cell phone. Congressman Wenstrup thanked him for his service.