By Betsy Rosenblatt Rosso
Nine year-old Jacob* was living in Connecticut with his mom when he learned his dad had died. He hadn’t seen his dad, a Navy Chief stationed in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in a long time. Jacob’s parents had split up, and he lived with his mom.
Thanks to Casualty Assistance Calls Officers (CACOs) in Connecticut and Hawaii, and the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, Jacob and his mom flew to Hawaii for his dad’s memorial service. Jacob’s mom couldn’t afford food and lodging for the trip, so NMCRS also provided money for those expenses.
Because Jacob’s dad’s new wife was living in Florida, his dad’s funeral was held there. The CACO arranged for Jacob and his mom to fly 1,000 miles south, and NMCRS again provided the funds for Jacob and his mom to attend his father’s funeral.
“Jacob’s mom didn’t know about the benefits Jacob was entitled to as a surviving military dependent,” said Evelyn Liberty-Topliff, director of NMCRS Groton. “We made sure Jacob got a dependent ID card, and referred his mom to the local Gold Star coordinator,” a resource available to children whose parent dies while serving on active duty.
NMCRS is committed to meeting the needs of military children. “We made sure he had winter clothes, and we helped them with rent, utility bills, and car insurance,” said Liberty-Topliff. “They were grateful.”
Retired Major General Carl Jensen, USMC, Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer for the Society, seconds how vital this work is. “Helping military families through their financial crises is important work—made possible by the volunteers who serve and the donors who support the Society. Jacob got to say good-bye to his father. And that memory is priceless.”
* e name has been changed.