Scott Warner has become active in a crusade to get more help for Gold Star fathers and families

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CLEVELAND -- The father of a Marine killed in Iraq says bereaved parents and spouses of those killed in the line of duty need more support and help from their government and the military.

Canton resident Scott Warner's 19-year-old son, Heath, was killed in Iraq in 2006 during his deployment as a Marine.

Warner has become active in a crusade to get more help for Gold Star fathers and families.

Standing at the Soldiers and Sailors monument with Senator Sherrod Brown, Warner said what's done now " is limited and completely inadequate...the bigger picture is how do we help surviving families of the next generation of the next war?"

He persuaded Brown to introduce legislation called the Gold Star Fathers Act of 2014.

It would extend hiring preferences for federal jobs now given to Gold Star Mothers to fathers.

Gold Star mothers, widows and widowers get a 10-point hiring bonus, like that given veterans.

Warner says that's a small step that would impact a limited number of recipients, but calls it a first step toward recognizing the sacrifice that's been made.

"The pain and heartache that each bereaved father embraces makes moving forward in life challenging. But providing the same hiring preference benefits Gold Star mothers receive....our county is creating new opportunities that have sacrificed so much for freedom," Warner said.

Brown said by extending these benefits to Gold Star fathers " we are righting a wrong that should have been corrected many years ago....The government should do its part to be there for grieving parents."

Joining in the call to pass this legislation was Jon Reiss, the executive director of the Cuyahoga County Veterans Service Commission.

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