AURORA | U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman was recognized by the group Vietnam Veterans of America as the Legislator of the Year for 2017.

The group said Coffman’s work on veteran issues in Congress and his own military service and tours of duty in combat. The group specifically cited Coffman’s support for the Veterans Urgent Access to Mental Healthcare Act, which would guarantee mental health services for veterans who were discharged on other than honorable grounds.

“We are recognizing Congressman Coffman for his leadership in introducing and fighting for bills that will have a profound impact on veterans of all eras, as well their children and their children’s children,” said John Rowan, the group’s president, in a press release on the award.

During his acceptance speech in New Orleans Friday, Coffman talked about his own journey in the military, both during his own tours of duty with the Marine Corps, and as a child of a Army medical doctor during the Vietnam War,

Coffman said the experiences of wounded soldiers coming home from Vietnam to the at the Buckley Air Force he witnessed as a child drove his work as a congressman.

“This country had never not only never welcomed them home, they never honored their sacrifice,” Coffman told the crowd. “So if there’s one thing that compels me as a member of congress, it is to make sure no one is ever treated like those who came home from Vietnam.”