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Fort Hood charity tight-lipped about $1M collected

Nov. 4, 2013 - 10:19AM   |  
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KILLEEN, TEXAS — A charity that collected $1 million after the Fort Hood shooting rampage says it’s trying to distribute the money before the year’s end but won’t say how the remainder will be spent.

The vice president of the Central Texas-Fort Hood chapter of the Association of the U.S. Army said in April that it had raised $1 million after the 2009 shooting that left 13 dead and more than 30 people wounded.

But officials wouldn’t tell the Killeen Daily Herald how much money they have now or what they will do with the rest of it.

“There have been documented examples of unscrupulous individuals who were not impacted by the shootings attempting to take advantage of victims of the tragedy,” charity spokesman Bill Parry said in a statement. “Therefore, to avoid recurrence of those types of actions toward the victims and/or their family members, the chapter leadership has determined it is prudent not to discuss the amount of money remaining in the fund.”

Four years after the shootings, the gunman has been convicted and sentenced to death. But many of Nidal Hasan’s victims say they’re still dealing with injuries from the shooting and a lack of recognition of their struggles. Some have been unable to find work. A lawsuit filed by victims against the federal government remains pending in federal court.

Parry said AUSA wants all of the money to go directly to victims and their families, and to eventually document how the money was used.

Retired Staff Sgt. Alonzo Lunsford, who was shot seven times by Hasan, said AUSA paid $500 stipends to witnesses for food and travel during the August court martial.

AUSA also helped him bring family to town soon after the shooting, he told the newspaper.

“It was a financial strain,” Lunsford said. “All those soldiers had their back against the wall, and I was one of them.”

Joleen Cahill, the widow of Michael Cahill, one of the 13 slain, said AUSA helped repair her car shortly before the trial. Both Joleen Cahill and Lunsford would testify during the proceedings.

“(AUSA) actually helped with that a lot because it was not a cheap deal,” she said. “It really helped me, and I did not expect it.”

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