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Statement on the death of Cpt. Benjamin A. Sklaver

Posted 10/4/09

Editor's Note:

Ben Sklaver, 32, is the first cousin of Jodi Summit, of Tower, Minn. He was killed Friday while on patrol in Aghanistan. This statement is provided for regular readers of the …

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Statement on the death of Cpt. Benjamin A. Sklaver

Posted

Editor's Note:

Ben Sklaver, 32, is the first cousin of Jodi Summit, of Tower, Minn. He was killed Friday while on patrol in Aghanistan. This statement is provided for regular readers of the Timberjay as well as media from across the country that are reporting on his death.

STATEMENT:

The family and friends of Benjamin A. Sklaver mourned his death and celebrated his inspirational life during funeral services held Tuesday, Oct. 6, at Congregation Mishkan Israel, in Hamden, Conn.

The son of Gary and Laura Sklaver, of Hamden, Army Captain Sklaver was killed Oct. 2 by a suicide bomber while on foot patrol in the Afghan village of Murcheh, located in Kandahar province in southwestern Afghanistan. A fellow U.S. soldier and an Afghan interpreter were also killed in the blast.

While Ben was just 32 years old, he had already made a tremendous mark in the world. A 1999 graduate of Tufts University, he went on to obtain a graduate degree in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School, also at Tufts. He took a particular interest in assisting refugees and the poor in Africa. During his studies at the Fletcher School, he volunteered for the Army Reserve and following completion of his degree, he served with the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta in that agency’s International Emergency and Refugee Health Branch.

While on active duty with the army in Africa, Ben spent considerable time in northern Uganda, where he was shocked to learn of the chronic health concerns affecting children, pregnant women, and others in the region’s small villages stemming from the lack of clean water. During his deployment in Uganda, he worked to improve access to safe water and upon his return to the U.S. he founded the non-profit charity Clearwater Initiative in order to continue that work. Over the past two years, his efforts had helped provide clean water to several thousand Ugandese, prompting many in the region refer to him as “Moses Ben.” More information on the Clearwater Initiative can be found at www.clearwaterinitiative.org (see link below) and the family is asking that donations be forwarded to the organization in Ben's name.

Earlier this year, Ben had been hired by the New York Office of the Federal Emergency Management Agency to conduct disaster planning for the New York tri-state area. He had also announced his engagement to Beth Segaloff, of Mamaroneck, NY, and the couple was planning a June wedding. Ben was called back to active duty under a stop-loss order, shortly after starting his new position with FEMA. He had been in Afghanistan since July.

Ben was deeply committed to his Jewish faith and was influenced by his religion’s call to humanitarian work, says his father Gary. Ben’s family is devastated by his untimely death, but takes comfort in his remarkable accomplishments and sacrifice.

“I would like, in whatever small way possible, for this incident to raise awareness of the sacrifice that all of our soldiers and their families are making in order to protect all of us here at home,” said Gary Sklaver. “I would encourage everyone to do all they can to send packages and letters of support to our soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan and that we reach out to help comfort the families of these soldiers in our communities.”

Ben is survived by his parents, his brother Sam and sister Annie, both of New York City, and his fiancée.

For more information, contact Jake Herrle at 646-484-0697

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