Monday, December 31, 2007

Blue Star Mom Excited For Son's Homecoming in 2008 Blue Star Mom Excited For Son's Homecoming in 2008: "(West Columbia) – As we wrap up 2007, military families with sons and daughters serving overseas are reflecting on the past year and are hopeful for what 2008 will bring.

Just as Kathy Jacob couldn’t take her eyes off her son when he arrived home for “R and R” two weeks ago, she can’t take her thoughts off him now.

“It was a great Christmas, because we were blessed and had Ricky home for Christmas. He was home for fifteen days,” the Blue Star Mom recalls with a smile."

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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Military families seek OK for Gold Star license plates

Inside Bay Area - Military families seek OK for Gold Star license plates: "Military families seek OK for Gold Star license plates
Proposal deserves bipartisan support, proponents say
By Paul Burgarino, STAFF WRITER
Article Last Updated: 12/30/2007 02:35:23 AM PST

SACRAMENTO — After seeing a bill that would create a special vehicle license plate for family members of deceased military personnel languish in the legislative slow lane, advocates are looking to drive the issue home before it's too late.
Gold Star parent Kevin Graves of Discovery Bay and Michael Anderson of Modesto, along with groups like the Blue Star Moms, are trying to revamp what has become a stalled effort to create a 'Gold Star' license plate in California."

Saturday, December 29, 2007

BENEFIT RADIO: With special dedication this week to our Armed Services

San Francisco Sentinel » Blog Archives » BENEFIT RADIO: With special dedication this week to our Armed Services: "Tune in for Benefit Radio at our new time on Saturday from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm on Green 960 AM to hear Strategies CEO Leah Williams.
This week’s show is a special dedication to our armed forces.
Guests include:
Bay Area Blue Star Moms sharing their commitment and efforts to support the parents of members of our armed forces
United States Marine Captain Chuck Hayter from Camp Pendleton sharing the inspiration and commitment of himself and fellow members of the armed forces
Amy Fairweather of Swords to Plowshares discussing how the organization provides financial and transition resources to veterans
Local marine veteran Sean O’Neil shares his experience after two tours in Iraq/Afghanistan and now enrolled at UC Berkeley"

Don't let troops go unloved this Christmas

Soldiers Angels Network: AV Press: Don't let troops go unloved this Christmas: "Also locally, the Blue Star Mothers stay in touch with and help back up our troops. They recently packed and shipped care packages containing snacks, powdered drink mixes, cotton socks, disposable cameras, books, travel games, stationery, international phone cards and monetary contributions to overseas soldiers. To find our more about their activities, contact Elisa Clark at P.O. Box 4667, Lancaster 93539-4667; or call (661) 940-0498."

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Elementary sends cheer to soldiers

"Emily won't see her father for the holidays this year, but her Christmas present is knowing he is safe and back in the states. For soldiers who aren't that lucky, Emily and her classmates at Patrick Henry Elementary School collected items to send to Iraq for the Blue Star Mothers' Operation Christmas for the Troops.
Emily's grandmother, Kelly Oakes, a Blue Star Mother who is caring for Emily while the girl's father is away, initiated the drive at the school. After a kickoff assembly Nov. 30, students and parents began collecting items to pack in 'freedom boxes' that are then mailed to Iraq."
More...Elementary sends cheer to soldiers:

A blue-star Christmas

"The three blue stars on the banner hanging from the front door of Patricia Williams' two-bedroom home in Salem, Ind., say more about her Christmas 2007 then all our bright lights, joyful carols and endless presents could ever express.
She has a son and a son-in-law already with the Army in Iraq -- and a second Army son stationed in Texas who will be shipping over in January.
None of the three will be home today.
'My mind is never off that,' she said.

...What's most helped her through all this has been the Blue Star Mothers of America (, an organization founded in 1942 that linked mothers of men and women in service across the nation.
It's a group that not only provides emotional support to mothers at monthly meetings, but works to send care packages, and lower airline fares, for military families.
Families place a blue star on a banner for each member in the service -- and a gold star for each who dies in the line of duty. There are five blue star chapters in Indiana and three in Kentucky. "

More...Bob Hill: A blue-star Christmas

45th soldiers home for the holidays, then off to war

McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK - 45th soldiers home for the holidays, then off to war: "45th soldiers home for the holidays, then off to war
By Susan Brittingham
Features Editor

Sunday morning, joyful people stood outside the Expo, proudly waving American flags and cheering as the bright purple buses pulled up like gaily wrapped presents.

And what presents they were! Inside each one were dozens of troops from the 45th Infantry Brigade, who got to come home through the “Soldiers Home for the Holidays, Oklahoma” effort.Nobody cared that the wind chill was only 21 degrees, because the only thing that mattered was the fact that the troops were home and it’s going to be a good Christmas.They’ll be home until 7 a.m. Jan. 2, when the public is once again invited to the Southeast Expo Center to give them a big send-off as they head to Iraq."

Sunday, December 23, 2007

More troops welcomed home in GJ

It has been busy at Grand Junction Walker Field airport the past several days. Tonight while waiting after a soldier was bumped off his flight and hoping for the next one we had the honor of being there to greet some navy and army personnel that we hadn't had notifications on.

For families of those serving, call from a loved one is the best gift - Sunday, Dec. 23, 2007

Union Leader - For families of those serving, call from a loved one is the best gift - Sunday, Dec. 23, 2007:

... "And, Penn said, 'If you see someone shoveling a driveway, and they have a blue star on their window, and they look like they might be having trouble with it, come on over and give them some help.'
Because those flags with the blue stars, like the one that hangs in the window of her Manchester home, mean 'somebody is serving actively and deployed overseas,' she explained."

Messages from Iraq
We asked two New Hampshire soldiers serving in Iraq this Christmas to share their thoughts as their families celebrate the holidays at home in their absence.
It is important for people to know how hard it is to run a household when the significant other is away to another country. It could be a Mother, or Father, Husband or Wife that is here and the other has to hold down the fort while they are away. That's a job in itself, when you are used to having another person there to help out around the house.

I would like to say Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to my family and to
know that I will be home soon. I miss them very much and can't wait to see them
Thank You
SSG David PennArmy Iraq
I am extremely fortunate to have family and friends that support my
military service to my country. My wife, Pauline, has a more difficult duty in
holding down the fort at home. She has always placed the children first above
her personal needs. Our dream is that the children will continue to care and
share with others in life.
This will be my second Christmas away from home in
the last five years, but I am currently serving with other soldiers that are on
their third and fourth tour, so life needs to be put in perspective as compared
to others. My military position is the Base Support Officer in Charge, (titled-
Mayor) of Forward Operating Base Marez and Diamondback. The duties keep me
totally engaged so that time passes swiftly.
I will be spending Christmas
with my fellow soldiers from the 34th RAOC at Forward Operating Base Marez. I
will have the opportunity to serve my fellow soldiers lunch at the Base Dining
facility (DFAC), which is a long honored tradition for our leadership in Armed
Services. It's an enjoyable time that reminds me of home, but with longer
I, as other dads, miss my wife and children and realize what memories
are lost during these times of war and I look forward to my homecoming. Merry
Christmas to all my family and friends.
LTC Michael JacquesExecutive
Officer34th RAOC NHARNGFOB Marez

Home For The Holidays: Reunion For Soldier, Family - Home For The Holidays: Reunion For Soldier, Family: "Reporting
Maya Nishikawa (WCCO)
It will be an extra special Christmas for a Columbia Heights family. Their son is home from Iraq, just in time for the holidays.
It's hard for Joyce Shellito to hold back the tears. Her 23-year-old son Tyler Shellito has spent the last six months disarming bombs in Iraq.
'His unit lost six guys in six months,' said Joyce Shellito.
Now surrounded by her family and other Blue Star military moms, she gets to welcome Tyler home for the holidays.
The Blue Star moms all have sons and daughters on active duty. They support each other through the deployments. They're meeting Tyler wrapped in the American flag and carrying banners in support of the troops."

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Saturday, December 22, 2007

‘Blue Star Mothers’ Show Support

DefenseLink News Article: America Supports You: ‘Blue Star Mothers’ Show Support: "By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 26, 2007 – While some American homes have only drapes or blinds in the windows, other households also display a unique flag that signifies a family’s support of a son’s or daughter’s service in the military.
Those banners represent an old tradition and are part of Blue Star Mothers of America Inc., a patriotic organization that traces its roots back to World War I, when mothers displayed flags decorated with stars signifying the number of offspring serving in the military."

‘Blue Star Mothers’ Show Support

DefenseLink News Article: America Supports You: ‘Blue Star Mothers’ Show Support: "By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 26, 2007 – While some American homes have only drapes or blinds in the windows, other households also display a unique flag that signifies a family’s support of a son’s or daughter’s service in the military.
Those banners represent an old tradition and are part of Blue Star Mothers of America Inc., a patriotic organization that traces its roots back to World War I, when mothers displayed flags decorated with stars signifying the number of offspring serving in the military."

Richmond, Indiana

Palladium-Item - - Richmond, Indiana: "Jacklin is Preble County president of the Blue Star Mothers, a group that supports soldiers overseas and their families back home. When she heard of Lahmann's death, 'it was surreal. The war hit home.'
'For us mothers, it was very emotional,' she said. 'It does not change my mind. I support my son and all the other soldiers. Johnathan Lahmann is a hero and his parents should be very proud of what he stood for.'"

Friday, December 21, 2007

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas: WesternFront America

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas: WesternFront America: "Marie brings a refreshing and spirited point of view that is reflected in her writings, as well as a genuine and spiritual opinion regarding God and his teachings. Marie is an practicing Christian, a nurse, a student of the Bible, and a patriot. Many of Marie's articles are a reflection of her great admiration for those serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. She is an advocate for the troops, as well as the Blue and Gold Star Mothers of America, and their families. Marie has appeared as a guest with political talk show host Bruce Elliott on WBAL-1090 AM. Saturdays 5AM-9AM EST"

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Tree will honor those in military

: "Members of military and other families have an opportunity this year to help those serving in the military."
Cindy O’Keefe, a member of Blue Star Mothers, Green Country Chapter 12, is decorating a tree in her yard to honor the military. Anyone who wants to can put a decoration on the tree. They are also invited to make a donation to the Blue Star Mothers so they can continue to send much-needed items to military personnel. O’Keefe’s tree is at 105 Dublin Road. If you place an ornament on the tree and want it back, please pick it up no later than Jan. 3. If an ornament is left and is in good shape, O’Keefe will store it and put it back on the tree next year. Placing things around the bottom of the tree is allowed.
Any items that are derogatory or defamatory will be removed and thrown away.
Donations can be sent to Blue Star Mothers, Green Country Chapter 12, P.O. Box 3866, Muskogee OK 74402. Information: call Pat at 869-885, Muskogee, OK - Tree will honor those in military

Monday, December 17, 2007

Santa Rides a Bigdog?

Minnesota Patriot Guard News & Notes: Santa Rides a Bigdog?: "Last weekend, Minnesota Patriot Guard's Safety Officer shed his usual black leather in favor of a red suit, nicely trimmed in white fur. He attended a Christmas celebration hosted by the NW metro chapter of the Blue Star Mothers for families of deployed soldiers.

Rumor has it he didn't frighten too many fact, the little one pictured below was quite content on his lap.

According to 'Bigdog Santa,' the most difficult Christmas request came from a little boy who wants his big brother to come home from Iraq for Christmas. Although Santa can't make everyone's wishes come true, he did bring smiles to both children and adults alike."

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Now accepting donations: Various causes and various needs around Huber Heights | | Exploring Huber Heights, brick by brick…

Now accepting donations: Various causes and various needs around Huber Heights Exploring Huber Heights, brick by brick…: "As you are busy with holiday plans, here are a few easy, inexpensive, and convenient ways to help out. Charitable giving does not have to be big to make a difference, a lot of small things add up to a big thing.
The Huber Heights Senior Center, 6428 Chambersburg Rd in Huber is collecting items for the Blue Star Mothers of America, Miami Valley Chapter #3, to send to troops.
A list of needs:Baby wipes, shampoo, soaps, lotion, foot care products, sun block, Visine, Q-tips, baby powder, chapstick, hand sanitizer, deodorants, all dental products, stationery and envelopes, toilet paper, sanitary products for women."

Collin County community calendar | Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Plano News

Collin County community calendar Dallas Morning News News for Dallas, Texas Plano News: "BLUE STAR MOTHERS Lone Star Chapter meets at 7 p.m. the fourth Thursday of the month at First United Methodist Church in Richardson, 503 N. Central Expressway. Visit Dallas Fire Station No. 30 at 11381 Zodiac Lane and Fire Station No. 6 at 1109 Seabrook Lane in Plano are drop-off points for troop care packages."

Don’t forget the troops

Don’t forget the troops: "You may not like President Bush and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, Americans must put their differences aside and stand behind the men and women in uniform. They choose freely to put on a uniform, grab a rifle and go in harm’s way with no questions asked, knowing they might not come back.
This holiday season, do like what our family did — send a care package to a serviceman or -woman in Iraq or Afghanistan. It might be a hassle buying those items and going to the post office to mail them, but if you cannot, donate money or items to the Blue Star Moms so that organization can send it for you.
Our troops are so far from home, and many are in a combat zone facing a vicious and evil enemy that has no regard for human life, not even their own."

Today is the day... Wreaths Across America

GraniteGrok: Today is the day... Wreaths Across America: "This year, New Hampshire will be participating in a big way, thanks to the Blue Star Mothers, and, today is the day... The wreaths (numbering some 1500!) will be delivered to the NH State Veterans Cemetery in Boscawen between 10:00 to 10:30AM TODAY where we will be placing a wreath at each grave site. This would be the beginning of a yearly tradition here in New Hampshire."

Encircling the fallen

Members of Grand Valley Blue Star Mothers were on hand to assist with laying the Wreaths and Bows at Veteran's Cemetary on D Road.

Encircling the fallen: "Encircling the fallen
Group lays wreaths at veterans cemetery"

By MIKE SACCONEThe Daily Sentinel
Saturday, December 15, 2007

Weathering a biting chill Saturday morning was the least Peggy Sprinkle thought she could do to honor the nation’s veterans.
“It just means a lot to me to lay a wreath on each (grave),” she said.
Sprinkle, whose 19-year-old grandson, Jeffrey Allen Avery, died in April while serving in the U.S. Army in Iraq, said she was proud to attend the Wreaths Across American memorial service, even in the frigid weather.
Sprinkle was one of more than 50 area veterans and local residents gathered at the Veterans Memorial Cemetery of Western Colorado to honor the nation’s living and dead veterans.

Arizona Chapter: Merry Christmas from Iraq

The Beats of My Heart: "Duty"

The Beats of My Heart: "Duty": "'Duty'

I am the only spouse in my state's Blue Star Mothers group. When I joined a year ago, there were approximately 10 members. We are now 80+ with three chartered chapters and two on the way. Not bad for a year's time. As an associate member, I can't hold office or anything like that but I can support. I rallied for a chapter closer to my house because I, and others, were driving 3 hours for a meeting. I found a mom who's pretty close to me and we made it happen. Our first meeting had the 5 we needed to have a chapter and since then we've grown another 10."

Wreaths for NH Veterans Cemetary

Wreaths for NH Veterans Cemetery

Friday, December 14, 2007

S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y Night With the Scorps

"RIO RANCHO, N.M.]-The New Mexico Scorpions are offering a great Saturday night option with more than just a hockey game to attend. The Scorpions will host the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees at 7:15 p.m. on the annual 'Salute to the Military Night.' All military personnel can get their tickets for only $11 by calling the Scorpions office at (505) 881-PUCK or showing their military ID at the door.
On the ice, the Scorps will wear special jerseys to honor the men and women who currently and have served our great nation. Following the game the jerseys will be up for bid in a live auction will partial proceeds benefiting Blue Star Mothers New Mexico Chapters. The Scorpions wish to thank the U.S. Army for being the game's presenting partner."
More...S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y Night With the Scorps - OurSports Central - Independent and Minor League Sports News:

Local partnership

"LANCASTER - More than 150 paperback books are headed overseas to U.S. soldiers, thanks to a partnership between a local chiropractor's office and a local military mothers group.
N8 Family Chiropractic staff and members of the local Blue Star Mothers of America chapter mailed 50 packages - filled with three books and goodies - to soldiers Thursday."
More...Lancaster Eagle-Gazette - - Lancaster, OH:

Mothers helping mothers

The News and Tribune - COULTER: Mothers helping mothers: "On Sunday, I attended the funeral of Sgt. Kenneth Raymond R. “KR” Booker as the local chapter president of the Southern Indiana Blue Star Mothers at the Switzerland County High School Gymnasium in Vevay. It was my honor to meet with the brave family of this fallen hero who died last month in Iraq at the Haskell & Morrison Funeral Home prior to our presentation at the public service.

Senior Judge Jerry Jacobi, an associate member of Blue Star Mothers, assisted me at the funeral. My remarks followed condolences from Congressman Baron Hill and representatives from the offices of Gov. Mitch Daniel, Sens. Evan Bayh and Richard Lugar. Then, I presented to the families the highest recognition of our national organization: The Gold Star Banner."

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Grown children at war are not forgotten

"Gale Carroll, past president of Central Valley Blue Star Moms, displays a handmade sign, one of several related items the group makes and sells to help raise money to offset the cost of shipping items to overseas military sons and daughters."

By Margaret Slaby / The Fresno Bee
12/12/07 17:37:33
Some moms join support groups after giving birth to their first child.
Others help themselves through those trying toddler years.
And then there are the Central Valley Blue Star Moms.
This is a group of women who have joined forces after seeing their children go to war.
"We're here to help people who have family members serving in the military," says Gale Carroll, a Fresno resident whose two sons are in the service.
Formed in Fresno in early 2003, the Central Valley Blue Star Moms is one of 15 California chapters of the Blue Star Mothers of America.
Blue Star Mothers of America was founded in 1943 and chartered by Congress in 1960; there are chapters in 34 states.
The Central Valley Blue Star Moms has about 25 members; 15 are very active, says Carroll, a charter member and past president. The group topped out at about 50 members in 2003, Carroll says. City Life: Grown children at war are not forgotten:

Northern Disclosure:

Northern Disclosure:: "So what are my challenges right now? I am trying to develop a task force to write thankyou letters to all our wonderful supporters. Deborah S., Sherri and Mike, Wendy, Mellisa, Mrs. Borda, California Blue Star Moms, Dennis Coma, Chris Loverro, Operation Gratitude, Teresa Hamlin, my good friend growing up Jonathan McDonald. We are truly overwhelmed with the caring, sharing and compassion we have been shown. I am putting together the tree, gifts, stockings from Mrs Nunn and everyones gifts underneath! "


"Photo: The Flags Real Estate Team, Linda Darby center in the Blue Star Mom’s Tee and next to her Corina Robertson, Broker Owner of Flags Real Estate. Photo courtesy Pat and Ray's Studio"

"On Tuesday December 11th Flags Real Estate was visited by Linda Darby, current President of the local chapter of the Blue Star Moms. She gave an enlightening talk about Blue Star Mothers of America. Linda went on to express her appreciation to Flags Real Estate for being the organization's local sponsor. Flags will be a year round drop off site for all items needed by our deployed military. Flags also offered to open its doors for the BSMs monthly board meetings and will also post on the marquee any updated information the BSMs need to share with the community.
"Corina Robertson, Broker Owner of Flags Real Estate says she has a passion for supporting our families and friends in the military. She is personally grateful for the freedom she enjoys due in part by the sacrifices our sons and daughters make for us to be safe here at home. She will never forget or take for granted this sacrifice. Through Flags Real Estate, she has covered the cost of a one year membership to the Kingwood Chamber of Commerce for The Blue Star Moms.
To get involved, donate to the Blue Stars Moms or drop off any items designated for overseas troops learn more at For a list of items needed by our sons and daughters deployed overseas you can go to the Blue Star Mothers home page and click operation shoebox. All items purchased for this ongoing project can be delivered to the Flags Real Estate office at 22616 Loop 494, Kingwood Texas.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Stashbusting & Mug Rugs

Threads of Mine: Stashbusting & Mug Rugs: "I belong to the Blue Star Mothers organization. We support the parents of military personnel, deployed or not. Our holiday dinner is tomorrow and I wanted to make a little something for our members. I used a bit of my patriotic / QOV stash - doesn't take much to make these - for these mug rugs. They still need to have the corners poked out a bit and I might want to edge stitch them, but it took me less than an hour last night to do all 10."

Mayes County gets Storage

Pryor Daily Times - Commissioners recognize Doug Parent: "The Mayes County Blue Star Mothers will be allowed to use the former Farmer Service Agency office in the east end of the Agricultural Center at the Fairgrounds. BSM will use the space to store supplies and as a work area for preparing packages to send to the troops. "

Blue Star Moms send 4,100 care packages overseas

Blue Star Moms send 4,100 care packages overseas
Contra Costa Times Article
Launched: 12/12/2007 03:01:24 AM PST

IN THE GENEROUS SPIRIT OF THE SEASON, the Blue Star Moms gathered recently to package and send thousands of care packages and gifts to our soldiers overseas. 'Holiday Hugs from Home' was organized by a large committee with Paige Barrett of San Ramon, Debbie Burrow of Concord, Judy Scheer of Walnut Creek and Carolyn McCombs of Concord serving as co-chairwomen. Countless hours have been spent the past few months collecting, sorting, and bagging donated items. Meanwhile, Sandy Sperling of Dublin has been busy all year keeping track of thousands of soldiers' names and addresses, printing mailing labels and filling out customs forms. All the work paid off when, on a recent cold Friday morning, 4,100 care packages were sent off, thanks to the incredible help and support of so many individuals in our community. Two 27-foot moving trucks from Waters Moving in Martinez helped transport two storage units from Concord and six storage units from San Ramon to the New Hope International Church in Concord, where the packages were packed." - Blue Star Moms send 4,100 care packages overseas: "

McDONALD: Supporting families of the fallen

"Vanessa Coulter, local chapter president attends the funerals of the fallen heroes in southern Indiana. She presents the families with copies of condolence books and makes herself available to the family twenty four hours a day, seven days a week for help or if they just want to talk and cry. Coulter will also place the family in touch with TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors) for further support. Sgt. Booker may not be known to you or me, but he represents the sons and daughters of all who serve their country with honor. I have seen a photograph of Sgt. Booker. He was young man of twenty five with a fresh scrubbed look of a boy, a boy who served honorably and left this earthly home far too soon."

More...The News and Tribune - McDONALD: Supporting families of the fallen:

Monument Honors Soldiers

"Plattsburgh, New York - December 11, 2007 The Gold Star Mothers and Dads of Clinton County, New York commissioned a Vermont artist to create a monument to honor of the men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. It will soon go on display. The former president of the group spent some time looking over the black granite monument they commissioned. It depicts a male and female soldier in full battle gear somewhere on the front line in our current conflicts. Simone Marcotte came up with the idea for the monument. 'Because I'm so dedicated to servicemen and soldiers. I married a serviceman and I've been around them all my life and now I'm very proud of my two grandsons in the Navy,' says Marcotte."

...The Blue Star Mothers and Dads also want to send care packages to the front lines and they are asking families of military members serving abroad to contact them. If you have a relative serving in the armed forces and would like the Blue Star Mothers and Dads to send them a gift package, please contact: Simone Marcotte - 518-561-3687 or Alice Fountain - 518-561-8504.

...More Monument Honors Soldiers:

Gold Star Mothers honor those who serve, some they’ve lost

Sharing a hug, Gold Star Mother Denise Gionet, right, of Pelham, greets Blue Star Mother Beverly Collier, of Nashua, during a Christmas tree decorating at Nashua City Hall on Monday, honoring the service and sacrifice of the men and women of the U.S. military. Gionet’s son, Daniel, was killed in June 2006. Photo by Bob Hammerstrom

"NASHUA – Jo-Anne Petersen slowly hooked five blue stars onto the branches of the massive Christmas tree in the City Hall rotunda. Cathie Chevalier also added five stars. Linda Casazzi found a spot for one.
These were no mere decorations. Each tiny star represented a loved one who once served in the U.S. military or who still wears a uniform.As much as these symbols aim to give people pause as they conduct business at City Hall, a handful of gold stars will undoubtedly prompt even greater reflection. A gold star signifies that a mother has lost a son or daughter in war.Daniel Gionet, a 23-year-old Pelham resident who died in Iraq last year, had a star placed on the tree by his mother, Denise Gionet.Even though the Blue and Gold Star Mothers of New Hampshire announced the Monday afternoon decorating as an event, the mothers hung their stars without much fanfare. They did so with a mixture of pride and sadness." Gold Star Mothers honor those who serve, some they’ve lost:

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A natural calling

A natural calling: "The Blue Star Mothers of America, which since 1942 has provided blue stars for mothers to hang in their windows to show they have a child who is in the armed services or was previously, presented Gold Star Banners to Booker's father; his wife; his mother; and his brother, Kaleb Daniel Booker of Madison. The blue star is changed to a gold star when the service member is killed."

Monday, December 10, 2007

In Baghdad, soldier gets taste of home

"By ROGER W. HOSKINS last updated: December 10, 2007 04:14:14 AM

Gaylene Ramos reports that her son, Philip Ramos, got a little taste of home with his turkey on Thanksgiving. The younger Ramos is stationed a little south of Baghdad.
"Philip got to eat with Robbie Bernasconi (of Escalon)," Ramos said. "And he works with a lieutenant whose parents own Bear Photography in Modesto."
1st Lt. Brandon Bear is an infantry platoon leader with the Big Red One, the Army's 1st Division. He graduated from Downey High School in 2000. He was commissioned on the same day he graduated from University of California at Davis in 2005. "

more...The Modesto Bee In Baghdad, soldier gets taste of home:

City military moms remember their stars

"City military moms remember their stars In honor of the service and sacrifice of the men and women of the U.S. military, the Blue and Gold Star Moms of New Hampshire will gather at City Hall at 4 p.m. Monday to decorate the city Christmas tree with blue and gold star ornaments. The names of loved ones serving in the military and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of their country will be printed on the stars. Blank stars will also be hung. Families with loved ones serving in the military are invited to come to City Hall to add their names to the tree throughout the season."
more... City military moms remember their stars:

Friday, December 7, 2007

Mothers Bring Holiday Cheer To Our Troops

Mothers Bring Holiday Cheer To Our Troops - Local News - News : Grand Junction, Colorado: "Posted on Dec. 6, 2007 by Rick Adams Our troops may be thousands of miles away, but one local group is making sure many get a Christmas package filled with cheer. Members from Blue Star Mothers of America were scrambling to pack a little tender loving care into shipping boxes today. Each package is filled with things like sweets, snacks, hygiene items and magazines. A total of fifty boxes are being sent to the combat zones. "

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Prior Lake mother of former Army captain launches local Blue Star Chapter - Prior Lake mother of former Army captain launches local Blue Star Chapter: "Prior Lake mother of former Army captain launches local Blue Star Chapter Thursday, 06 December 2007 by John GessnerThis email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it Thisweek Newspapers During the 1991 Persian Gulf War, Greg Guimont and his friends James and Grant Bucks would rush home from Burnsville High School to watch the war news. “These three were best friends for years,” Guimont’s mother, Karen, said. “They still keep in touch.” Each joined the military and flew aircraft in the current Iraq war. Guimont, an Army captain who flew Blackhawk helicopters with the 101st Airborne, has been a civilian since 2004. But Karen, still watching war on TV, can’t forget what it’s like to be a soldier’s mother. The Prior Lake resident is launching a Blue Star Mothers of America chapter for south-of-the-river communities. Blue Star Mothers is a support network for military moms that also assists active-duty soldiers and veterans organizations. "

Blue Star Memorial Highway Rededication Honors Veterans

"Blue Star Memorial Highway Rededication Honors Veterans
-- Sunday a Blue Star Memorial Highway Marker was unveiled on Highway 51 in Rothschild.In 1950 the first Blue Star Memorial Highway Marker in Wisconsin was put on Highway 51 in Rothschild. "It was just down the street here a couple of blocks and then the state moved it out to the highway and then it was taken down and so many people missed it," says Joseph Kelbley, a Vietnam Veteran and Quartermaster of VFW Post 8895 in Rothschild, Scofield and Weston.
But Veterans Day, a day to honor and remember the men and women who have served our country, was the perfect day to rededicate the Blue Star Memorial Highway. A tribute to the Nation's Armed Forces who served in World War II. "I've lost four of our World War II Veterans in the last year and when I realized that these men are dying and we didn't have a monument here for them we're hoping that this will take the place of a primitive marker," says Kelbley. While the Blue Star Memorial Highway is a tribute to World War II veterans, a second plaque was up in the garden to honor all veterans of all wars. "Today is a very emotional day. It's extremely hard but its very sobering because you see what has become its so good to see the community come together," says Jessica Maple, an Afghanistan Veteran. A community who helped Joseph Kelbley and Jessica Maple raise $30,000 for this project. Since last spring the two have been going around to local organizations and individuals asking for donations. "It ended up being more successful than we anticipated and because of the success we want to keep the project going," says Maple. They are hoping to add bronze statues and expand the garden for future generations to enjoy."

From small seeds...

MISSOURI VALLEY TIMES - NEWS - From small seeds...: "Members of the Loess Hills Garden Club, based in Missouri Valley, have made a donation to the restoration of the Blue Star Memorial Highway marker that will be placed at the I-29 rest area north of Missouri Valley, soon. The circa-1953 marker was originally set along old Highway 75 to commemorate the Blue Star mothers' sons serving in World War II. (Following World War II, the National Council of State Garden Clubs designated certain national roads - including U.S. 75 - as 'Blue Star Memorial Highway,' as a living memorial to 'all those who have served or will serve in the nation's armed forces,' through planting aisles of flowering trees and shrubs.) The marker was commissioned by the Federated Garden Clubs of America, Iowa chapter, and the restoration is being undertaken by veterans of the Eugene Gallop Post No. 9731, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Missouri Valley."

Kettering Schools show they care

Times Community Newspapers of Greater Dayton Ohio: "Indian Riffle Elementary, Kettering schools show they care The Kettering City Schools joined the city of Kettering, Town & Country Shopping Center and local businesses and organizations in collecting items for our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan during the month of October. The community wide effort, dubbed 'Kettering Cares,' culminated on October 27, national 'Make a Difference Day,' when all of the items that had been collected were delivered to Town & Country Shopping Center, where members of the Blue Star Mothers worked all day to put together care packages for our troops overseas.

Indian Riffle Elementary School's Student Council (pictured above) took the challenge to collect a box full of items seriously and in fact, ended up filling not only the big green box provided to them by the Blue Star Mothers, but also filled a total of 10 additional boxes with everything from snacks, cards and hand-held games to toiletries, batteries and CDs.

Welcome Home Brainard Shirley

"Marine returns to surprise celebration
By Marley Shebala
Navajo Times

When Marine Sgt. Brainard D. Shirley enlisted in October 2000, there was no war.
But as soon as it started in March 2003, Shirley was among the first troops to be deployed to Iraq. On Nov. 4, he returned from his third deployment to Iraq.
And on Nov. 17, his parents, relatives, friends and supporters welcomed the 32-year-old Kirtland native home.
As Shirley emerged from a sleek black stretch limousine to greet more than 45 members of a motorcycle honor guard, he was speechless and teary-eyed, but all smiles.
His mother, Althea Shirley, had told him only that his family was having a potluck for him.
But before the potluck, he was surprised with a triumphal procession courtesy of the San Juan County Sheriff's Department, Valley Fire Department, and a 45-member motorcycle escort organized by the local chapter of the Patriot Guard Riders.
Led by a large red fire truck and an emergency vehicle - with sirens blaring - the cortege escorted Shirley in his limo through Kirtland and the nearby communities of Nenahnezad, Shiprock, Hogback, Waterflow and Fruitland, N.M.
Inside the limo with Shirley was his wife, Antoinette, their three children, Lynnette, 7, Kaylynne, 4, and Brainard Jr., 2, and his parents, Calvin and Althea Shirley of Kirtland.
Shirley, resplendent in his Marine dress uniform, stood and waved to onlookers from the limo's open sun roof after his wife mentioned that the people wanted to see him.
"I wanted to show everyone I appreciated the support they gave us," he said.
The procession wound back to the union hall in Kirtland, where more supporters waited to join Shirley in a feast of fresh grilled mutton, roast turkey with all the fixings, stacks of fry bread and tortillas, watermelon, pumpkin pie, and a huge cake.
The hall was packed with about 175 people of all ages, who listened as master of ceremonies Lambert Yazzie emphasized the importance of spouses of enlisted personnel.
"These wives go through hell," Yazzie bellowed. "And they are the ones that see the change in their man when he comes home from the war." As his words rang throughout the hall, they were met with thundering applause and cheers.
Yazzie, whose own wife Caroleen is a Blue Star Mother, pointed out that while Brainard was serving his country, Antoinette was home by herself taking care of their three children.
"My dad told me that behind every good man is a great wife," he added.
During Shirley's seven years of service, the longest he's been with his family was at Camp Pendleton, Calif., for 14 months. Besides serving tours in Iraq, he was also deployed twice to Japan.
"She was always there," Shirley said. "My wife went through a whole lot. She had to take care of the kids, house, the truck, everything by herself." Later, Antoinette talked about how hard her husband's long absences have been on their children.
"He leaves and they don't know who he is," she said. "And they have to get used to him. It's hard with him being away." The couple has been together since 1999 and married four years ago.
Antoinette smiled as she remembered how they first met. It was at a family Thanksgiving dinner. Brainard had not yet enlisted and she was attending Kirtland High School, where she graduated in 2001.
"I'm just proud of him and happy to have him home safe," she said. "I'm just happy all these people came to support him." She added that his decision to remain stateside through the end of his enlistment three years from now means she and the kids will have all the time they need to get to know him again.
"I'm back," Brainard said with a big smile. "I'm really missing my kids growing up and my wife. I want to give her the help she needs. I want to spend time with my family." He added sadly, "(Brainard Jr.) was scared of me." Althea Shirley said when her son called her from Iraq in August and told her that it was his last deployment there, she felt like her prayers had been answered. Finally, it was time to plan a welcome home celebration.
Althea, a hair stylist, mentioned her plans to some customers and they encouraged her to talk to Nenahnezad resident Ervin Tsosie about organizing a motorcycle honor run.
She was hesitant to contact him but once she did, Tsosie, Southwest region captain for the Patriot Guard Riders, assured her that the bikers would be glad to participate, she said.
Althea said she was surprised by the overwhelming number of people who showed up to welcome her son home.
"I'm glad for him, that he joined the military," Calvin Shirley said with a huge smile. "I'm really proud of him, that he served his country." But when Brainard's youngest brother, 22-year-old Elijah, sought to follow in his footsteps, his mother put her foot down and wouldn't let him enlist. Two other brothers, Michael, 23, and Maynard, 29, are busy working and going to school, she said.
When it came time for Brainard's speech, began thanking everyone. But as he continued looking around the room full of friendly faces, he stopped talking and smiled with embarrassment as tears began filling his eyes.
"This is a big, big surprise," he said. "I didn't expect anything like this. Mom told me to come home so I did. I thought this would just be a little dinner.
"Just seeing everyone come together just for me, some guy from a small town, gets to me, gets to my heart," he said. "I thank you all from the bottom of my heart." Brainard said his welcome home also showed that the community supports his comrades in Iraq.
"Keep praying for them," he hollered. "I want to say more but people are hungry."

The Navajo Times Online:

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Blue Star Moms honored for giving

"Blue Star Moms honored for giving DANVILLE: At annual Community Service Awards program, group with children in service lead list of winners STAFF REPORTS Article Launched: 12/05/2007 03:02:49 AM PST The Blue Star Moms have earned the town of Danville's highest honor for 2007 for their efforts to support troops. During the town's annual Community Service Awards program held Tuesday evening, the Town Council recognized the efforts of local mothers who have sons and daughters serving in the war. The East Bay chapter of the Blue Star Mothers of America was formed in November 2001 by three moms who had four sons serving in the U.S. Army. The organization now has more than 150 mothers involved. The Blue Star Moms are known for their work putting together care packages to send troops and organizing postcard drives for citizens to send messages of thanks to military men and women." - Blue Star Moms honored for giving:

Port Huron, MI

Times Herald - - Port Huron, MI: "Citizens want to give help to U.S. troops The phones are ringing. Let's see what you've got to say. Talk to me:

School teacher in Port Huron:"Last year, our school got involved in sending some Blue Star care packages to our members in the military. There was a point of contact from the city of St. Clair I dealt with and I don't have her name or phone number any longer. Could she or someone post a name or phone number in the paper so our school can get a hold of them and get involved with this project again this year?"
Carla Brodacki of St. Clair is the person you mean. Her Blue Star Mothers chapter is continuing to support members of our armed services. Call her at (810) 326-0692."

Mayes County BSM needs Storage

Pryor Daily Times - Sheriff's Office transfers cars: "Sheriff's Office transfers cars Kay Mc Farland Staff Reporter Mayes County Board of County Commissioners discussed temporary storage space for the Blue Star Mothers, transferring surplus police cars to smaller towns and transfer of funds at the regular meeting Monday. The newly formed Mayes County Blue Star Mothers requested temporary storage space at the Agricultural Center. The commissioners tabled the discussion to determine which area would be most convenient for everyone. The commissioners approved the resolution to declare as surplus and transfer police cars from the sheriff’s department. The Spavinaw police department will receive two cars and Disney will receive one."

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Parade of Lights

More Parade of Lights: "Despite winds gusting over 30 mph, biting horizontal sleet and winter storm warnings in effect -- we assembled the float and (did I mention the winds) after a delayed start made it through the parade in tact -- well, mostly."

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Grand Valley Racing the Clock

Grand Junction Free Press - Community News: "The Grand Valley Blue Star Moms are racing the clock to get items together for troops overseas in time for Christmas. “Our valley is proud of our young men and women who have answered the call to serve and protect our freedoms in the United States and for people around the globe,” said Theresa Bloom, one of the organizers for the Grand Valley chapter of the national organization."

... “It is growing tremendously fast,” Hoffman said of local interest. Hoffman has been a member for a year now, having moved to the Grand Valley from the [Farmington] area this autumn. Her son is now serving in the 1-504 PIR, 82nd Airborne in the U.S. Army in Baghdad. “He’s been there since January, and will be there until April,” Hoffman said.

... “To make gathering even easier, Blue Star Moms will have a float in the parade, and will be happy to accept your donations of items and postage as we walk Main Street,” said Bloom.