Signal Grieving Households Act (Your Letters)
To the Editor:
On Sept. 15, 2018, my world was ceaselessly modified when my beloved son, Stephen Gudknecht, was senselessly murdered at his place of business.
Stephen, a kitchen supervisor for the Erie Boulevard East Chili’s, was not speculated to be working that night. He had deliberate to take his daughter to a live performance however because it was raining, he promised to take her to a different one so he may cowl the shift for a co-worker.
His former worker, William Wooden, got here into the restaurant with the intention of robbing it. He entered by a fenced door and it was there he waited for somebody to open the again door. The restaurant additionally lacked safety cameras, regardless of the rear of the restaurant being in entrance of a densely wooded space.
Woods positioned three staff face down on the bottom and had Steve open the protected within the workplace. Steve gave him the whole lot within the protected, which was $875. Woods then shot Steve within the head. As he left the workplace, he additionally shot Steve’s co-worker, Kris, and killed him. He then tried to shoot one other co-worker at the back of the pinnacle, however fortuitously the gun jammed when he pulled the set off.
As the times glided by, we realized extra of what occurred inside Chili’s that horrific night time. We additionally realized of the various security options that weren’t in place for worker security and safety. Many objects have been being “mounted” inside and outdoors of the restaurant inside days of the murders.
Our household has been enormously affected by Stephen’s loss. His two youngsters, of whom he was the custodial guardian, are actually with out their father. His brother has misplaced his finest buddy and solely sibling. My husband, Stephen’s stepfather, has misplaced not solely a son, however a caregiver, as Steve helped me look after him ever since he was identified with a number of sclerosis over 20 years in the past.
Phrases can not specific the magnitude of this loss. To compound our struggling, after 4 agonizing years, we have been instructed we couldn’t search damages underneath the state’s present wrongful demise legislation as a result of Stephen didn’t earn a excessive sufficient wage. This injustice is a merciless twist of the knife and yet one more painful reminder of our loss.
I’m talking out for the pressing want for the passage of the Grieving Households Act. This laws would lastly acknowledge the emotional toll of such losses, recognizing the worth of an individual’s life can’t be measured solely by their annual earnings.
I’m now the only real caretaker for Stephen’s youngsters and my husband, whereas I attempt to stability a full-time job. I press on as a result of I do know that’s what he wants me to do and what he would need me to do, since he’s unable to. I miss my sensible, hardworking and loving son, and I’ll grieve him and my loss daily till the day I die.
I do know that there are lots of different households like mine who’re struggling unthinkable losses and that’s the reason I urge Gov. Kathy Hochul to signal the Grieving Households and restore justice to New York households.
The author is founding father of Two Cooks From Abovea nonprofit group shaped to honor the reminiscence of Steve Gudknecht and Kris Hicks by awarding scholarships to culinary arts college students, feeding homeless people and advocating for restaurant employee security.
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