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Fort Worth: I want to introduce you to Staff Sergeant Matthew James Whalen, who died on December 21, 2015 from a brain hemorrhage, leaving behind a wife, who is (or was) also in the service, and two young children. There is a GoFundMe campaign in place to help provide for Staff Sergeant Whalen’s wife and family:

On Saturday the 19th of December Staff Sargeant Matthew James Whalen fell ill. He was taken to the hospital with and was diagnosed with a hemorrhage in his brain. He did not recover. [snip.] His wife Hannah Whalen was by his side and now has two small children to provide for as well as hospital bills. There is never a good time for this, but this is one of the worst times. Matthew and Hannah both served their country, as STRIKE soldiers (2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division) with multiple deployments while in the army and now they need our help. We cannot bring back Logan, Mattix, and Sadie’s father, but we can help his wife and family, especially during this time of year.

The above describes the death of a young man, and clearly a good man, who left behind a wife and family to grieve for him at Christmas time. But I promised a story of life too.  Here is that part of the promise:  The sentence that I “snipped” out of the above quotation tells us that “On the 21st of December 2015 this hero served again, his organs were donated to two veterans in dire need of transplants.”

We are a society that values life. When one person’s life is beyond saving, we have an ethos that still allows that person to contribute to other lives.  Whether because of a joint decision they made long ago, or as a sign of Hannah’s strength right now, Whalen continues to live in others.  It’s true that he won’t be there to hold his children as they grow up, but perhaps he’s made it possible for other men or women to hold their own children in their homes

Whalen’s death shows our reverence for life in one other way: As he was wheeled into the operating room to begin the organ transfer process, his passage through the hospital corridors was accompanied by both a military honor guard, and his family and hospital staff standing at attention as he passed by (you might want to have tissues at the ready as you watch this):

We say farewell to Staff Sergeant Matthew James Whalen. In his final act on this Earth, it’s only fitting that he gave…

Posted by Sean Hatton on Monday, December 21, 2015

As of this writing, that video has been viewed on Facebook over 4.5 million times in just over 24 hours. We are a country that values life. We do not treat death as if it’s meaningless, a worldview one can have only if life is also meaningless. We honor the passage from life to death because we recognize that each individual life has value.

I know that this is a busy, expensive time of year, but if you have a few extra dollars lying around, perhaps you can help out Staff Sergeant Whalen’s family, just as their sacrifice has helped out two other families.

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Oh, and before you ask, SSG Whalen was discharged out of the military and was not covered by Tricare and did not have life insurance.

Please pass this along.

Once again, the gofundme site is here: https://www.gofundme.com/matthewwhalen-com


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