Thursday, September 29, 2005

In memory of Paul Fisher

Posted By on Thu, Sep 29, 2005 at 1:10 PM

This is a story with a happy ending. I don't get to write about those every day and wanted to take a moment to share it. It actually involves a politician doing good for the world. Who knew that could happen? A man named Michael Fisher called me a few minutes ago to tell me about the death of his father, Paul Fisher, a veteran. As his father was dying, Michael realized that neither he nor his father could afford costs associated with the proper military burial to which the senior Fisher was entitled. He didn't know how to go about getting it done, particularly without the necessary funds. Michael called all around the country talking to Veterans Affairs people and adjutants general; the bureaucracy, he reports, was overwhelming, and after 200 calls he still couldn't figure out how to get his dad buried in the military cemetery where he belonged after serving his country in uniform. And his dad was dying.

Michael called Senator Frist's office; they were cordial but unhelpful. Finally, at the urging of a local TV reporter, he contacted Rep. Jim Cooper's office. Very quickly, they made some calls. They cut through some red tape. Thanks to the intervention of the Congressman and his staff, Michael says, his father—who died last week—received the burial he deserved.

Michael has been calling media outlets around town to tell this story—which he cannot recount without tearing up—because he feels so grateful to Cooper and his staff for their help. It's a nonpartisan story, as he's quick to point out. It's just a story about government getting something done and restoring dignity where it was lost, about someone taking the time to replace cold bureaucracy with human contact, with decency. And mostly, it's Michael Fisher's way of saying thank you to some people who helped him and his father when they needed it most.

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