Any Gold Star family member can work in a congressional office thanks to this bill

Elizabeth Howe
October 30, 2019 - 12:42 pm
Gold Star Family Bicycle Event


Any Gold Star family member hoping to work in congressional offices will now have that opportunity thanks to legislation sponsored by veteran Rep. Trent Kelly, R-Miss.

The "SFC Sean Cooley and SPC Christopher Horton Congressional Gold Star Family Fellowship Program Act" provides family members of fallen service members with an opportunity to participate in a 12-month long fellowship in the office of a Member of the House of Representatives.  

The bill was named for two such fallen service members.

Army Sgt. 1st Class Sean Cooley was killed by an improvised explosive device in Iraq on Feb. 3, 2005, serving with Operation Iraqi Freedom. Cooley, 35, of Ocean Springs became the 21st soldier with Mississippi ties killed in the war on terror. Cooley was a fellow soldier serving in the Mississippi Army National Guard while both he and Kelly were deployed to Iraq in 2005 where the two became friends.

Army Spc. Christopher Horton of the Oklahoma National Guard was killed by enemy small-arms fire on Sept. 9, 2011, serving with Operation Enduring Freedom. Horton's wife Jane met Kelly at the Army versus Navy game last December where they had the first conversation about what would become the Fellowship Program Act.

“Over this past year, I have been humbled by the strength and conviction of the Gold Star families I have worked with to get The Sergeant First Class Sean Cooley and Specialist Christopher Horton Congressional Gold Star Family Fellowship Program Act passed in Congress. I believe there is no greater responsibility as a Member of Congress than ensuring that our service members and their families are appropriately cared for," Kelly said.

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