October 16, 2013

Sen. Manchin resolved death gratuity issue | Beckley Register Herald


As a retired naval officer, having served 30 years, and now as vice president for community development and public affairs at Fisher House Foundation, I was shocked to see your letter from Jack Bowyer.

Last Tuesday morning, Sen. Joe Manchin contacted Ken Fisher, CEO of Fisher House Foundation, to ask if the Fisher House Foundation would step in and pay the families the death gratuity until the shutdown was resolved. Fisher immediately said yes and the foundation moved forward to make payments to the families.

Sen. Manchin signed a letter to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel that morning offering Fisher House Foundation’s assistance to the Pentagon. The next day the House of Representatives passed a bill that authorized the Pentagon to pay the death gratuity, by Thursday the Senate had passed the bill and by Thursday evening President Obama signed it into law.

The Pentagon is now paying the families. In the meantime, the Fisher House Foundation is offering all 29 families a $25,000 check each to help ease their burden, all thanks to the original phone call from Sen. Manchin.

Sen. Manchin is the reason why this issue was moved to the forefront.

As a West Virginian, I’m from Oak Hill, I am grateful for the intervention offered by Sen. Manchin. He and his team stepped in to resolve a very difficult issue.  

Cindy Campbell, Fisher House Foundation, Rockville, Md.

By:  Letter to the Editor