(December 6, 2012)
An outpouring of public monetary donations to the Midland, TX “Show of Support/Hunt for Heroes” non-profit organization following a tragic train crash during a parade for wounded veterans and their wives November 15, when a Union Pacific freight train smashed into a semi-trailer truck being used as a parade float upon which the honorees were riding, killing four wounded warriors and injuring 17 more veterans and spouses, will all be distributed among the victims or their survivors.
Since the tragedy, over $400,000 has been collected via various fund raisers and donations received from the city, the state, and nationwide, including some from the victims themselves.
When the size of the total gifts was realized, Show of Support contacted New York attorney Kenneth Feinberg, who was instrumental in the development of a plan for distribution of benefits among the victims of the 2001 9-11 terrorist attacks. Feinberg offered his services to the “Show of Support” organization free of charge.
“We are donating one hundred percent of all the money that has been collected to help those healing during this difficult time,” said Terry Johnson, president and founder of the non-profit organization that honors injured military veterans and their wives yearly with a banquet and an all-expense paid deer hunt. “We can’t say ‘thank you’ enough for the outpouring of support from the Midland community and the nation, and we want these funds to be with the victims and their families as quickly as possible.”
“Mere compensation in any amount can never replace lives lost or bring satisfaction to those physically injured,” said Feinberg, adding that “It is merely an effort by fellow citizens to come to the financial aid of those in distress.”
The organization plans to distribute the funds December 17, with 60% of the total funds to be equally divided among the families of the deceased veterans, and the remaining 40% to be distributed among the injured through allocating amounts based upon the number of days each spent in the hospital. Even those who were treated and released will be credited with a half-day’s hospitalization benefit each.
Acceptance of the benefits should have no bearing whatsoever upon awards made by the courts in anticipated legal actions by injured vets or the families of the deceased.