There are many villains linked to the federal government shutdown and few heroes. The biggest champion to emerge from the senseless political chaos is the Fisher House Foundation.
The charitable group founded in 1990 by New York City real estate tycoon Ken Fisher stepped in today to offer full death benefits, including a $100,000 gratuity payment, to the families of U.S. soldiers killed in action.
The Pentagon will reimburse the Foundation, once House Speaker John Boehner ends the disgraceful shutdown.
Secretary of Defense John Hagel said in a statement that FHF approached him with the offer within the last 24 hours. He said FHF "generously offered to make payments to these families from its own funds. In consultation with the Office of Management and Budget, DoD has determined that we can enter into a contract with the Fisher House Foundation to provide these benefits. The Fisher House Foundation will provide the families of the fallen with the benefits they so richly deserve."
Hagel also hit the right note when he said of the shutdown: "I am offended, outraged, and embarrassed that the government shutdown had prevented the Department of Defense from fulfilling this most sacred responsibility in a timely manner."
For its part, FHF said: "After losing a loved one in service to our nation, these families should not have to endure more pain as the result of political squabbling."
The charity runs a network of comfort houses built on military bases and the grounds of VA hospitals for family members of soldiers hospitalized for an injury, illness or disease. The families stay free of charge. FHF says it has saved families an estimated $200M in lodging and transportation expenses.
The Hagel/FHF statement came as the bodies of four soldiers arrived at Dover Air Base. A transfer ceremony attended by Hagel and Army Secretary John McHugh was held for the solders that were killed in Afghanistan on Oct. 6.
Those American heroes shame the political clowns in Washington.