12/20/2014

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Three years later, still no marker for Chehalis vet's grave

Three years later, still no marker for Chehalis vet's grave
CHEHALIS, Wash. -- An unmarked military grave is causing great pain for a Chehalis family, who called the Problem Solvers for help.

Nothing marks the spot where Air Force veteran Sgt. Gregory Vandal has been laid to rest. Vandal, who was a father and a husband, died of cancer in 2010.

"It does make me feel kind of lost. You see everybody's else's plates, and Daddy's is missing," said daughter Jamie Brown.

Vandal's family says they sent in the application for a bronze marker the government provides free of charge, but it never arrived.

"Three years that we've waited and waited, and we have nothing," said Brown. "I need closure, and that closure is going to be that headstone, for all of us."

What's worse, the official proclamation thanking Vandal for his service got his name wrong.

"When his presidential award came, it was under George. His name's Gregory," said Brown.

Relatives say they made several phone calls in an attempt to fix the error, but consumed by grief, they eventually gave up.

"When he did die, it hit us all so hard and things were so quick," said Brown.

The family contacted the Problem Solvers for help, and KOMO News called Veterans Affairs, Sen. Patty Murray's Office, and Claquato Cemetery where Vandal is buried.

The Problem Solvers have now put the wheels in motion. For now, they will keep marking his grave with a small American flag.

Soon, Vandal, who lies in between his two veteran brothers, will have his own marker as well. Murray’s office is working with the Problem Solvers to get that marker. And cemetery managers will help the family turn in the necessary government forms.

"He was a veteran. He deserves to have that plate there that says, 'Hey, I was a vet. I gave,'" said Brown.
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