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The Chuck Osier Benefits Act

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

In 2015, Chuck Osier, Air Force veteran and Sherrill native, died. His wife, Donna Osier requested a burial marker or medallion from the Department of Veterans Affairs. The paperwork was provided by her husband’s funeral director.

Donna hoped to receive a medallion to go along with her husband’s flag, which would be left in a shadow box and given to their son.

Unfortunately, the VA denied her request and stated that her husband could not be honored with a medallion since he was cremated. After considering her options for a couple of weeks, Donna was frustrated with the VA and could not understand how the VA would refuse to honor a veteran who was honorably discharged during the Vietnam War.

Donna was committed to rectifying the VA’s misdoings, however. “I made Chuck a promise after I received that letter,” Osier said. “And I promised him I was going to fix this, no matter what it took or how long it took.” More than five years later, the Chuck Osier Burial Benefits Act has been included and passed as a part of a larger veterans’ health and benefits act.

The legislation includes provisions that ensures that veterans who do not receive a headstone or burial marker still are provided with an urn or commemorative plaque. This applies to any member of the armed forces that served from April 6th, 1917 to the present.

When Donna Osier was denied commemoration for her husband, she reached out to former Congressman Richard Hanna. With further investigation, it was clear that Osier’s husband was not the only one who had been denied. Donna’s father and brother, both veterans that were cremated, did not received any plaque, urn, or other burial commemoration.

After Richard Hanna retired in 2016, Donna switched gears and began working with Congresswoman Claudia Tenney and Representative Anthony Brindisi. “They took me seriously; they worked hard,” Osier said. “I am just so grateful to both of them for all the help they’ve given me and the support they’ve given me. Without them, it wouldn’t have happened.”

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