President Donald Trump has finally fulfilled a promise made months ago to the grieving family of a fallen American soldier, sending them a $25,000 check.
WTVD-TV reports that the check was delivered via FedEx from Trump’s New York City address to the home of Christopher and Jessie Baldridge in Zebulon, N.C. The Baldridges’ son, Army Sgt. Dillon Baldridge, was killed in Afghanistan in June.
A few weeks after the soldier was killed, Trump called the Baldridges to extend his condolences. Chris Baldridge and Trump spoke for about 15 minutes, mostly concentrating on the father’s concerns about why his son was shot and killed by an Afghan police officer he was training.
At some point during the conversation, Trump promised Baldridge $25,000, but when the father got an official condolence letter, no check was enclosed.
Now, after a bit of scrutiny, that seems to have been resolved.
Along with the check was a note signed by the president reading, in part, “I hope this will make things a bit easier, but nothing will ever replace your son, Dillon.”
“I’m still speechless,” Jessie Baldridge told WTVD. “We are so moved and grateful, and we promise to use the money to honor Dillon’s legacy.
“We just thought [the president] was saying something nice,” she added. “We got a condolence letter from him [a few weeks later] and there was no check, and we kind of joked about it. We didn’t take to social media and didn’t complain.”
After the Washington Post brought more attention to the offer and the delayed response, however, the White House insisted that the check had been sent and was in the mail.
“There is a substantial process that can involve multiple agencies anytime the president interacts with the public, especially when transmitting personal funds,” a White House official said Oct. 18. “The check has been in the pipeline since the president’s initial call with the father. The president has personally followed up several times to ensure that the check was being sent. As stated earlier, the check has been sent.”
As WTVD notes, the check was dated Oct. 18, which is the same day inquiries about the check were made.
It is unclear whether the president made similar offers to other Gold Star families, including the families of the four soldiers killed in Niger, or even the two other soldiers who died in the attack along with Dillon Baldridge.
Nonetheless, the Baldridges are grateful and are writing a thank-you letter to the White House, letting the president know that they plan to start a nonprofit in their son’s name. The nonprofit’s mission would be to make American flags and work with local schools throughout the process.
“We want you to know how grateful we are for this generous gift from you. We also want you to know that we intend to use this money to start a nonprofit organization in Dillon’s name into something you can be proud of. ... Our goal is to help as many fellow Americans as possible for the rest of our lives,” an excerpt from their letter read, according to the news station.
Read more at ABC11.