HEALDSBURG, Calif., 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."
Eisenhauer was nominated by her son's childhood friend Jessi Kuberski of Shawnee, Kan. "This contest made me feel like Wyatt was nearby," she said. "I see in Gay the traits that made him who he was."
Murphy-Goode's "A Few Goode Heroes" contest will continue through May. To participate, visit the Murphy-Goode Facebook page at www.facebook.com/MurphyGoodeWinery to nominate the person you feel best exemplifies altruism, leadership, self-sacrifice or positive influence. Each month, Murphy-Goode will choose a winner to receive a $1,000 donation to his or her favorite non-profit and make a matching gift to Operation Homefront. Monthly winners are then eligible to receive the grand prize of a Fourth of July barbecue.
Murphy-Goode has long sought to recognize heroes. Since Fall 2011, the winery has partnered with Operation Homefront to support military families in need. Murphy-Goode has donated more than $100,000 to the cause on behalf of the winery and its fans.
ABOUT MURPHY GOODE WINERY
Located in the beautiful and acclaimed Alexander Valley region of Sonoma County, Murphy-Goode is a family-owned winery known for award-winning California wines from Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay to Pinot Noir, Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon. Founded by Tim Murphy, Dale Goode and David Ready, Sr. in 1985 and now part of Jackson Family Wines, Murphy-Goode believes in great wines and good times with family and friends. The winery is proud to support Operation Homefront and its work with wounded warriors and the families of service members.
ABOUT OPERATION HOMEFRONT
A national nonprofit, Operation Homefront leads more than 4,500 volunteers with nationwide presence who provide emergency and other financial assistance to the families of service members and wounded warriors. Operation Homefront has met more than 741,000 needs of military families since its inception in 2002. A four-star rated charity by watchdog Charity Navigator, nationally, 94 percent of total revenue donated to Operation Homefront goes directly to programs that provide support to our military familiess. For more information, go to www.OperationHomefront.net.
SOURCE Murphy-Goode Winery