The mother of an injured Army veteran of the Iraq war is selling a rare letter from President Obama to cover her son's medical and personal expenses despite the president's handwritten promise to do "everything we can over the next four years to support your family."
Cherry McKimmey told Secrets, "Something good might as well come out of that. It is doing no good lying in my drawer. It means absolutely nothing to me."
She received the note from Obama in July 2009 after a non-stop effort to beg federal officials to help her son, David McKimmey.
McKimmey was campaigning for the the Veterans Administration to do more to help him recover from injuries for which he received the Bronze Star with Valor for crawling back into a truck fire to save two soldiers who eventually died. He suffered burns to his face and hands is still likely to lose his leg.
McKimmey said that her son faced long drives to VA specialists and despite his injuries, was categorized as a vet with minor injuries, robbing him of special care.
In response to one of her letters, Obama wrote back: "Cherry - Thank your for your note. We are grateful for your son's service, and Michelle and I intend to do everything we can over the next four years to support your family and other military families. God Bless, Barack Obama"
But McKimmey said while the letter was a nice touch, nothing was done to help her son, who is the single father of three young children, one just six months old. He is living on disability benefits.
She and her husband are providing some financial help, but David needs more, said his mom. McKimmey said she saw that another Obama letter was auctioned, so she turned to Maryland-based Alexander Historical Auctions for help.
Alexander President Bill Panagopulos is offering the letter in his current three-day sale of historical relics and artifacts. Because Obama letters are rare, he expects it to bring $3,000-$4,000. He is also eliminating his normal commissions.
In Alexander's description of the letter, which goes up for sale Wednesday, Panagopulos tied in the VA scandal that Obama continues to struggle with.
"The 2014 Veterans Administration scandal damaged Obama's reputation, and to many veterans, president Obama failed miserably in his promise" made to McKimmey. "McKimmey's son David is among those affected by the breakdown of services. He was 70 percent disabled by an IED explosion which blew him from his vehicle...he now must wait for extended periods of time for tests and care, and is often forced to endure long (and for him, potentially health-damaging) trips out-of-state to obtain treatment readily available nearby. And his family matters are in a state of chaos as he became the sole caregiver to his three infant children. This lot is being sold-commission free to the seller, and a portion of the buyer's premium will be donated to the seller as well," pledge the auctioneer.
The veteran's mother, who lives near her son in Torrington, Wyo., said he needs help with his medical issues, long rides to physical therapy with a totally destroyed ankle, and raising his young family.
"It's for David," she said of selling the Obama letter. "He's an awesome, awesome kid."
Now years after receiving Obama's letter, McKimmey believes that the president was just trying to placate the family. "We just assumed everything would be taken care of," she said in a telephone interview. "We should have known better."
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.