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VFW Steps Up to Pay for Nichelle McKnight's Funeral
HUBER HEIGHTS -- A Huber Heights VFW post has paid in full the memorial services for Nichelle McKnight, whose body was found Friday along the Stillwater River.
Her death has been ruled a homicide.
Nichelle was an Air Force Reserves veteran, but because she was never deployed her family had been having trouble having her laid to rest through the VA. Members of the VFW Post 3283 heard about the issue Wednesday afternoon and immediately took action to help McKnight's family.
"I boo-hoo about it every time, very emotional," said Jack Brankamp of Post 3283. He had followed McKnight's story and it tugged at his heartstrings.
"I get emotional because I had a son that passed away and nobody should ever have to bury their children," said Brankamp.
His post filed papers through the VFW of Ohio charity in Columbus that allowed him to pay for services in Dayton. Brankamp and another post member drove to pick up the checks within hours of getting the ball rolling.
"So in about 10 minutes I had two checks for over $8,000," he said.
"That's a big blessing," said Nichelle's sister Jessica, reacting to the gesture. "Because nobody expected them to do that. We were personally going to pay for it out-of-pocket but when they did that..."
Emotions flowed from Nichelle's family when they learned what had been done.
"It's very, very, very appreciated. I just can't even put into words, there's no words to describe it," Jessica said.
The gesture is big but it's one of many. Sympathy and condolences had been pouring in to McKnight's family.
"At first I thought the city was going to let us down with that one, but everybody's telling me to keep our heads up," said Jessica.
Brankamp is eager to meet McKnight's family, and to share condolences of his own.
"I should add that they do have a plot in reserve for the child, and that service will be taking care of two," said Brankamp.
Memorial services for Nichelle McKnight will be held Friday, April 18, at Greater Love Christian Church on Lakeview Avenue. Visitation is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and the funeral will follow.
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