Family of Central Kentucky Marine Corps veteran fights for final resting place
HARRODSBURG, Ky. (WTVQ) – Private Balford Stokley died last week on the December 19th. His family says he is being denied burial in a national cemetery will full military honors due to bad handwriting from 50 years ago.
“Back in those days if you’re writing out people’s names, penmanship is not perfect and chicken scratch people do that a lot and it’s hard to identify what e’s and o’s are,”
In addition to his first name spelled out as “Balfred” instead of “Balford”, a number is is off in both his birth date and his social due to penmanship.
“Instead of 405 the last three of his social had a 403. All the rest of the numbers were the same and a lot of other documents were the same. This was the same with his birthday one of the numbers were off. These are clerical errors that were made,” says daughter, Christina McCoy.
When Sims Funeral Services in Harrodsburg requested the required honorable discharge documentation, director Genie Sims says nothing came back from the Marine Corps, only the Army Reserve. The situation made worse by a house fire years ago that destroyed some of Stokley’s documents. According to McCoy, a relative held onto Stokley’s certificate of honorable discharge from the marine corps which the funeral home submitted.
“The military rejected it, they would not allow us to see it because they didn’t think it was the same person,” says Sims.
McCoy says that she is not giving up the fight to have her father’s final resting place be in camp nelson national cemetery in Jessamine county.
“I’m going to talk to congress, I’m going to talk to whoever, even the president himself to investigate this,” says McCoy.
Fueled by passion and adoration for her patriot father, McCoy vows to give a proper final salute to this veteran who loved his country like those closest to him.
After an inquiry by WTVQ ABC 36 News, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office is aware and getting involved to try to rectify the situation. On Tuesday, the National Archives and Records Administration provided a statement saying it has referred both records of Balford Stokley to the U.S. Marine Corps Headquarters for review.