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Thread: Semper Infideli$
11-11-03, 09:16 AM #1
Tue Nov 11, 3:38 AM ET Add Op/Ed - New York Post to My Yahoo!
By STEVE DUNLEAVY
ON THIS Veterans Day, Chelle Pokorney is enormously proud of her late husband, Marine 1st Lt. Frederick Pokorney.
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She is heartbroken that he was killed March 23, in Nasiriyah, Iraq (news - web sites), on the day he was promoted.
And she is frightened for the future, because a bumbling government bureaucracy can't get straight what it owes a widow and daughter of a man who gave his life for his country.
"He was a brave 10-year veteran. We both knew the risks. He paid $20 a month out of his pay for insurance," Chelle said.
A yet-unspecified lump sum will be given to the widow as her insurance payment.
But American troops deserve a lot more.
And it's the responsibility of the government, starting with the Department of Veterans Affairs (news - web sites), to make certain they know what they're entitled to and that they get it.
"If he had died of medical causes at Camp Lejeune, the government would pay all his benefits, including medical, dental, for our daughter, Taylor, 3, plus in excess of $3,500 a month," Chelle said.
"But I don't know at this stage where I am. Right now, Taylor gets medical, but it's terminated in three years, and the [monthly stipend] is $900 a month, plus Social Security (news - web sites), which, when I return to work as a nurse, we lose."
She's entitled to a monthly stipend for the rest of her life, unless she remarries.
"The service [widows whose [husbands die] in the United States of medical causes deserve their $3,500 a month, plus everything, but how is it that a family who loses a loved one killed in action gets $900 a month plus virtually nothing?" Chelle was saying.
"Taylor is entitled to a $40,000 bond for college when she turns 19. When it didn't appear, we called and called. It emerges the bond was in someone else's name. It appears that in the bureaucracy, nobody seems interested unless it affects them."
Now New York's Intrepid Foundation is jumping into the breach.
"We are following the practice of our founder, Zachary Fisher. We are giving an unrestricted $10,000 to all widows of servicemen, whether it be for college or shelter," said Senior Vice President David Winters.
"The serviceman pays his insurance, gets the papers. It looks good on paper, but it's not working in reality," Winters said.
"We are finding that there is a big disconnect of what spouses left behind should get and what they actually get."
Chelle continues, "Fred and I had simple dreams, like the picket fence.
"The night before he was killed, my daughter, Taylor, who was then 2, was finger-painting. Somehow she looked up and said simply, 'Daddy's in a better place.'
"The next day, she saw through the window the uniformed men walking toward the front door, and she burst into tears without knowing."
Yesterday was the 228th birthday of the Marine Corps, lest we forget.
As far as the wives of fallen heroes are concerned, it looks like someone's already forgotten.
11-11-03, 10:58 AM #2
How could the bond be in someone else name than his daughter?
Here's a place where the words of some politicans might be of use other than to advance their politicals aims.
Take care of the widows of those killed fighting this war on terrorism.
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