Last year, Special Ops Survivors announced support of proposed bipartisan bill H.R. 2531 Military Spouses Achieving College Education for Survivors (ACES) Act, which would expand the time limit allowed for surviving spouses to utilize benefits from the Fry Scholarship. If signed into law, the new legislation would directly impact educational benefits for Special Ops Survivors clients.

The Fry Scholarship, named in honor of Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry who lost his life in 2006, was originally created for children of fallen military personnel. Scholarships benefits were extended to surviving spouses in August 2014 and went into effect on January 1, 2015, but included a time limit to utilize the benefits. The law cuts off Fry Scholarship eligibility for surviving spouses 15 years following the date of the service member’s death, putting those who lost their loved one shortly after 9/11 at a disadvantage.

The expansion proposed by this legislation is estimated to use $30 million (approximately $6 million per year for five years) of funding that has already been allocated and allow our nation to honor its commitment to the families of military personnel who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

Special Ops Survivors is encouraging its community of surviving spouses and supporters and those wishing to support the military community to call or write letters to their U.S. Senators and Representatives in support of this legislation.

Letters of support can be sent to your U.S. Senators and Representatives or directly to Senator John McCain and Mitch McConnell. A sample letter is below.

Contact information:

Senator Mitch McConnell
317 Russell State Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Senator John McCain
241 Russell State Office Building
Washington, DC 20510


Senator John McCain
241 Russell State Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Senator McCain,

Contained within Section 401 of the Veterans First Act is a provision to expand the eligibility time frame for the early post-9/11 surviving spouses to utilize the Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship.

I am a supporter of Special Ops Survivors, an organization that embraces and empowers surviving spouses of fallen Special Operations personnel killed in training or action since 1980. We know how vital supporting educational benefits can be to grieving, yet brave, widows and widowers, who have already sacrificed so greatly.

This year Special Ops Survivors saw an increase in those seeking services in the area of education and career advancement. We know firsthand how important these educational benefits are to surviving spouses, some of whom are single parents, to be able to better themselves and gain the education that will help them provide for themselves and their families. To some it could be helping their family become self-sufficient, for others it could be completing a dream that was derailed when they lost their hero but to all it should be their right as families of the fallen.

You are in a position to ensure passage of these provisions so that we do not leave behind the spouses of our fallen heroes. I hope we can count on your endorsement to ensure that these resilient and deserving spouses can continue to take positive steps forward on their post-loss journey.


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