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Friends Rally to Help Family of Slain Ozarks Soldier

GREENE COUNTY, Mo. -- Family and friends mourn the death of a soldier from the Ozarks and organize to help the family when military death benefits are delayed.
They have family waiting who need help.
GREENE COUNTY, Mo. -- Family and friends mourn the death of a soldier from the Ozarks.  SA Sergeant Joseph Peters, 24, died Sunday when a roadside bomb exploded in Afghanistan. Peters was a father, husband and 2007 Republic High School graduate.

Ashley Peters says her husband was a hero and loved his work as an army criminal investigator. Joe Peters would have been home in just a few weeks. Most of what you will read here is a conversation we had with Ashley over Facebook.

Ashley says; "my husband was always interested in the military or being a police officer, he ended up doing both as an Army criminal investigator. He joined the military while in high school, and left for basic a week after we graduated."

"We were high school sweet hearts. We were married in December 2007. This December would make 6 years. Our son, Gabriel, is 20 months old... And looks just like his daddy. Joe loved him so much."

Ashley went on to say;  "He was very protective of us, his family. He was very happy about this deployment and was looking forward to doing so much good for our country. He was a great man, and everyone only has positive things to say. He will never be forgotten. He loved Springfield, he loved his family, he loved his job and he loved his country."

 Ashley said above all "I want to make sure my husband is remembered as a hero. He gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country."

The government shutdown is touching this family in their moment of grief.  Ashley told KOLR10;  "We will currently not be receiving death benefits. We will not be able to get help until the government shutdown is over."

Where the government is failing friends are working to step in. "It's just heartbreaking to know you friend lost the love of her life in such a tragic way and not being able to do or say anything for her," says Kara Jarrar, Ashley's friend. 

Jarrar has organized an auction fundraiser that goes live next week. "It makes it even more important that we get this money for Ashley to help her son, to help Ashley, to help his family any way that we possibly can."

Timothy Cook is Jarrar's boyfriend, a friend of Ashley's and also a military veteran.  "Seeing people lose their lives
people losing their sons and daughters their husbands, their wives." Cook says the shutdown is just hurting these families more. "They have family waiting who need help."

Jarrar is friends with Ashley because they both share a love of cloth diapers and the benefit auction started with baby items. The fundraising Facebook page is called Operation Support Ashley and Gabriel.  

There are other social media fundraisers for the Peters family.

A group of Joe's friends is also hosting an online fundraiser on Facebook.

Donations can also be made directly by PayPal to FriendsofJoePeters@yahoo.com

There is also a crowdit.com page dedicated to helping all of the families of the soldiers killed in the same attack that killed Peters.

Missouri Rep. Billy Long (R) says he s working to make sure military families receive the benefits they have been promised. He co-sponsored of the Fallen Heroes and Families Assistance Act.

Long says this legislation ensures the death benefits for military families are not delayed due to the government shutdown. He also says the House Appropriations Committee chairman assured Long that the House is working on a fix to address this issue.
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