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The American Legion, Department of Indiana, has named State Rep. Stephen Bartels (R-Eckerty) the 2021 recipient of the Distinguished Public Service Award. 

Bartels received the award during the American Legion, Department of Indiana’s 102nd Annual Department Convention held at the Marriot East Hotel in Indianapolis on SaturdayJuly 10

The award honors state legislators who went above and beyond to work with the American Legion and other veteran organizations to accomplish great things during the 2021 Indiana General Assembly legislative session. 

“Rep. Bartels authored House Bill 1264, a bill which changed qualifying requirements for grants from the Military Family Relief Fund,” said American Legion Commander Allen Connelly. “Many more needy veterans will find themselves eligible due to changes this bill made to current law.”

The Military Family Relief Fund is designed to assist Indiana veterans and their legal dependents who experience financial hardship. This emergency grant may be used for needs such as housing, utilities, food, medical services, and transportation assistance, which have become difficult to afford.

“Lawmakers made sure that more of our struggling Hoosier veterans will qualify for financial assistance,” Bartels said. “We must extend a hand to those who serve our nation when they need our help.”

Bartels retired with the rank of major from the Indiana National Guard, having served four years enlisted and 18 years commissioned. He serves as a member of the Veterans Affairs and Public Safety committee in the Indiana House.

The convention is an annual event where the governing body of the American Legion, the Department of Indiana convenes to set policies and priorities for the department. Learn more at  

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