Family of Missouri soldier killed in action among those frozen out of death benefits


by staff

Posted on October 9, 2013 at 9:14 AM

Updated Saturday, Jan 4 at 12:18 PM

(KMOV) -- A Missouri family was looking for support after a soldier from Springfield was killed in Afghanistan on Sunday, just two weeks away from returning home to the Ozarks.  

Special Agent Joseph Peters, 24, was the first CID Agent to be killed in the war on terror. He leaves behind his wife, Ashley, and 20-month-old son, Gabriel.

Normally his family would receive $100,000 from the military within 36 hours to help pay for immediate needs. But before the House on Wednesday unanamiously voted to resume paying survivor benefits to the families of slain troops, the Pentagon said during the shutdown it could not give financial assistance to relatives of service members killed in combat.

Military death benefits enable grieving family members to travel to Dover Air Force Base to greet their loved one’s flag-draped casket returning from overseas. The money also helps them pay for the funeral.

But for the Peters family, the money simply wasn't there.

Luckily, there were people like Kara Jarrar, who has set up an online auction called “Operation Support Ashley and Gabriel” to raise money to help the Peters family.

Information on the auction can be found by clicking here.

Others  stepped up, too. Including the Fisher House Foundation, which is dedicated to giving wounded troops and their families a place to stay while they heal, and said it would pay the full $100,000 per family during the shutdown.

Ken Fisher, chairman of the Fisher House Foundation, said, “It was a no-brainer. We needed to bridge the gap not only for the families, but because the government was not doing what it was supposed to do.”

Officials with Fisher House in St. Louis also confirmed they were assisting the Peters family.

Before the House's vote, Ashley Peters released a statement to NBC News regarding the military death benefit.

“My husband died for his country and now his family is left to worry,” she said. “My husband always said, ‘if something happened to him, we would be taken care of.’ I’m a stay-at-home mom, which is what my husband wanted.  He wanted me to take care of our son.”

Read more on Peters’ service and the three others killed on Sunday by clicking here.

CBS News contributed to this report.

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