Soldier’s fundraiser held even under clouds of doubt
By 03/22/2007 00:00:00
ENNIS - Army Specialist Jason McCully's fundraiser was held even though a cloud of doubt about his need hovered over the event.
A proclamation read by Waxahachie Mayor Joe Jenkins naming March 17 as Jason McCully Day, an escort by the Patriot Guard Riders while being transported in a limousine to the Knights of Columbus hall in Ennis, a spaghetti dinner, auction and raffle was conducted to help out this soldier and his family who claim to only receive $700-$800 dollars a month from the military.
About a hundred caring and giving people showed up to participate and hand out money to help the McCully's with living expenses.
Several organizations donated items to be auctioned off and given away so the McCully's would have funds to assist them in their reported time of need.
Twyla Choate and Stephanie Brown from Soldiers Angels, an organization whose main purpose is to write letters to soldiers serving overseas, presented McCully with a check for a $1,000 after reading about him in the Dallas Morning News.
A local author, Troy D. Young, brought copies of his published book to be handed out to anyone who donated $5 or more to the McCully's.
Other generous citizens walked up to McCully to slip him an envelope in hopes it would help.
Bands played as Mc-Cully drank beers with his friends and watched on as the donations rolled in.
It did not matter to these fine folks of Ellis County there were possibly discrepancies in his story.
It didn't matter the Public Affairs office in Fort Carson, Co. said McCully was currently on active duty and should be receiving his full pay for his rank and time in service.
'He (McCully) is definitely on active duty and should be receiving his full pay,' said Doug Rule of the public affairs office at Ft. Carson, Co.
It didn't matter the pay he was reportedly receiving was much less than the $1,883.10 a month a single Army Spc. makes according to military.com and McCully was married with dependents which means it should have been more or the fact his family was also reportedly receiving approximately $740 in child support each month for three of the children which amounts to about $2,623.10.
Rule said, 'If he is not receiving his full pay he needs to contact his unit's pay office and get this corrected.'
Rule went on to explain child support, car payments, garnishments, or any variety of allotments may affect a soldier in McCully's position from getting his full pay.
It didn't matter the Veterans Administration cannot help him until he is discharged even though he could file for disability before his discharge so it could possibly begin the day after his discharge.
'A soldier must be discharged before they can receive any benefits from the VA but a soldier can file for those benefits before they are discharged so it can be activated the day after their discharge,' said Charlie Thomas Morley from the public affairs department of the VA regional office in Waco.
Rule saying, 'McCully would be medically retired no later than June,' which means he could begin receiving these benefits all soldiers receive.
The hard work put in by Denise Smotek and her caring attitude for this family along with the Patriot Guard Riders and others made for a beautiful benefit for the McCully family and no matter what the truth may be, the community of Ellis County helped out a soldier who said he was in need.
Even Representative Joe Barton got involved by donating a flag and writing thank you letters to some of the organizers of this benefit but was not involved in the McCully case any more than the donation and thank you letter.
'We have not worked on any case for him (McCully) because they have not requested it,' said Ron Wright from Barton's office.
It truly did not matter McCully has threatened to sue everyone involved in the recent article published in The Ellis County Press questioning the reports published in the Ennis Daily News, Waxahachie Daily Light, Dallas Morning News or the television reports on CBS channel 11.
Attorney Rodney Ramsey said he did not know why so many people were coming against this soldier who served his country and was currently working on the possible lawsuit for the McCully's.
The facts are out there and a soldier was helped no matter what the possible motives were because some community members believe we live in a great county even though some of those community members have doubts about McCully's need.
Smotek, organizer for the fundraiser, took issue with a previous article written about the discrepancies surrounding the soldier's statements and her letter to the editor appears on pg. 3.