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Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty

Representing the 5th District of Connecticut


Esty's Gold Star Fathers Act Signed Into Law

October 8, 2015
Press Release


New Law Brings Equity to the Treatment of Gold Star Families



(Joe Nolan, who perished in Iraq, is the son of

Waterbury Gold Star Father Joseph Nolan.)



WASHINGTON, D.C. – The President last night signed into law S. 136, the Senate companion of the Gold Star Fathers Act, which Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (CT-5) introduced in the House of Representatives. This new law extends formal hiring preference for federal jobs to fathers of disabled and deceased veterans. Previously, only qualifying mothers, known as “Gold Star Mothers,” were given preference when applying for certain federal civil service jobs.


“Those willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for their country deserve to know that we will support and care for the loved ones they leave behind,” said Esty, who met last year with Gold Star families in Waterbury before introducing the House version of the bill. “In many cases, not only have our Gold Star families undergone significant trauma emotionally, but they may have also lost a source of their financial stability or even have mounting medical bills from the care of their loved ones. Enactment of my bipartisan Gold Star Fathers Act extends the existing hiring preference to fathers – ensuring equal treatment of and respect for all parents of deceased or disabled veterans. I want to thank Senator Ron Wyden for his leadership of this bill in the Senate, and I applaud enactment of this bill to honor our Gold Star families.”


“As a Gold Star Father, I often run into people who have never heard of Gold Star families,” said Joseph Nolan, of Waterbury, a Vietnam combat veteran who lost his son, Joe, in Iraq. “This new law is great news for Gold Star Families across America who live day by day with the cost of war and work to keep the memory of our fallen sons and daughters alive. I am grateful to Rep. Esty for fighting for Gold Star families, and I am proud to join her in announcing this important new law.”


After his wife passed away, Mr. Nolan raised his son, Joe, as a single parent from the time he was a sophomore in high school until his death on November 18, 2004.


“This is such a great idea,” said Mary Kight, of Waterbury, President of Gold Star Mothers Inc. “Why shouldn’t Gold Star Fathers be honored like Gold Star Mothers – they have the same feelings. They are just as deserving.”