Bases Refuse Offering Of Nuns




 
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Bases Refuse Offering Of Nuns
 
November 29th, 2006  
Team Infidel
 
 

Topic: Bases Refuse Offering Of Nuns


Bases Refuse Offering Of Nuns
Washington Times
November 29, 2006
Pg. 10

Demand cash for silo damage
By Valerie Richardson, Washington Times
AURORA, Colo. -- Three nuns were thwarted yesterday in their effort to pay their debt to society with food instead of cash when officials at two Colorado Air Force bases refused to accept their donations.
The Dominican sisters -- Carol Gilbert, Jackie Hudson and Ardeth Platte -- had collected thousands of cans of food in an effort to pay the military $3,082 in restitution for cutting through a chain-link fence at a Colorado missile silo in 2002.
The sisters, who each served jail time for the break-in, said they devised the plan because they could not in good conscience give money to the military. They are still awaiting court approval for their proposal.
But airmen at Buckley Air Force Base here turned away two pickup trucks loaded with thousands of cans of food yesterday, telling volunteer drivers that the facility had just received a large donation of food and had nowhere to store the nuns' delivery.
An hour later, officials at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs told volunteer Bill Sulzman that the facility couldn't accept a truckload of canned goods "because it was part of the restitution plan," he said.
Mr. Sulzman said he was surprised because he had coordinated the drop-off with a base sergeant.
He called the base's refusal "a political decision."
"Clearly, the decision at Buckley got back to Petersen and canceled the deal here," said Mr. Sulzman, who works for Citizens for Peace in Space. "It was a case of the chain of command overruling a lower-level decision to give food to lower-income Air Force families."
He then dropped off the containers of baby food, coffee and peanut butter at the ecumenical food bank run by Colorado Springs churches. The canned goods intended for Buckley were donated to a Denver rescue mission.
The nuns called the military's reaction disappointing but not entirely unexpected. The U.S. attorney's office here has said the restitution should be paid in cash, not food, although U.S. District Court Judge Robert Blackburn will make the final decision.
The sisters could return to in prison if they refuse to comply with the restitution requirement.
"Any effort to collect food for those in need is a tremendous gesture," U.S. attorney's office spokesman Jeff Dorschner said. "But it is the government's continued position that food should not count toward restitution."
He noted that fixing the fence at the Weld County, Colo., missile silo was paid for with cash.
"Real money was used to repair the damage done by the sisters, and the taxpayers should be reimbursed with real money," Mr. Dorschner said.
Although the delivery didn't make it to its intended destination, the sisters argued that the canned food should count toward their restitution. As many as 30 percent of men who visit food banks are veterans, they said.
After the drop-offs, the sisters delivered a 19-page list of the donated canned goods to their probation officer.
"Some of this food will still get to people who are military veterans, and that's the best we can do," Sister Gilbert said.
 


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