State sets up fund for soldiers killed in action
When Gov. Kenny Guinn announced a new Nevada Patriot Fund to support families of Nevadans killed or injured in military service Thursday, he described meeting the first Nevadan reported killed in Iraq — 2nd Lt. Fred Pokorney of Tonopah.
The Marine, home on leave, sat down at Guinn’s table during the mining town’s annual Jim Butler parade.
“What a gentle, nice, young man,” said the governor. “He talked about his family. And the next thing you know Fred is no longer with us.”
About $75,000 has been raised so far in the fund aimed at helping Pokorney’s wife and child and the family of Lance Cpl. Donald John Cline of Sparks. Both were killed March 23 in Iraq.
“Their kids aren’t going to have a father. Their wives aren’t going to have a husband. Their parents aren’t going to have son,” said Major General Giles Vanderhoof of the Nevada National Guard. “They willingly went over there to serve our country, and I think the least we owe them is to help however we can.”
Guinn said the fund will also help others who have a family member killed or disabled in military action. He thanked Nevada’s homeland security chief Jerry Bussell, lobbyist Greg Ferraro of Reno and Las Vegas attorney Joe Brown for coming up with the idea.
Lt. Gov. Lorraine Hunt said the fund shows the unity of Nevadans.
“This is a fine example of Nevadans helping Nevadans. That’s what we’re all about in this state,” she said.
Contributions so far have been made by Sierra Pacific Power Co., SBC Communications, Harrah’s, Wells Fargo Bank, Newmont Mining Corp., American Nevada Corp., Jones Vargas, McDonald Carrano Wilson and Station Casinos.
“And I’m certainly going to make a donation myself,” said the governor.
When Cline, 21, and eight other Marines were reported missing on the outskirts of Nasiriyah, he left behind two sons, Dakota, 2, and Dillon, 7 months.
His wife, Tina Cline, 20, and the boys are living with her mother in Sun Valley, north of Reno. The couple attended Reed High School in Sparks. The last time she talked to Cline was March 13 when a CNN reporter gave him a cell phone to call home.
Pokorney, 31, was killed in an ambush near An Nasiriyah, 230 miles southeast of Baghdad. He was the first Marine from Operation Iraqi Freedom to be buried at the national cemetery at Arlington, Va.
A 1989 Tonopah High School graduate, he enlisted in the Marines and enrolled in the ROTC program at Oregon State University in 1997. He earned a humanities degree when he graduated in 2001.
Though his wife, Carolyn Rochelle, and their 2-year-old daughter, Taylor Rochelle, live outside Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, N.C., Pokorney listed his home in military documents as Nye, Nev., until his death.
YOU CAN HELP
Those wishing to make a tax-deductable donation to the fund should make checks out to the Nevada Patriot Fund, Account No. 6655843909, Wells Fargo Bank, 5340 Kietzke Lane, Reno, NV 89508.