State legislators lend an ear to the the military community.
The Veteran Affairs and Military Installations Committee met at the Central Texas Workforce Center in Killeen Tuesday.
Family members and organizations had there say about some of the biggest challenges facing our heroes and what the state can do to help.
The panel heard about issues including unemployment, veteran services and benefits.
Two military widows came forward to talk about how they feel like they've been left behind.
"You are never prepared for that knock at your door," Donna Egeman told the panel as she recapped the morning she found out her husband, CW4 John Egeman, had been killed in an explosion in Iraq.
She spoke of how she found herself in a financial crisis, then how her application for a discount mortgage rate was denied.
"To not include us, the family of survivors of the fallen for a discount rate for mortgage, I really find that quite insulting," said Donna.
In a similar situation, Paulette Williams was twice denied a property tax exemption, because the law only qualified spouses of living veterans who were 100 percent disabled after 2009.
"They sent the application back and said that we need to know what percentage of disability your husband had. My though was, what percentage? He's dead. How much more disabled can you be?" said Paulette.
Both women called for action, asking law makers to extend those kinds of benefits to widows and widowers.
Paulette told them, "We owe our surviving family members and we owe our war fighters, us, their families a better quality of life."
Senator Leticia Van de Putte (D-District 26) says she's had other spouses also come forward about the issue and that she's considering it.
"Besides the probably almost half of cut in pay, the full force of property taxes hit them," said Van de Putte.
And that acknowledgement is what Donna came to fight for.
"My fellow surviving spouses, widows, widowers, and our children, we matter, and I'm asking you to please take that into consideration," said Donna in closing.
Some of the laws at the heart of the discussion were written to benefit very specific groups, depending on when a soldier died or how disabled they were.
That's because law makers needed a measurable group in order to budget, and budget shortfalls are a major factor for this issue.
Reporter/Photographer: Sophia Stamas email@example.com