On Monday I read this post on GAP and was immediately sick to my stomach and heartbroken
that this could be happening. I contacted Julie and she gave me permission to post this here:
As many of you know Schuyler Patch who was KIA on 02/24/09 was from my family. When Sky's mom called the VA to inquire about his death benefits from the state (he was National Guard, Illinois) she was told the State of Illinois does not have the money to pay right now, maybe next fiscal year!! This is totally unacceptable and I am asking everyone to write the Governor to see that this is taken care of. Following is the link to the Governors page where you can email him or send a letter. There is also a link to the White House and Our President.
I have also attached the letter I wrote, so feel free to copy and paste, or write your own. I know Sky's family is not the only family going through this horrible loss, then compounded by Government disrespect and errors. I am asking anyone who reads this to send a letter and pass it on to family and friends. We need to make sure that no Soldiers family be put through this after their child gave their life!!
Office of the Governor
207 State House
Springfield, IL 62706
Dear Governor Quinn,
On March 7th of this year you attended the funeral of Sergeant Schuyler Patch, in Kewanee, Illinois. In your speech you spoke of him being a hero and his honorable service to The United States and the Illinois National Guard. Schuyler died in Afghanistan while serving in the National Guard from Kewanee, Illinois, and now his parents are being told by the VA that due to the budget crisis in Illinois that the death benefits for the parents of the Solider Killed in Action are not being paid now, but they will be issued an IOU!
This is a complete disregard to not only Schuylers' memory, but to any Soldier who has Volunteered to serve their country in a time of war. How dare the State of Illinois tell grieving parents, "Sorry you Soldier was killed in action, but we can't pay for the sacrifice of your Son/Daughter."
On behalf of the family of Sgt. Schuyler Patch and any other Soldier who has or will givetheir life for their country we insist that this insult and complete lack of respect to all Soldiers be rectified immediately, In addition an apology to the families who have been denied death benefits should be issued without delay.
I certainly hope to hear that this is given a priority status and that the State of Illinois is remorseful for causing heartbroken parents more agony in addition to the loss of their Soldier.
"He heard freedom's call," Army Chaplain (Capt.) Jon Prain told more than 1,000 mourners who filled a school gym for Patch's funeral in Kewanee, Ill. "He paid freedom's price. Sgt. Patch could have stayed home. Instead, once again, he volunteered to go."
This having been said it is a small price for the State of Illinois to give parents death benefits when their child paid the ultimate price of their life. This is not about money which will never bring Schuyler home again, but about doing the right thing!!
Proud Mom of a U.S. Army Soldier