Retiree council seeks widows

20 Jun 2013 | Cpl. Charlie Clark

The Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune Military Retiree Council Widow Support Committee was scheduled to meet at Craig Hall at the Disabled American Veterans Chapter 16 building located at 300 Sherwood Road, Jacksonville, at press time through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The committee’s plan was to discuss problems widows face after their loved one passes and makes recommendations to the Department of Defense on how to improve the process on a national level.

“We are trying to figure out what the needs of the widowers are,” said Ret. Col. Paul W. O’Toole, a retiree council member. “I’m a realist. We have people on the committee with a lot of experience, but we need people who have been widows since 30 years ago, five years ago and recently, who struggled to find answers to attend the meeting so we can figure out what their needs were and are.”

The term “widow” is meant as the spouse involved and/or the children.

It is not the objective of the support committee to be the standing point of contact for individuals to seek solutions to their specific problems.

In the experience of the retiree council, there are many difficulties for people seeking assistance to their problems, O’Toole said.

During the meeting, the committee planned to discuss how the death of active-duty service members, military retirees, honorably discharged military veterans and civil servicemen and women will affect the families of the deceased.

To identify the problem, committee members are requesting input from the military community.

Examples of both strengths and weaknesses of the process currently in place need to be given.

“We need widows who have lived through this, of course, but we also would like to see families who will face these problems someday,” O’Toole said.

If a sufficient attendance and response is given, a request will be sent to have DOD representatives at a future meeting in the Jacksonville area. If only a minimal response, the committee will not send a request.