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Veterans Corner: Guillen Sentencing & PACT Act Extension

by Brandon Williams
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By Dorothy Meindok

The Post Newspaper Veterans Consultant

There are two important things happening this Monday, and I wanted to use the column space to share them with you. 

The first is a call for support from and for the family of US Army soldier Vanessa Guillen. On Monday, at 9:00 AM, the US District Court in Waco, Texas begins the sentencing hearing for Cecily Aguilar, who has pleaded guilty for her role in the murder of Guillen. 

Aguilar can be sentenced up to 20 years in federal prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 for her role in conspiracy to tamper with evidence and helping dismember and dispose of Guillen’s body.

Aaron Robinson, Aguilar’s boyfriend and a soldier stationed at Fort Hood, committed suicide before he was able to be arrested. 

The Houston family is asking for people to march with them peacefully in front of the courthouse to honor their loved one and to ask that justice be served. 

If you can’t be there in person, one way you can stand with them is by showing support on social media using the hashtag #JusticeForVanessaGuillen. The family will be able to see your support online and know that you are standing with them on this very important yet difficult day. 

Secondly, the Veterans’ Administration is extending its deadline through Monday for Veterans and survivors to apply for PACT Act benefits and receive the most generous backdate for back pay purposes. Veterans and survivors who apply (or submit their intent to file) for PACT Act benefits by 11:59 pm Eastern on Monday, August 14, 2023 will be eligible to have their benefits backdated to August 10, 2022, the day that President Biden signed the PACT Act into law. This is an extension from the original deadline of August 9, 2023. We encourage all Veterans and their survivors to apply or submit their intent to file for PACT Act benefits now by visiting VA.gov/PACT.

Thank you and have a blessed Sunday. 

 Dorothy Meindok is The Post Newspaper’s Veterans Consultant. Ms. Meindok served her nation in the United States Navy and is currently a practicing lawyer advocating for our nation’s veterans. Her column appears on Sundays.

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