Women of Strength- A Marine Corps Widow's Fight for What's Right...
As some of you know, Kallie Shoes’ concept started in my tiny laundry room, while my family and I were stationed in Beaufort, SC. My husband was part of a training command at that time on Marine Corps Recruiting Depot, Parris Island. Our concept is not only to provide affordable, comfortable and cruelty-free women’s footwear. However, part of our mission is to empower other women through our brand. Back in January, we started the Women of Strength blog, so we could share stories of remarkable women within our communities.
It was no accident that I came across a Facebook status of a Marine Corps widow, Mrs. Elizabeth Davis. Now, I don’t necessarily believe in coincidences; instead, I strongly believe we connected because it is not only important that she shares her mission but it is also necessary. Mrs. Davis has graciously accepted to share her story, and I am please asking you to please support this cause. You will find instructions at the bottom of the blog on how you can help.
It was so early in the morning that the sun had not risen when a knock was delivered on the front door of our quaint little home in Carlsbad, California. At 0458 on Saturday November 8, 2014 my husband’s best friend, and brother in arms, stood at my door to deliver the news that no military spouse ever wants to hear. Matt had been killed hours earlier the night before. Everything was falling apart around me. My family, like so many other military families, were cross country far away. Upon notification my father was on the next plane and my multi generational Marine Corps family dropped everything to be at my side immediately. Of all the many questions that would follow, one stood out. Who would tell our daughter and son that they no longer had a father? Our family was torn apart in an instant. I was devastated to say the very least. Shattered, but some how not broken. I knew I had the duty to protect the legacy Matt had entrusted to me. From the first weeks following that knock, I knew something big was brewing to honor his sacrifice.
#1. Tell us about your mission:
Going to bed a wife, and waking up a widow shifted my life and ultimately my goals and purpose. My mission became to shelter my fellow sisters in widowhood from unnecessary pain. As we healed it became apparent that many of the freedoms American’s enjoy, paid for in our husbands blood, were not extended to us. Due to several policy oversights many of us widows would not be cared for as our husbands were reassured we would. Change had to happen, and I had to find a place to start.
#2. What is the Love Lives On Act?
In March a fellow widow reached out asking me to testify to congress regarding a draft bill. I excitedly agreed without hesitation. This was right up my alley as I had dealt with Virginia legislation and had the opportunity to speak at a town hall with the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Neller. The bill short, sweet, and to the point, had aptly been named “Love Lives On”, formally recognized as HR5059. Love Lives On is a bill seeking repeal of current legal stipulations limiting a military widows right to remarry without risk of losing the very securities we paid for with all of our tomorrows. As it stands right now military widows are financially penalized by loss of benefits if they remarry before 55, and oddly enough, if they don’t remarry by 57. In a very antiquated and draconian policy, request for repeal seemed fitting. However, it has not garnered the support needed and hoped for by the Chairman of the DAMA Committee, Congressman Jeff Miller.
#3. How will the actions of DAMA Committee impact the families of the fallen and families of disabled veterans and retirees?
Support of Love Lives On through the DAMA committee allows families the ability to heal, and the possibility to be whole again, without having to sacrifice financial security. It shows our children of the fallen that service and sacrifice still have meaning and are deserving of respect from our great nation. It impacts widows of active duty, disabled, and retired veterans, all of which are placed on a fixed income after the loss of their spouse. Its a family issue that rates the attention and utmost respect of our elected officials.
#4. How can we help and support families like yours?
The biggest forms of support that our small, but important and unfortunately growing, military widow community needs are outreach. Governments don’t work without constituent participation, and policies don’t change without government intervention. Reach out. Write, email, call. Ask for Chairman Miller and your congressional representation to support Love Lives On. We as widows have given so much already, and deserve the right to chose love and a home with two parents for our children without risk of financial prosecution and punishment.
Here's how YOU can help families like Mrs. Davis'
Contact Chairman Miller, here's his contact information. E-mail/call/write letters if necessary, whichever way of communication you choose will help. This is about what's doing right. We owe so much to families like Mrs. Davis; we can't turn our backs on them.
Chairman Miller's contact:
336 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Emails may be sent to his legislative assistant as well at: Rodney.firstname.lastname@example.org