Fallen Soldier Gives Back
January 16, 2008
CASERMA EDERLE, Italy (Army News Service, Jan. 16, 2008) - All Soldiers, especially those who are deploying, want to take care of their families in the event something happens to them, but one NCO took this a step further.
Staff Sgt. Michael Gabel, D Company, 1-503rd Infantry, who died of wounds received in combat Dec. 12, in Afghanistan, donated more than $20,000 of his life insurance to the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team's rear detachment.
"It isn't a surprise that [Gabel] donated the money to the rear detachment because of the kind of person he was," said 1st Sgt. Richard Howell, 173rd South Rear Detachment first sergeant.
"But it is surprising that he snuck it past us and went through with putting it in his will," he said.
The donation originated as a way to help pay for flowers for memorial services, but is turning into a way to take care of injured Soldiers.
"When the brigade first started getting casualties we were unable to get the government to pay for flowers for the memorial ceremonies," said Sgt. 1st Class Michael Arroyo, S-3 NCOIC.
"We had to pass a hat to get the money, but before Staff Sgt. Gabel deployed he came to me and mentioned that he wanted to do something so the rear detachment wouldn't have to pay anymore."
After Gabel's death the rear detachment discovered the government will pay for the flowers. The money Gabel donated will now go for a different cause, but the rear detachment leadership is still working out the details.
"We want to make it so wounded Soldiers get some comforts when they are recovering from their injuries," said Arroyo.
"We're working something out so we can set it up so the interest from the money goes toward helping Soldiers without depleting the original donation amount."
It may have been a surprise that Gable actually went through with the donation, but his willingness to want to help others was no surprise.
"One of the biggest things [Gabel] ever gave to people was his time," said 1st Sgt Richard Howell, 173rd South Rear Detachment first sergeant. "He put a lot of time and research in to helping people solve their problems."
Howell continued by saying: "Whenever the brigade had a loss, Gabel did all he could to help.
"He helped organize things here on post, but he also helped families to make sure they were taken care of by donating his time to mow lawns and help with other household chores."
"He will be remembered as being a great person, noble, righteous," Arroyo said. "From small things to big, he did what was right and took care of people. Giving this money just shows how he cared about people and took care of them."
(Staff Sgt. David Hopkins writes for SETAF public affairs.)