Thursday, December 18, 2008

"Ungrateful Sallie Mae"

Ian McVey could have been anything. He chose to be a Marine. It is not a path that most kids from Weston would take, but Ian Thomas McVey was not most kids.

Last summer, he got his orders: go to Iraq as a platoon commander with the Second Combat Engineer Battalion of the Second Marine Division.

On July 19, not long before his unit was to ship out, McVey's motorcycle was blindsided by a car driven by an 84-year-old woman near Camp Lejeune, N.C.
He was killed instantly. He was 23 years old.

His father, John McVey, had to settle Ian's college loans. He wrote to the lenders, asking that the debts be forgiven. Two wrote back, saying they would forgive the loans.

The third, Sallie Mae, the government-created college loan provider that privatized its operations in 2004, refused.

"What bothers me most is we say our country is at war, but it's only the soldiers, the Marines, and their families who are at war. We're not in this together. Sallie Mae couldn't care less," John McVey said. "I put my heart and soul into that letter. And a computer wrote back."