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March 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Murphy-Goode Winery has selected
Gay Eisenhauer of
Pinckneyville, Ill., as its "A Few Goode Heroes" contest winner for the month of February. Eisenhauer, whose son Wyatt, an Army Ranger, was killed in 2005 by an improvised bomb in
Iraq, has been instrumental in improving the way the remains of servicemen and women killed in action are brought home to their loved ones. After watching her son's body "being unloaded by a forklift, the casket with no flag, teetering like a piece of luggage," Eisenhauer said, she made it her mission to instigate change.
Eisenhauer went to
Rod Blagojevich, then-governor of
Illinois, who took up her cause. Along with other military families, Eisenhauer helped advocate a law, effective in 2007 as part of the Defense Appropriations Bill, requiring the remains of all soldiers killed in action to be draped with a flag, accompanied by an Honor Guard and transported home by military or military-contracted aircraft.
"Gay's story blew us away," said
Dave Ready, Jr., winemaker for
Healdsburg-based Murphy-Goode. "She suffered heartbreaking loss yet still went above and beyond to make sure no one else would experience what she did. Her selflessness and tenacity are an inspiration to us all."
As Murphy-Goode's Hero of the Month, Eisenhauer will receive a
$1,000 donation to the charity she founded in her son's honor, the
Wyatt D. Eisenhauer Memorial Fund, which gives scholarships to students in need. In addition, Murphy-Goode will make a matching grant to its non-profit partner, Operation Homefront, the national organization that provides emergency financial assistance to military families. Eisenhauer is now also eligible for the grand prize of a
Fourth of July barbecue in her hometown, hosted by Murphy-Goode.
"I can't tell you what this means to me, how proud Wyatt would be," said Eisenhauer. "He was someone who always took the time to help others. He had this way of knowing someone needed help before they could even ask for it. He was a man with a genius mind and a gracious heart."