Thursday, December 27, 2001 - 1:45 p.m. EST
(Pentagon receives a donation to the Pentagon Assistance Fund from the United Association of Plumbers, Pipefitters and Sprinklerfitters [UA]. Also participating: Martin J. Maddaloni, UA general president; Thomas H. Patchell, UA secretary treasurer; retired Adm. Jerome Johnson, president, Navy and Marine Corps Relief Society; retired Lt. Gen. Nathaniel Thompson, director, Army Emergency Relief National Headquarters; Bob Tobias, president, Federal Employee Education and Assistance Fund; and Capt. Tim Taylor, director, Press Operations, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs.)
Taylor: Okay. Good afternoon, everybody. Just a brief event here before the main briefing with the secretary at 2:00.
Today we are pleased to have representatives of the United Association of Plumbers, Pipefitters and Sprinklerfitters -- and, I'm led to believe, also to include the steamfitters -- who are making a sizable donation today to the Pentagon Assistance Fund. This fund is in memory of the victims of the September 11th attack. I'd like to welcome Mr. Martin Maddaloni, who is the general president of the organization -- y'all can come on up here -- Mr. Thomas Patchell, who is the organization's secretary-treasurer. They will present the check.
Accepting on behalf of the Navy/Marine Corps Relief Society, the Army Emergency Relief Fund, and the Federal Employee Education and Assistance Fund is the comptroller of the Department of Defense, Under Secretary of Defense Dov Zakheim.
Also here today: the president of the Navy/Marine Corps Relief Society, Admiral Jerome Johnson; the director of the Army Emergency Relief National Headquarters, Lieutenant General Nathaniel R. Thompson Jr.; and Mr. Bob Tobias, the president of the Federal Employee Education and Assistance Fund.
Maddaloni: Do I present it to you or --
Zakheim: You certainly do.
Maddaloni: Well, let me say, on behalf of the men and women -- membership of our organization, plumbers, pipefitters, and sprinklerfitters, I have the privilege of presenting this check in the amount of $250,000 to the Pentagon Relief Fund. And I think it also brings forth the statement that the UA is -- members of the UA are very proud to be Americans and very proud to stand up for the USA.
And let me also say, if I have the opportunity -- is it all right to continue? -- I'd like to say that we would like to thank President Bush and his administration for doing such a fine job in handling this horrific act on America.
And we'd also like to thank the men and women that protect us and that are protecting our freedom, liberty and democracy. And we hope that they all come back home safely to their loved ones.
So with that, I would like to present you this check --
Zakheim: Thank you.
Maddaloni: -- for the families of those in need.
Zakheim: Thank you.
Well, thank you very much, Mr. Maddaloni and Mr. Patchell. For those of you who don't know them, both of these gentlemen have long and distinguished careers in serving the public, as well as the United Association. If you get hold of their bios, you'll see that the list of what they do in the name of the association and just on their own time is really very, very impressive.
And once again, this is an outpouring of the patriotism of the members of the unions. It's a reflection of what all of our country feels about our people in uniform and the civilians who are serving today and the memory of those who passed on. And we thank you. The funds thank you. And we wish you all a very happy and healthy new year to all of the members of the unions. And to the people in the field who are out there, still there for us, in what is pretty cold weather out in Afghanistan, I understand, a safe and healthy and happy and joyful return home in the New Year.
Thank you very much. Gentlemen, your check.
Johnson: Thank you very much, Dov. Appreciate it.
Let me say our appreciation to the members of the union for this very benevolent gift. This brings the contribution to the Navy and Marine Corps Relief Society of almost $3 million now. And we have 22 widows we're providing financial assistance to and 32 children of deceased. Actually, 31. One more to be born, in January. We've relocated -- one of the widows, for instance, wanted to go to nursing school, and we've put her in nursing school at the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina. We paid the college loan indebtedness for another widow of $35,000. And each one of the children is guaranteed a college education. So we've kept the names and we've informed the children, and we, each year on an anniversary of the event, send them a letter that they will be given college education.
The funds here will be distributed to Army Emergency Relief and Federal Employees Education Assistance Program.
Ross? General Thompson.
Thompson: I keep following the admiral around.
Thompson: The nice thing about today is I found another South Philadelphian, who's an Eagles fan. In this town, that's hard to find.
Maddaloni: That's right.
Thompson: Very difficult.
Maddaloni: And we're going to take it, too.
Thompson: We had the same format as Admiral Johnson. We do things a little bit differently, but we have the same game plan. In fact, right now, we have the widow of one of those soldiers that was injured in Afghanistan -- is in Walter Reed Hospital; we're paying all the bills for her. The other widow who buried her husband, that was all paid for. Plus we have three unborn children. I guess the Army's a little bit more prolific, but it's going to go on for years and years. In the year 2023, we'll still be paying college tuition, because we're going invest it smartly.
Somebody asked, "What do you do with the money?" We invest it smartly and make sure we put it to good use. And I certainly appreciate it, because, as Admiral Johnson, we've managed to split everything three ways. Everybody has about the same amount of people and money to spend to help them.
Thank you very much.
Tobias: We, too, are in the business of guaranteeing college scholarships for all of the civilian children of the civilian employees who were killed here at the Pentagon, the one federal employee who was killed -- who died recently as a result of the World Trade Center, and the contractor employees who were killed here and the postal employees here, as well. All of the children of those victims will be guaranteed college scholarships at the place of their choice. So this -- this contribution from the union puts us very, very near to our goal of gathering enough funds to guarantee all of those scholarships. So we're very, very grateful for the contributions, and we, too, will be putting this money to great use now and in the future. So thank you very, very much.
Maddaloni: You're welcome.
Zakheim: Thank you. Thanks a lot.
Taylor: Thank you, everybody.
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