The Deployment Diary

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Please Help Get the Word Out...

I just saw this on Neil Cavuto and it's such important legislation for our servicemembers AND their families. Please visit the links below to learn more - then email family and friends the information, share it on your blog, post it on military spouse sites you may visit... Most importantly, email, call and write via snail mail your elected officials to let them know you support this legislation and expect them to not only support it, but to make it happen ASAP!!

When a soldier is severely injured, most end up at one of the larger military medical centers which can be hundreds or thousands of miles away from their family and their home. Just imagine if your soldier was badly burned, had lost limbs or had a spinal injury - the worry and heartache you'd be experiencing. Not only are you distraught, you want to get to your loved one as quickly as possible.

However, due to the injury(ies), he's being retired out of the service. You are already on a tight budget with full military pay. Devastating injuries or not, sooner rather than later, you have to weigh your family's livelihood with your being by your loved one's side as he/she faces the toughest battle off all - the road to recovery.

I know I'd drop everything to be by my husband's side, however the truth is, at some point, the hotel costs, meals, our bills at home - I'd have to make a painful decision about our financial situation before he is discharged from the hospital. We'd need a home for him to come home to and I'd have to get a job to help support us - as his retirement pay would not at this point in our lives. I just cannot begin to imagine the heartache these families are going through as they have to leave their loved one, alone in a hospital, to come home to keep the family financially afloat.

In comes a national hero, awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star with a V, SSG Ryan Kelly, who understands these problems (and others) first hand. Thanks to SSG Kelly, the financial stresses families are facing on top of the horrific injuries their loved ones have suffered, could soon be a thing of the past.

The Wounded Warrior Project is advocating for legislation to create a Service Member’s Group Disability Insurance (SGDI) program, similar to the existing Servicemen’s Group Life Insurance (SGLI). Through this program, severely injured soldiers will receive a large lump sum payment upon their injury, allowing them to concentrate more fully on their recovery and transition back into civilian life rather than on the financial hardships they and their families face during this period.

Landmark Legislation Proposed by Wounded Warriors And Adopted by Senate Would Help Severely Injured Servicemembers
Measure will be retroactive to October 7, 2001 – the start of Operation Enduring Freedom (Washington, DC) – April 21, 2005 -- Severely injured servicemembers and their families will see their burdens eased by new legislation sponsored by U.S. Senator Larry Craig (R-Idaho) and adopted today by his colleagues. The Craig amendment will provide between $25,000 and $100,000 to severely injured military personnel, depending on the severity of their injury, whether wounded in combat or elsewhere. All Active Duty personnel who choose to participate in the military’s life insurance program will pay $1 a month for the coverage as part of their Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance. An additional amendment offered by Sen. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) will make Craig's measure retroactive to the start of Operation Enduring Freedom, which began in Afghanistan on October 7, 2001. Both the Craig and DeWine amendments were adopted by voice vote, as part of an $81 billion emergency supplemental to fund ongoing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. It must still be approved by the House of Representatives. Craig, who serves as chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, said that it was the help of the Bush Administration and Ranking Member Daniel Akaka which helped put the measure over the top. "Two days ago we held a press conference with both the Secretary of Veterans Affairs and the Under Secretary of Defense who expressed their solid support for this effort. Their unwavering backing helped me quickly convince my colleagues that this is the right thing to do," said Craig.

Also, consider donating to their Backpack Program. From their website:
OUR BACKPACK PROGRAM provides much needed comfort items such as toiletries and other personal goods. It is visible on the faces of these heroes that they know their fellow citizens and veterans care about them and appreciate their bravery and courage.

By following the link above, you can view a list of items that are placed in the backpacks that they give to our injured servicemembers. When they arrive at the hospital, all they have is the uniform they are wearing. Receiving items like these is extremely helpful and is desperately needed. Please consider donating to the cause.

If you can't donate money for a backpack, consider another way to help our wounded:
Purchase a phone card and mail it to:
Medical Family Assistance Center
Walter Reed Medical Center
6900 Georgia Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20307-5001

Long distance calls are not paid for by the military, so our injured cannot call home unless they have a phone card. The number one request of patients at Walter Reed is phone cards. Just think if we all purchased a $10 or $20 phone card and mailed it - what a difference we could make in the lives of the very people we owe our freedom to!

Thank you for reading and please pass this info along! No need for a link back to me, just link to WWP's site. I'm not interested in anything other than this information being passed along so those in Washington know, without a doubt, we expect this to be passed :)!

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