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After an outpouring of generosity from the American public, Fisher House Foundation officials are sending a $25,000 check to the families of each of the 29 service members who died between Oct. 1 and Oct. 10.
President Barack Obama signed a law on Oct. 10 that allowed the Defense Department to resume the death gratuity payments of $100,000 to each family, to those designated by service members prior to death. Fisher House had volunteered to pay the death gratuity to families of the fallen after the payments were suspended during the government stalemate, and Defense offiicials entered into an agreement, but on the condition that they would reimburse Fisher House after funding was restored.
“Now that assistance is no longer needed, we wish to recognize the families who were impacted by the shutdown,” said Ken Fisher, chairman and CEO of Fisher House Foundation, in a statement announcing the $25,000 donations. “The response from the public during this crisis has been incredible. We wish to pass along the generosity of a grateful nation, to honor their loved ones’ service and sacrifice.”
The donations to the 29 families will total $725,000.
On Thursday, Foundation president Dave Coker said donations to the charity had increased by twenty-fold in the wake of news that they were stepping in to help make the payments.
After the foundation officials found out earlier this week about the lapse in payments, they volunteered to donate $100,000 to each family to replace the death gratuity payments, which were designed to help families pay for expenses related to the funeral that are not government-funded, and other expenses to bridge the gap before government benefit payments start.
Defense officials entered into an agreement with Fisher House Foundation, but would reimburse the foundation after funding was restarted. Before a payment was made, however, legislation was passed, and signed by President Obama to restart the benefits.