TAMPA, FL – October 22, 2013: Enable America is paying tribute this week to Congressman C.W. “Bill” Young. A longtime member of the U.S. House Appropriations Committee, where he focused on spending to support American troops and the military, the congressman passed away last week at age 82.
“We have lost a true patriot, and a genuine friend,” said Richard Salem, founder and chairman of Enable America. ”Congressman Young’s wisdom, guidance, and support were critical to Enable America’s start, and to our continued work today as we work to improve employment opportunities for disabled veterans and wounded warriors. His dedication to these men and women will never be forgotten, and will benefit his Florida constituents, and the nation, for many years to come.”
A veteran of the Army National Guard, Congressman Young’s political career began with election to the Florida State Senate 1961. Ten years later he was elected to the U.S. House from his Pinellas County district, and was serving in his 22nd term, making him the state’s longest serving member in Congress.
His connection to Enable America goes back to the organization’s beginnings in 2002. In recognition, last September Congressman Young was honored along with Iowa Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), with Enable America “Awards of Appreciation.” The Congressman reciprocated by reading a proclamation on the House floor: “I rise today to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of Enable America, a first of its kind organization entirely dedicated to reducing unemployment among people with disabilities,” he said at the time.
“The Congressman’s care and support for the needs of people with disabilities, including our veterans and their families, will not only be a legacy, but also a guide star for all of us to follow in the years to come,” Salem said. “We extend our appreciation to Congressman Young, as well as his wife Beverly and other family members, for the many contributions that have helped to further Enable America’s ongoing success.”
The outpouring of condolences stretches from the White House, to Capitol Hill, to his constituents in Florida.
"Michelle and I were saddened to learn of the passing of Congressman C.W. Bill Young,” said President Obama, “He will be remembered for his advocacy and support for the armed forces, service members, and their families as well as his statesmanship and long history of working across the aisle to keep our country moving forward."
"It's only been a week since we began trying to imagine the House without Bill Young — an impossible task in its own right — and now he is gone,” said House Speaker John Boehner. “ In our sorrow, we recall how not a day went by without a colleague seeking Bill's counsel as he sat on his perch in the corner of the House floor. There was a good reason for this. Here was a man who had seen it all and accomplished much. Looking out for our men and women in uniform was his life's work, and no one was better at it. No one was kinder too.”
“(Congressman) Young was one of those rare few in politics who rose from humble beginnings and still managed to keep his priorities aligned with those he served,” said St. Petersburg resident Dr. Scott K. Rineer, an Enable America supporter. “I hope that his district will find a suitable replacement who continues his enthusiasm and service.”