The parents of a fallen North Carolina soldier received a one-of-a-kind surprise in the mail on Monday from none other than President Donald Trump.
Several months ago, Trump called Chris and Jessie Baldridge to offer his condolences for the death of their son, Dillon, a corporal in the U.S. Army who lost his life in Afghanistan in June. Trump sent the parents a personal check for $25,000 so they could start a nonprofit foundation in their son's name, according to WTVD-TV.
EXCLUSIVE: NC #GoldStar family receives $25,000 personal check, months after condolence call from @POTUS… https://t.co/kU61cMQnJ5— Jonah Kaplan (@Jonah Kaplan)1508800778.0
How did it come about?
Trump made the promise in July, something the Baldridges said they didn't take serious at first.
"We just thought he was saying something nice," Jessie told WTVD. "We got a condolence letter from him [a few weeks after the call] and there was no check, and we kind of joked about it. We didn't take to social media and didn't complain."
After Trump came under criticism last week for delayed responses to families of fallen soldiers, the White House issued a statement about the check. They claimed government bureaucracy had delayed the check's arrival.
"There is a substantial process that can involve multiple agencies anytime the President interacts with the public, especially when transmitting personal funds. The check has been in the pipeline since the President's initial call with the father. The President has personally followed up several times to ensure that the check was being sent. As stated earlier, the check has been sent," a White House official said, according to WTVD. However, the check was dated for Oct. 18, the same day the White House was asked about it.
What did Trump say?
He wrote the following letter to the Baldridges:
@POTUS @realDonaldTrump @ABC11_WTVD @ABC In letter to Baldridge family, shared only w/ @ABC11_WTVD,… https://t.co/IoTqgDjXUw— Jonah Kaplan (@Jonah Kaplan)1508800991.0
How did the family react?
Jessie told WTVD: "I'm still speechless. We are so moved and grateful, and we promise to use the money to honor Dillon's legacy."
They said they're also writing back to Trump, in part saying: "We want you to know how grateful we are for this generous gift from you. We also want you to know that we intend to use this money to start a nonprofit organization in Dillon's name into something you can be proud of...Our goal is to help as many fellow Americans as possible for the rest of our lives."