Esty introduces bill for stamp to support families of fallen service members

Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-Cheshire, introduced the bill with a Republican congressman from California who hails from Meriden, Conn.

Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-Cheshire, introduced the bill with a Republican congressman representing California who hails from Connecticut.

Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-Cheshire, is asking the government to create a convenient way for the public to give money to programs that support families of fallen service members.

Esty joined Rep. Paul Cook, R-Calif. – a Vietnam War veteran and Meriden, Conn. native – to introduce the bill Friday that calls on the U.S. Postal Service to issue a stamp that honors military loved ones. Money used to buy the stamps, which would be available for four years starting no more than a year after enactment, would go toward organizations that support grieving families.

“Those willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for their country deserve to know that we will support and care for their loved ones they leave behind,” Esty said in a release.

Proceeds would go to the United Service Organizations, Inc., which offers travel assistance and information about coping programs to families that come to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, the first stop on U.S. soil for troops who lost their lives in the line of duty.

The other half of the funds would go to USO’s partner organization Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors. TAPS organizes support groups for parents, spouses and significant others and camps for children.

Esty was moved to introduce the bill after she met families who lost loved ones at a Veterans of Foreign Wars center in Waterbury, Conn. over Memorial Day weekend, she said in the release. A Vietnam War veteran and former Marine named Joe Nolan, who lost his son in Iraq about 10 years ago, gave her the idea to create a special stamp.

Esty said the stamp would commemorate service members who have died and “help show their families that our country will be there for them when they need us most.”

Nolan, who worked to create the Gold Star Family license plate in Connecticut, said in the release that he has lobbied the Postal Service for years to make the stamp.

“The stamp would not only keep their memories alive, but it would also spread awareness to those who may not be familiar with the Gold Star symbol,” he said. “Our country needs to know the cost of war.”

Brianna Gurciullo