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Support For Families of Fallen Soldiers

By: Justin Williams
By: Justin Williams

"My husband was in an accident—he died July 1st, 2004, in Mosul, Iraq," says Kathy Martin, as Penny Splinter continues, "And my husband died December 24th, 2003, in Sumara, Iraq, in a roadside bombing."

Their stories are similar.

"I just had to set my sights on—on my job and tryin' as best I could …go through life in some type of a normal fashion—hard to do—I mean, you wake up some mornings—you don't have any strength in you legs…you don't feel like goin' to work," recalls Michael Hunt.

And, today, their stories are shared.

Anthony Hardie, of Wisconsin's Department of Veteran's Affairs explains, "These families are coming together, reaching out to each other, and what an act of courage it is to be here today when it's been an awfully difficult experience dealing with their loss."

Dozens of Wisconsin families gathered at Madison's Concourse Hotel today...for the BEING THERE, REACHING OUT event, which aims to provide support to families of troops who have died during battle in Iraq or Afghanistan.

"Bereavement is a very unique process and a lot of people feel like they don't fell like they have the voice...and have been kind of glossed over—so it's just nice that these families are being honored," says David Pelis, of Milwaukee's Veteran Center.

Sponsored by the Vietnam Vets of America, REACHING OUT provides the families access to a generation of past war veterans…whom they can utilize for support and guidance…as they, themselves, join the community of veterans.

Michael sums it up. "A lotta people say, “I'm sorry about your son…I have no idea how you feel,” and…they're right. The only people who really do are people who've experienced the same thing."

For information on services available to veterans and their families…1–800–Wis–Vets.


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