June 14, 2005
A tale of two widows
Cassandra recently wrote of Kathy Trent, a Jersey Girl whose husband died at the WTC on September 11, 2001. She collected over five million from the Federal Victim Compensation Fund and from family and friends. She's now down to her last half million, according to this news report:
Between spending $1.5 million on tripling the size of her suburban New York home, adding a basketball court, a volleyball court,a hot tub, and a heated pool,Trent managed to spend $500,000 in shoes,$5,000 Gucci and Capelli gowns, and Fendi and Judith Leiber handbags, that also go for $5,000 per bag.
Contrast Trant's story with another widow, Amanda Ries, whose husband was killed last year in Iraq battling the same forces that were responsible for the death of Trant's husband.
SSgt David Ries had already served one deployment, didn't have to go back, but he volunteered to join his brother Marines from the 6th ESB. Just weeks later, he was killed during the Battle of Fallujah by an IED blast as his convoy returned to base after resupplying forward units. And Mandy, who was bathing her children when the knock came at her door and who received far less in military death benefits than the millions lavished on Kathy Trant, responded as Marine wives have throughout the years. She remains a Key Volunteer for the 6th ESB. I saw her twice in May. The first time was at a welcome home dinner for the Marines who served with her husband. Mandy should have been welcoming her husband home. Instead, she set aside her grief to help with the dinner, helping to coordinate a heroes welcome for those who made it back. A few weeks later, she arranged a get-together at a local pizza parlor, leaving her own children with a babysitter so that she could support the Marine families of the 6th ESB. On Sunday, she was at Oaks Park in Portland, wearing her red KV shirt, helping with the annual Family Day festivities.
Kathy Trant said, "I want my husband back." Well, so does Mandy. And hundreds of other Gold Star wives, mothers, and families who chose to reach out of their grief to make a better world for the living. Gold Star wives aren't faced with the problem of building additional closets for $5,000 Versace gowns. Their idea of a fashion statement is a t-shirt that proclaims their identity as a Marine family. And they have more immediate concerns . . . where to move when they leave military housing? What kind of job will allow them to care for children who miss their daddy just as much as Trant's children who will come into their own $800,000 trust funds some day?
Two widows. Two stories. Amanda Ries has my utmost respect for her courage and selflessness and her story deserves to be heard as well.
Posted by Deb at June 14, 2005 01:43 PM
Re: Mrs. Trant. How incredibly disgusting! I've absolutely no other (printable) words! Disgusting is the only thing that comes to mind.
Posted by: Linda at June 15, 2005 01:45 PM
Thanks for posting this. I get so mad sometimes I'm just incoherent. Gen. Mattis told a story a while back about a Marine wife who lost her husband in a helo crash in Afghanistan. When the guys came back to reequip, she came out with brownies to see them back off - she was newly berieved and I can't imagine how hard that must have been for her, seeing all those guys with their wives and kids.
But she didn't think about herself. She thought about others.
Amazing. Just amazing. I am humbled, sometimes by what I see in these young women.
Posted by: Cassandra at June 16, 2005 06:40 AM
I need to learn to control my anger with these self absorbed 911 Widows and widowers. Amanda's story definitely moisened my eyes. Talk about strength of character and perseverence. She's it. Give her my best for she is someone to honor.
Posted by: toni at June 16, 2005 12:38 PM
Sorry - tried to do a TB and it was rejected. Her Fred the same thing happened with your blog this morning. Is it something with MT maybe?
Posted by: toni at June 16, 2005 12:48 PM
I think that your anger and frustration is directed at the wrong people. It's really no ones
business what people choose to do with their money, though I understand the waste of it all and yes charitable causes should always be given money and funds for soldiers wives, children and education must be funded. There should be no question who pays for this, the government!!!! Has anyone ever asked if George, Condi, Donald or any of them donate money to the cause (they are all multi-millionaires by the way). Maybe, If they had been doing their jobs in the first place none of this would have ever happened.
Also, on the flip side of this story I have a friend who lost his partner of 25 years in the WTC and since this country chooses to be narrow minded on what makes a family he got nothing, lost his home, car and dignity. Luckily with the help of friends he has made it through. In light of all this he moved out of the country to Canada
and works for peaceful tomorrows.
I always wonder why we tell our children that revenge and hate is not acceptable when our government automatically fights fire with fire and then spouts democracy for everyone when we do not have a true democracy for all at home, very sad.
Posted by: Bill Shea at June 20, 2005 07:29 AM
She is truly an inspiration to a fellow military wife like myself. I too hope I can be just as strong for my hubby and all his fellow marines.
Posted by: Tammy Oliver at June 21, 2005 08:54 AM
I don't think what Ms. Trant did was right by any means. I also donated money to various 9/11 funds and it certainly wasn't to pay for spa visits and $20,000 pool tables. But a part of me still feels a great deal of compassion for Kathy Trant. Some people cope better than others and are able to find it in themselves to reach out and help others. But some find relief in what we perceive to be selfish behaviors, but are coping mechanisms. Grief is a tricky thing. I know plenty of people grieve and don't get 5 million dollars to blow through and she was wrong, but it really is a behavior pattern/addiction compulsion not unlike drugs or alcohol. The article says most of the shoes have never been worn, dresses with tags on them. She didn't buy these things to indulge herself, she bought them to try to stimulate some pleasure, some relief. And buying can provide a euphoric feeling. I don't think this is just the case of a spoiled housewife indulging herself, I think she's in pain and trying to find a way to make it stop and millions of dollars later is realizing no pair of shoes - or 50 - is going to do it.
Posted by: Bella at June 21, 2005 02:58 PM