Co-Chairs of Government Relation Committee
Donna Eldridge and Chris Kinnard
Donna Eldridge’s introduction, as a new military wife, began at FT Rucker with numerous tours of duty in Europe, as well as stateside assignments, from California to DC. They were fortunate to have a son born while stationed in California. He has brought much joy and happiness to their family. This wonderful journey came to an end, when her husband, Colonel Bo Eldridge, passed due to a service connected cause. Donna is an active member of Gold Star Wives’ of America, Potomac Area Chapter, in Northern Virginia, where she serves as President. She has been a member of the Government Relations Committee for the last three years. Donna feels fortunate to have had the opportunity to serve as a high school administrator, working with and learning from the outstanding teenagers of today. It is with honor that she gives back to the community through volunteering, in numerous organizations, supporting the military and military families.
Chris Kinnard has been a member Gold Star Wives of America, Inc. since 1970, following the death of her husband. She is the widow of Spec. James Kinnard who was killed in action while serving in Viet Nam. Along with a few other young widows, she re-started the San Diego Chapter of GSW and hosted the National Convention of 1971. As she was pregnant at the time of Jim’s death, Chris faced the challenges of single parenthood along with the devastation at the loss of her husband. Chris has always been passionate about helping others, choosing to serve her community as a Registered Dietitian in local hospitals, nursing homes, VA facilities, and on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Browning, Montana. She has been a member of the GRC for the last 2 years and is currently the treasurer of her local GSW Chapter, Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado Springs.
About the Committee:
The purpose of the Government Relations Committee (GRC) is to improve and maintain a positive, working relationship of Gold Star Wives with Congress, while keeping members informed of impor-tant legislative issues pertaining to surviving spouses and their families. GRC is comprised of volunteers from all regions of the GSW Organization who wish to help further the Committee’s goals.
The GRC provides both oral and written testimony to Congressional committees regarding benefits for both survivors and their families when requested. We also work with VSO’s to jointly support the improvement of benefits for Veterans as well as for surviving spouses and their children. We are striving to create a more informed community of GSW Members through social media, the GSW web-site, mail outs, and the quarterly newsletter. Questions, concerns and ideas regarding our benefits are welcomed and encouraged from all members of GSW.
During the past year GRC has provided written testimony for the Senate Veterans Affair Committee hearing on pending legislation within the Senate. GRC also has provided written and oral testimony for the Committee on Armed Services Military Personnel Subcommittee for the House of Representatives regarding SBP/DIC offset. We are actively seeking Co-Sponsors to vote for and sup-port the passage of three bills that pertain to survivor benefits: H.R. 2539 DIC Increase, H.R. 1594 Repeal of SBP/DIC Offset, and S. 979 Repeal of SBP/DIC Offset. Preparations are currently being made to testify before the Joint House and Senate Committees on Veterans Affairs in March.
The other GRC members are Misty Brammer, Jeanette Early, Sandy Luhnow and Pat Collins Miller.
To contact Donna and Chris with questions or ideas for the GRC, check your 2016-2017 Directory Gold Star Wives of America, Inc.
South East: Nancy Peppers