New program retrieves lost DD 214 forms & needs help for veteran - FOX Carolina 21

New program retrieves lost DD 214 forms & needs help for veteran families

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Ken Frank, a member of the American Legion, understands what it means to be patriotic.

"My grandfather retired from the Army, my father was in the Navy, I was in the Army," Frank said. His son was also a marine.

Frank said serving is in his blood.

An interaction with an Upstate veteran's family would trigger a passion to serve again, even away from the front lines.

"The veteran and his spouse was living on social security alone," said Frank. "They were living on $1,200 a month. That social security got cut in half and she was living on $600 a month."

He explained how the Upstate widow was unable to bury her veteran husband respectfully. Money was a concern but the main issue came down to one piece of paper.

"In 1973, there was a fire in the national archives in St. Louis, Missouri," Frank said.  "That's where all of the military records were stored. There was between 16 and 18 million records that was burned up in that fire."

Frank said one of the millions of documents that burned was that Upstate veteran's DD 214 form.

Military families know this form outlines everything from a veteran's discharge to their awards and medals.

"Without that one form, the funeral homes can't request our services, the military will not bury you and you're leaving that extra burden on top of your family," said Frank. "I began thinking, 'We need to do something about this. We need to help at the end of their lives as well.'"

Frank gathered a team to retrieve and recreate this veteran's DD 214 form and then went a step further.

"We took the burden on of making sure this veteran got exactly what he deserved," Frank said. "We went out to his house and did a military style service."

Frank said these actions won't stop in this veteran's front yard. He and others at the American Legion have created a program to help veterans and their families say their proper goodbyes, when their time comes.

It's a new program Frank said is called Veterans Indigent Care Fund. He is trying to raise the money for those who have put their life on the line. He said a fundraiser will be held starting Saturday morning at the Walmart in Boiling Springs. He has also set up a GoFund Me Page. 

"These people are our heroes," said Frank.

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