In 2016, National Gold Star Mother Susan Price endorsed candidate Donald Trump at a rally in Tampa, Florida. Seven years earlier, her son, Marine Gunnery Sgt. Aaron Michael Kenefick, died in a barrage of gunfire and rockets in the Battle of Ganjgal.
Following new Rules of Engagement and a Tactical Directive to reduce civilian casualties, Commanders in the tactical operations center (TOC) refused Air and Artillery Support. The heroic battle that followed produced two Living Medal of Honor Recipients, Marine Sgt. Dakota Meyer and Army Captain Will Swenson.
After losing her son, Susan and I volunteered our time to bring public attention to a life-saving test developed by Oft Labs in Mount Laurel, NJ. It can rapidly detect cancer cells, toxic chemicals and infectious agents. A study conducted at Emory University demonstrated that non-invasive oral swabs employed in the new technique are more accurate and far less expensive and risky than FDA-approved methods based on drawing blood.
Overcoming the federal bureaucracy can sometimes be the toughest barrier to saving lives and making the world a better place. In this case, approval of the new test rests in the hands of the FDA and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
Susan wrote to President Trump asking for help: “I am writing to you today, Mr. President, not only on behalf of my own personal healing after the tragic loss of my son … but also as the mother of two daughters and seven grandchildren who is concerned for their legacy, health, and wellness following eight years of inaction by the Obama Administration.”
Now, almost ten months later, she still has no response. Considering what the Trump Administration is dealing with, the delay is not surprising. But, to the mother of one brave U.S. Marine who died to make life better for the rest of us, the new test has important implications. Potentially, it could save the lives of many men and women serving in the Armed Services—a fitting tribute to the life her son gave for his country.
Donald Trump is the first president in modern times to focus on downsizing the federal bureaucracy and making it work for average Americans. Yes, he’s unorthodox. But the time when orthodoxy can fix our massive federal bureaucracy is long past. We cannot simply wait for it to collapse under its own weight, and take us all down with it.
On November 11, Susan will be the keynote speaker at the American Veterans Ball held at the Fredericksburg EXPO & Conference Center in VA. My wife and I will join her and rock star Dave Bray, who will sing the National Anthem. Together, we’ll celebrate Aaron’s life, and give thanks for the sacred offering he and others have made to preserve and protect our Freedoms. The public is invited.
David L. Lewis, Ph.D., a former EPA research microbiologist, is the author of Science for Sale and Research Director for the Focus for Health Foundation.