There has been an update on the USFallen.org site - "UPDATE: The Governor of OK is working on having this matter resolved. In the meantime, the Director of the Turnpike has agreed to pay the toll himself. It is important they understand it is not about the price, it is about dignity and honor owed to an American warrior and his family, who has paid the ultimate price."
From Cow Pastures to Kosovo:
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Oklahoma Turnpike Authority Denies Free Access to Funeral Procession of Fallen Soldier, PFC Cody BoardUPDATED with a letter to the OK Turnpike Authority from a Gold Star Mother (below the original post).
PFC Cody Board died 4 October 2010 from wounds sustained by an IED. PFC Board grew up in McKinney, TX but was originally from Oklahoma. His family plans to lay him to rest in his native Oklahoma at Fort Sill National Cemetary.
I am DEEPLY disturbed by this article from USFallen dot org that states the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority has denied the funeral procession free access to take PFC Board's body home for his interment. DEEPLY disturbed. The following is posted in an article on their site: "Considering this young warrior has paid the ultimate price you would think his funeral procession would be allowed access free of charge. To our shock and horror, the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority, after repeated requests for an exception, has informed the family they must pay the toll fees."
When I read the article I figured it just could not be true so I called the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority this morning. Everyone I spoke with was nice. HOWEVER, the story is true and that, quite honestly, makes me about as angry as I've been in a long time.
I finally spoke directly with Mr. Jim Hazeldine, Assistant to Director of Turnpike Authority who, well into the conversation, told me he is a Veteran of the Navy. When I said, "Happy Birthday yesterday" he asked if yesterday was the Navy's birthday. I told him it was, in fact, the Navy's 235th birthday. He had no clue.
Mr. Hazeldine said that their hands are tied on this issue. He said that the law states that the only vehicles that are allowed free access are emergency vehicles that are "running hot." He went on to explain that the toll road is not a publically funded road. That it was built with bond funds therefore it is not a public entity and they cannot grant free access.
Cry me a river!
I told Mr. Hazeldine it was a sad day in our nation when the family of a fallen Soldier had to deal with this along with their grief. I added that toll costs should be the LAST thing any family of a fallen HERO should have to worry about or pay PERIOD...
There is MUCH more on this over at From Cow Pastures to Kosovo here.
At this moment I am rendered speechless, except for this one question: What price is more than enough for ANY Gold Star Family to pay?
If you have thoughts you would like to share on this disgraceful issue, there are contacts within the original post here. Have at it.