As the Trump administration and Congress continue to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, there's an important federal program whose needs must not be forgotten: The Peace Corps.

As a returned Peace Corps volunteer, I know of the impact our service has had globally for almost 60 years. (And Vermont continues its tradition of sending more Volunteers per capita overseas than any other state.) The agency has taken the unprecedented step to suspend all global programs and bring approximately 7,000 volunteers home from their service.

While our government ramps up emergency funding to meet the COVID-19 crisis, it is imperative that Peace Corps receive the necessary funds to cover its evacuation costs, swiftly provide financial commitments to evacuated volunteers, and prepare for the steady redeployment of Peace Corps programs when the pandemic passes. Peace Corps is a valuable and essential means to show the world who the American people truly are, and it needs not to be fiscally eviscerated.

It is also critical that we honor, respect and support the Peace Corps volunteers from this state and all around the U.S. who come home to a different nation. Our lawmakers should ensure sure that the special circumstances these volunteers face are addressed.

Melissa Chesnut-Tangerman

Middletown Springs

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