Friday, December 10, 2004

Army takes action on soldier (12/10/04)

Army takes action on soldier
Family sets up benefit fund

By Dianna Cahn
Times Herald-Record

LIVE CHAT: Join reporter Dianna Cahn and Christine Loria, wife of Spc. Robert Loria today at 6:30 for a live chat.

Previous story: He lost an arm in Iraq; the Army wants money

Middletown – Outrage over Army Spc. Robert Loria's struggle to get home after losing his arm in service for his country prompted the Army today to take action.
Responding to pressure from Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-Saugerties, and U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY, the Army said it would release Loria on medical discharge beginning immediately, both men said.
The Army has also agreed to waive most of the debt against Loria and to help him file proper paperwork for the rest of it.
Aides to Hinchey and Schumer said the Army was going to forgive the $2,408 in excess Family Separation allowance the military erroneously paid Loria as well as a $310 charge for equipment issued to Loria that was damaged or lost in the attack in Iraq. And the Army was also going to help Loria refile his travel papers to make sure he does not get saddled with paying back advance travel money used to travel from the base at Fort Hood, Texas, to a follow-up visit to Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
"The Congressman was pleased that the Army recognized its mistakes and has worked to fix those," said Dan Ahouse, Hinchey's aide. "However, a man who has made such an extreme sacrifice for his country should never have been in this situation to begin with. This situation begs the question of how many other Spc. Lorias are there?"
Schumer, speaking to the Times Herald-Record, said he was outraged when he heard of Loria's predicament.
"It broke my heart. I was both sad and angry," Schumer said. "The first thing is to help him, and then to see if it is happening to anybody else."
An outpouring also came from people across our region and across the country. A fund is being set up by the Loria family for all those offering assistance as Loria tries to rebuild his life after such an ordeal. The Times Herald-Record will publish that as soon as the fund is established.

Benefit Fund for Robert Loria
Bank of New York
440 route 211 East
Middletown, NY 10940


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