NU Online News Service, Jan. 7, 2004, 12:23 p.m. EST – The Knights of Columbus, New Haven, Conn., says it will pay accidental death benefits to the families of members killed while serving in Afghanistan and Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom.[@@]

The benefit will range from $1,000 to $2,500, depending on the service member’s years of membership in the Knights of Columbus.

Officials at the Knights of Columbus, a Roman Catholic fraternal service organization, allowed the benefit payments by voting to waive a policy provision that excludes war-time deaths from the normal coverage for accidental deaths.

The Knights of Columbus has about 1.7 million members, and it reports that at least 5 have died while serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom.