Monday, April 28, 2008
"Gloria Shuttleworth wants to make sure that Americans don't forget their servicemen or women serving overseas nor their families at home.
The Centerville woman hopes to start a local organization that will send care packages and letters to members of the U.S. military and provide comfort for families, especially mothers, waiting at home."
"I just don't ever want any soldier to think that no one's thinking of him or her," said Shuttleworth, who is starting a Blue Star Mothers organization in Wayne County. "But it's not only the soldiers who need our support. We have to remember the family back home."
Blue Star Mothers is a national non-profit organization formed to support troops and their families. Shuttleworth is planning an organizational meeting May 17 at Cornerstone Church in Richmond.
She needs five Blue Star Mothers to start the local group but wants all of Wayne County to get involved.
"I don't take my freedom for granted," Shuttleworth said. "These men and women have done so much for all of us. This is my way of saying 'thank you.'"
Her son-in-law, Sgt. James Atwell, is part of the 76th Infantry Brigade Combat Team of the Indiana National Guard now serving in Iraq.
Shuttleworth hopes to raise money to send care packages and mail to soldiers overseas.
She is working with Bobby Weaver, president of the chapter in Indianapolis, to organize the local group.
"Whether they are overseas or back home, whether they are recuperating in a hospital or in training, they need to know people support," said Weaver, whose son served two tours in Iraq. Her other son is in the National Guard.
"And we're here to support each other as mothers," Weaver said. "When my son was in Iraq I felt like I was the only one on earth going through this."
Shuttleworth hopes that churches, veterans groups, businesses and individuals will support her effort.
"We have 3,000 soldiers in Iraq and I want the whole community to get involved," she said. "And I plan on having them one big party when they get home."
Reporter Bill Engle: (765) 973-4481 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Palladium-Item - www.pal-item.com - Richmond, Indiana:
Article Created: 04/28/2008 02:33:25 AM PDT
SAN BRUNO - TALEEN TATIAN had no idea it would be difficult to find families with sons and daughters serving in the Middle East.
The 29-year-old has gone to recruitment centers, congregations, schools and police and fire departments in San Mateo County, but so far, her two-month fact-finding mission has given her nothing to work with.
'I feel like having a banner saying, 'You're not alone,' and waving it,' said Tatian, who is frustrated, yet undeterred.
...A year-and-a-half ago, the group became a chapter of Blue Star Mothers of America, a national organization dedicated to supporting active duty service personnel. The Pacifica group is also known as the San Mateo County Blue Star Moms, said Debbie Smyser, a member.
Now, there are 32 mothers in the support group. Every three months, they send care packages to the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. They meet once a month. There are chapters in Danville and Santa Clara. "
More...Woman wants to aid military families - Inside Bay Area:
Graves, a Discovery Bay resident, joined the ranks of California's tens of thousands of Gold Star families July 25, 2006, when his son, Spc. Joseph Graves, was killed by an improvised explosive device in an ambush in Iraq. Graves had raised Joey, who was 21 at the time of his death, in Discovery Bay as a single parent.
'It's a fraternity that none of us asked to be a part of,' Kevin Graves said Thursday.
For more than a year he and Modesto's Anderson, whose son Cpl. Michael Anderson Jr. was killed in Iraq in 2004, have been working to honor the families who have lost loved ones fighting in America's military conflicts.
Following the example of other states, Graves and Anderson are lobbying the California Legislature to pass a bill, SB1455, creating a Gold Star Family California license plate. The bill will be heard in the Senate Committee on Transportation and Housing on Tuesday. Their attempt to pass a bill last session did not make it to the committee level."
More...License plate bill would honor slain soldiers - ContraCostaTimes.com:
Sears allowed us to set up and sell our raffle tickets on the March 30, then donated their hot dog and cookie sales money to us.
The Marines MC are getting together to hold a poker 'Freedom' run to help us out (public is invited) and we have Moms every where selling raffle tickets.
Keep up the good work.
Blue Star Mom,Yuba City"
Weekly Reward, Regrets 04.25.2008:
By Kathy Hodson
Article Launched: 04/26/2008 05:36:32 PM PDT
OUR COMMUNITY is the benefactor of several wise and very dedicated young volunteers. Fourteen local high school seniors from the Rolling Hills chapter of the National Charity League, Inc. (NCL) were honored earlier this month at a 'senior presents' event.
The Bay Area Crisis Nursery, Blackhawk Museum, Blue Star Moms, Contra Costa County Food Bank and Discovery Counseling Center are only a few of the local organizations that benefit from these committed individuals."
More...Around Danville: Honored high school seniors are a study in philanthropy - ContraCostaTimes.com:
The Clarksville chapter of the Southern Indiana Blue Star Mothers is holding a prayer vigil in Jeffersonville to mark the deployment and pray for the troops, their families and their communities.
Representatives from Blue Star Mothers -- an organization of the mothers of soldiers -- will be on hand at the vigil site all day to speak to people and give out information.
More...Good Friday prayer vigil set for Iraq-bound troops courier-journal The Courier-Journal:
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Saturday, April 26, 2008
BY Lori Monsewicz
NORTH CANTON Seven members of the Blue Star Mothers of America's Akron-Canton chapter plan to travel to Cincinnati to attend Sunday's funeral for Army Staff Sgt. Matt Maupin. Maupin, 20, was missing for nearly four years after his fuel convoy was attacked near Baghdad. His remains were found last month about 12 miles from the ambush site. A memorial service has been scheduled for Sunday at the Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. "We're traveling there to support his family," said Janet Lasater, of Plain Township.
The local chapter of the Blue Star Mothers comprises nearly 90 people whose children are serving or have served in the military. "We support the ones who are deployed as well as their families back here, and the veterans no matter when they served," she said. Lasater has two military children. Maj. Kevin Lasater is serving in the Army in California and is preparing to be deployed to the Philippines.
Bryan Lasater served in the Army in Bosnia and Kosovo. He currently works for an independent defense contractor. Both graduated from Central Catholic High School in Perry Township, Bryan in 1991 and Kevin in 1993. Bryan went on to graduate from Walsh University in 1995, and Kevin from West Point in 1997, their mother said.
She said that in addition to attending Maupin's funeral Sunday, her chapter plans to attend the state convention for Blue Star Mothers in Dayton. Anyone interested in joining her group may call at (330) 312-3655 or check the Web site http://www.bluestarmothers.net/. She said fathers are welcome, too. "We have several dads who are members and we have associate members who are just interested in our cause," she said. Reach Repository writer Lori Monsewicz at (330) 580-8309 or e-mail: email@example.com"
Friday, April 25, 2008
When Annette Broussard of Freedom Mail in Canyon Lake began helping with shipping costs for items being sent to military personnel in Iraq, she felt like she was just quietly doing her part. To Blue Star Mothers like Sharon Bryce, Broussard is a business owner who deserves recognition in spite of her desire to give humbly and behind the scenes.
Bryce said, “Not only does she do a service for our community, but she’s such a strong supporter of our military and does all of this without any kind of notoriety or thought of being recognized. It’s just too bad we don’t have more businesses like them.”"
More...The Canyon Lake Times Guardian:
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Chapter members and family and friends of servicemen and women serving overseas were recognized during a spaghetti dinner prepared and served by the post and the post's women's auxiliary group.
Sand Springs Blue Star Mothers Chapter President Micki Hallock thanked Post Commander J.D. Smith and community members for their support and help with shipping care packages overseas.
Also just before the dinner, two local servicemen, home on leave from Iraq, were introduced.
The crowd applauded and welcomed Will Edwards, with the 45th Oklahoma National Guard and Jonathan Sitter, with the U.S. Army.
The Blue Star Mothers, each month, ship packages containing personal care products, snacks, games, and greeting cards and letters to military personnel overseas.
The group meets the last Monday of the month at the American Legion Post, 500 N. Main, at 7 p.m. to pack and ship the boxes.
Volunteers are always welcomed to help pack the boxes for shipment, Hallock said.
Kim J. Newport, also with the group, said a list of items "that are great for the monthly boxes" is listed on the group's website SandSpringsBlueStarMothers.com
Also there are three drop off locations in Sand Springs: Fire Station 1 in downtown; Fire Station 2 in south Sand Springs; and the Town and Country Lube in south Sand Springs at 3716 State Highway 97.
Any questions regarding donations can be addressed by calling either Hallock at 637-7934 or Sandy Curtis at 637-7935."
Staging for this mission will be at the Conoco Gas Station just north of Pena Blvd on your way into DIA. Watch for the signs that say 45 Minute Parking and Rental Car Return, take this exit, and stay to the right as you go down the exit road. Do not pull into the 45 Minute Lot, which will be to the left. Continue down the exit to the stoplight at Gun Club Rd, and turn left and go under Pena Blvd, and the Conoco Station will be on your left.
Stage - 1130 (11:30am)
Mission Brief - 1145 (11:45am)
Leave for DIA - 1155 (11:55am)"
Welcome Home - Sgt Bradley A. Vaughn, Denver, CO, 29 APR 08 > Patriot Guard Forums - Americans Doing the Right Thing > Patriot Guard Riders:
Conway students win at History Day competition
By JOE LAMB
LOG CABIN STAFF WRITER
The University of Central Arkansas hosted the History Day in Arkansas State Competition Saturday and, like last year, Conway students won in several categories.
Lu Hardin, UCA president, opened the awards ceremony with recent evidence that some public high school students fail to attain even a basic understanding of history."
Junior Individual Performance: Danie Sakevicius, first place for "Conflict and Costly Sacrifice: Blue and Gold Star Mothers of America,"
Read the article and full list of winners...TheCabin.net ·· Repeating history 04/20/08:
Local group helps ex-soldier, family get settled in new lives
By Jeanine Benca, STAFF WRITER
Article Created: 04/21/2008 02:30:56 AM PDT
SAN RAMON — From where Army Sgt. Victor Thibeault sits these days, next to his wife and toddler on a new sofa in the couple's spotless San Ramon apartment, explosions and gunfire seem like bad dreams from another lifetime.
A quick glance at his partially amputated left hand reminds the 26-year-old decorated war veteran that the places he has been are real.
Thibeault is the latest beneficiary of Sentinels of Freedom, a 5-year-old program that sets up wounded veterans with housing, jobs and other aid when they return from overseas.
The mission of the Sentinels, started by local residents after the Sept. 11 terror attacks, is to honor vets with tangible benefits that will help them get on with their lives, founder Mike Conklin said."
"I got these guys to help me, but I got lucky. What if they hadn't been there?" Thibeault said with a shudder. "There's no way I could ever thank Mike and Peggy and the Blue Star Moms enough," referring to Conklin, his wife and her support group for military mothers.
Time 6:00 PM TO 8:00 PM
Monthly meeting of the Blue Star Mothers of America, Southeast Ohio Chapter #12. Military family members welcome.
Crossroads Public Library"
...Several veterans visited Congressman Murtha’s office to deliver their message and leave information. Identifying themselves as Marines, they asked Mr. Murtha’s staff if he could spare a moment to chat with them and answer a few questions. This simple request was rebuffed and not even a lowly staff member could make the time to talk to these members of our military. One can only speculate on who the Congressman had on his calendar that would not even allow a 3 minute conversation with Veterans to hear, firsthand, what is happening on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan. Perhaps his afternoon was filled with driving lessons for Senator Kennedy.
After the visit by the Marines, several Blue Star mothers also paid a visit to Murtha’s office to speak with the Congressman or a staff member. This request was similarly denied.
After expressing displeasure at their unwillingness to meet with constituents, the mothers left the building. The Congressman’s staff reaction to this four minute conversation was particularly ironic in light of Murtha’s harsh words about our military’s ability to handle stress.
As they left the building and returned to the Cannon building area, 4 Police cars with flashing lights pulled up and 7 Policeman surrounded one of the Blue Star Mothers and requested she step aside. They asked if she had been in the Rayburn Bldg and what was her business was. She explained that she sought an opportunity to speak with the Congressmen or one of his staff. The officers took her driver’s license and detained her for several minutes. She was told that Murtha’s office had called them because she was “disruptive.”
When asked for comment, Matt Mazonkey of Murtha’s office now claims, “She was never asked to leave our office, nor was she insulted by any member of our staff.” So, she was not asked to leave but police were called to detain her? She was not asked to leave but she became the recipient of a United States Congressman’s attempt to use the Capital Police to intimidate a citizen? Has Murtha and his staff spent a little too much time at the Clinton school of doublespeak?
At her moment of greatest joy, the Sioux City mother of two sons in the armed services recalled her moment of greatest dread.
Macrander and her husband Terry were set to pick up their son on July 25, 2007, in Waterloo, Iowa. Staff Sgt. Jonathan Macrander, 25, was returning from 22 months in Iraq. At 5:30 a.m., Macrander received a call from Baghdad. Her 21-year-old son, Army Spec. Mark Macrander, was coming out of surgery after being hit by an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) while on patrol.
'It was the longest four-and-a-half-hour drive of my life,' she said as tears welled up in her eyes and then coursed down her cheeks. 'I was absolutely numb.'
She wiped the tears with the side of her hand, put forth a brave smile and said: 'It would have been wonderful to call a Blue Star mom. It would have made all the difference.'"
Blue Star Mothers of America Inc. have sons and daughters who are serving or have served on active duty in one of the nation's military services. In 1942 hundreds of mothers of servicemen met in Flint, Mich., in response to a newspaper ad to initiate such a support group. That year the organization was reported on the Congressional record and Iowa was one of the charter states.
The Blue Star mothers provide support for one another when their sons and daughters are serving abroad, Macrander said."If you have never had a son or daughter in the military," she said, "you can't imagine what we go through."
Macrander had never heard of Blue Star Mothers until her own mother saw a newspaper article about the efforts of Jean Strunk of Knoxville, Iowa, the organization's president for the state of Iowa."I looked it up on the Internet and wrote to Jean the first part of July," Macrander said. "I found out she had two sons in the military and her husband was a retired serviceman."
"We're hoping to have enough moms to have five chapters in Iowa -- ones serving Northwest, northeast, southwest, southeast and central Iowa," she said.With a son as a member of the Iowa Army National Guard, Macrander said there is a support group available to her locally."The challenge occurred when Jonathan, who was with the 133rd Cav., was attached to the unit out of Waterloo in September of 2005," she said. "Then, my local support was gone."Family, and especially friends who don't have children serving in the armed forces, sometimes can't grasp the emotional turmoil, Macrander said.
"With another Blue Star mom, I can rant and rave and cry and know I that individual will not take what I say personally," she said. "They understand and they don't judge. The camaraderie is there."Membership dues are $10 a year.
Members receive a flag emblazoned with a blue star. The Macranders proudly display theirs in the window of their northside home.In addition to supporting one another, Blue Star mothers will participate in veterans' or Memorial Day services. They help with funerals when mothers receive the Gold Star banner signifying the loss of a son or daughter while he or she was serving in the military service, Macrander said, and will deliver the banner to the family.
"I remember driving up to a farmhouse and there was a flag on every fence post and then one flying in the yard at half staff," she said of one such delivery. "The pride that family had displayed in the midst of their loss was just overwhelming. I had to sit in the car for the longest time."
Want to know more?The Blue Star Mothers of America will have an informational meeting from 2 to 4 p.m., Saturday at the American Legion Hall, 1501 Geneva St.For more information, call president Jean Strunk in Knoxville, Iowa, at (641) 828-2196 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the organization's Web site at http://www.bluestarmothers.org/.
Sioux City Journal: Volunteer works to reinvigorate Blue Star Mothers:
“I am running for state representative to return common sense and responsibility to the Legislature. I believe state government must live within its means, just as our families do daily,” Lohmer said. “Massive tax increases, like the recently-passed transportation bill, will only slow the economy further.”
Lohmer has been active in the community for a number of years. Currently, she is involved with the Blue Star Moms, as one of her sons is serving in Iraq.
Lohmer has volunteered with a number of organizations, including a cancer support group at Lakeview Hospital in Stillwater, the Reach to Recovery Program and with the Spina Bifida Association of Minnesota. She has also organized and led various ministries at her church, Stillwater Evangelical Free Church.
The Lohmer family has owned and operated an investment management company in the area for 30 years.
She and her husband, Greg, a fourth-generation Stillwater resident, have four sons — three adult and a senior at Stillwater High School.
Bay Area Assemblyman Guy Houston's measure would suspend $3 million in transportation funds slated for Berkeley."
The Republican Assemblyman will hold a news conference at the Capitol with retired Marines and the group Blue Star Moms.
April 13, 20084/12/08 Farmingville, Long Island, NY
Veterans and Patriots gathered at Bald Hill in Farmingville, Long Island this morning to honor veterans of all wars and to pledge to protect and defend the honor of our troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan."
That blue star mom, as if not already buried under her own burdens, offered help to Lee and his wife! The courage and perseverance of those families and their commitment to supporting their deployed soldiers was a revelation.
Nearby, Blue Star Mothers member Jan O'Brien nervously watched the proceedings. O'Brien, whose stepson, Toby, is currently deployed in Iraq, said many relatives of soldiers need support like that afforded by her group.
"You can't help but take it personally," she said of the funeral. "It's so very personal. You just have to take care of each other."
Soldier remembered as a jester, leader www.rgj.com Reno Gazette-Journal:
April 18, 2008Albany Area - 28th Annual Armed Forces Military Ball
Honoring our Blue Star Mothers
When: Saturday, May 10, 7pm-10pm
Where: The Italian American Community Center
257 Washington Ave. Ext.
Albany, NY 12205
Donation: $32 per person
Proceeds will go to:
Vet Care Inc./The Fisher House"
LEOMINSTER - The Montachusett Chorale will perform at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 27, in Tata Auditorium, Leominster City Hall, 25 West St. Tickets are $12, $15 at the door (under 18 admitted free). Proceeds from this concert will benefit the Blue Star Mothers Massachusetts Chapter 1."
April 17, 2008The New York State Gold Star Mothers are holding their annual convention in Albany on April 17, 18 and 19th, at the Hilton Garden Inn at New Scotland and Holland Avenues across from the Albany Medical Center."
Sosbe said the group held its initial Freedom Walk two years ago and it was well-received, drawing about 150 to 200 walkers. Unfortunately, Indiana Chapter 3 shrunk in size last year so the event was not held.
The group’s membership has soared this year so the Freedom Walk should be held again.Gayle Sosbe, the president of Blue Star Hoosier Mothers, Indiana Chapter 3, told the Crawfordsville Board of Works on Wednesday that her group would like to hold a Freedom Walk on Sept. 6 at Milligan Park.
Sosbe said the group held its initial Freedom Walk two years ago and it was well-received, drawing about 150 to 200 walkers. Unfortunately, Indiana Chapter 3 shrunk in size last year so the event was not held.
The group’s membership has soared this year so the Freedom Walk should be held again."
This campaign is a completely different experience for McCain from 2000, when her husband ran on what was essentially a good-government platform. This time the political debate has been focused on war while the McCains' son Jimmy has been in combat overseas. Everything about the race has been personal."
I was scared to death for him. Any mother is. And each day, we would go someplace and of course, usually there was a parent or parents there of a fallen hero," she said. "To me, it was a constant reminder of what could happen."Throughout Jimmy's deployment, Cindy McCain kept her BlackBerry close at hand. "She slept with that phone attached to her wrist," said her close friend Sharon Harper. "She never knew when he would call, and she just waited for it.
"Once, while riding the bus in Florida during the primary there, McCain set her phone to vibrate and put it in her lap. When she looked down a little while later, she realized that she had missed Jimmy's call and burst into tears.
Each day on the campaign trail, McCain has worn her Blue Star pin — a replica of the Blue Star flag—worn by mothers of children who are on active duty in theater. She alternated a second pin, wearing a USMC or a Navy pin for the military branches her sons serve in."
April 09, 2008
The Sand Springs chapter of the Blue Star Mothers is running low on supplies it sends to American servicemen and women overseas.
Each month the organizations ships boxes of personal care"
Blue Star Moms seek gifts for troops:
Blue Star Mothers is a non-profit organization in support of our troops and their families. One of the missions of this group is to seek out and help families, especially mothers, to get them through this stressful time.
Anyone can join Blue Star Mothers; it isn't just for mothers. Churches, members of the community, family, friends, veterans or anyone can join to show your support.
For information contact Bobby Weaver at (317) 724-1505 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
We invite everyone who would like to join or get more information to join us at a meeting on May 17. The meeting will be at 2 p.m. at Cornerstone Church, 1107 Ridge St., Richmond.
Let's support our troops and their families and make them proud of Richmond's support."
"I BELONG to a group that no one wants to join. The price is too high -- the life of your child.
That's what it takes to become a Gold Star Mother or Father, and no parent on earth wants to pay that price.
More specifically, it means that you've lost a child in service to our country. My son, Dan, was shot down in Afghanistan in June 2005 during a rescue operation. From that day forward, my world has been colored differently and can never turn back to its previous hue."
UnionLeader.com - New Hampshire news - Natalie Healy: What is a Gold Star Mother? Let me tell you - Thursday, Apr. 3, 2008:
...Jo Sprinkle of the local chapter of Blue Star Mothers of America, a support group for the mothers of active duty soldiers, said sending everyday gifts also can help families cope with having a loved one sent to fight overseas.
More... Group ships coffee to soldiers www.rgj.com Reno Gazette-Journal:
By JODI BROCK
A collection drive to help provide calling cards to soldiers stationed overseas was a huge success, according to one of the organizers Rich Blackburn of Liberty Tax Service in Centerville.
Liberty Tax Service and members of the Blue Star Mothers, Miami Valley Chapter recently spent a day collecting more than 1,000 phones from more than 300 people. Both groups wanted to thank the community for their generosity. Because of the effort, Liberty Tax was able to give an initial distribution of 200 international calling cards to the Blue Star Mothers, so that they in turn can give those cards to the troops to use to call back home. Blackburn said more cards are forthcoming."
More... Community supports soldiers in phone drive:
Local Family Supports War on Terror
BSM Video -- Nevada
One Las Vegas family says they support our troops and their cause. Their support comes after 4,000 Americans have died fighting the war. Action News spoke to the family about their cause.
Local Guest Columnist
“Each time a person stands for an ideal or acts to improve the lot of others, that person sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”
— Robert F. Kennedy
In an e-mail from Jerry Jacobi, the above quote was used to describe this month’s two Extra Milers — Vanessa Coulter and Trish Williams. Both women are members of Blue Star Mothers, a national nonprofit group of women whose sons and daughters have served in the military."
“When I saw Vanessa and Trish clutching their candles to shield the tiny flames from the wind, I realized why the [recent military] prayer vigil was important to the community,” Jacobi went on to say. “By standing for an ideal and working to improve the lot of others, these Blue Star Mothers sent forth a tiny ripple of hope referred to in Robert Kennedy’s 1966 speech.”
Vanessa is a two Blue Star Mother, while Trish is a three Blue Star Mother. Each star represents children who currently serve or have honorably served in the military. The group's mission is to promote patriotism throughout the country.On March 21, Vanessa and Trish certainly succeeded in promoting patriotism by coordinating activities and working 17 straight hours disseminating support information at the Jeffersonville Wall of Honor along East Market Street, collecting donations and honoring the men and women who serve in the military.
The day culminated in a powerful prayer vigil, led by the Rev. Bruce Barkhauer, with the intent of encouraging Southern Indiana to support deployed and returning troops throughout the year, not just during the holidays. It was a day Vanessa, president of Southern Indiana Blue Star Mothers, had dreamed of for two years, imagining the impact it would have in the community. Southern Indiana citizens responded throughout the day by honking, waving and giving the thumbs-up.
Several men stopped by to talk about previous wars and Don Herrold, chaplain of VFW Post No. 1832, stopped by to offer military and U.S. flags to be placed on the Wall of Honor. Herrold attached each flag to the wall with care, stating, “It’s really windy today and I don’t want any of them to touch the ground.” Despite medical concerns, which should have prohibited Vanessa from standing throughout the day, she stood anyway.
All who approached the table were greeted with a smile and handshake. If the person was military (or had a military background), they received a heartfelt thank you from both Vanessa and Trish, sometimes served with a loving bear hug. The activities and prayer vigil also impacted the military families. Several pregnant wives visited the Wall of Honor.
One young woman appeared tentative as she walked up with her mother and young son. She indicated her baby was due in a couple of months and when asked when her husband would be returning, her face became filled with concern as she replied, “My husband will be home when our baby is about 7 months old.” She had come to the wall to feel a connection to the community and a connection to her husband so very far away. She held her candle and prayed, as so many did that windy night, for the safe return of her loved one. Vanessa and Trish asked families to leave personal mementos at the Wall of Honor for public viewing.
Many of those who came to pray with the community also walked up the small hill to place photos, mementos, and yellow ribbons on the blue stars hanging on the wall. Later, I started reading some of the sentiments written on the yellow ribbons, but quickly found them to be too emotional, too painful, too personal. Since the vigil, the Wall of Honor has become a particularly special place for military personnel and their families.
Blue Star Mothers were packing up the tables and chairs when they noticed some of the ribbons blowing off from the strong night wind and quickly gathered them together with a sense of urgency, reattaching each one with a stronger hold. Our Extra Milers responded to the ribbons as they respond to our troops — with a sense of urgency to honor their sacrifice, by caring for the family and friends they have left behind and by holding them tight in their hearts.
Vanessa Coulter had a dream that she could ease the pain of family and friends who have been left behind. Trish Williams and friends helped her to make it happen. Thank you, Blue Star Mothers, for going above and beyond and for being Southern Indiana Extra Milers.
More...The News and Tribune - EXTRA MILER: Military mothers unite community with vigil:
Saturday, April 12, 2008
A few weeks ago, several groups of people banded together to “protest” the death of 4,000 of our soldiers in the war on terror in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the world. For several weeks beforehand they watched as the numbers crept up, looking for the death that would signal the symbolic turn to 4,000.
For their protest march, which actually comprised a number of different grievances all gathered for one rally and parade, they placed little crosses in the ground to symbolize each of those lost protecting our freedom.
We support their right to gather, their right to discuss and their right to disagree; after all, it is our sons and daughters who are fighting in every corner of the globe so that they can have that right. What we find unacceptable is the group’s hijacking of our children’s service and memories to promote their protest, a protest that most of us strongly disagree with. Do they have the permission from each of the families of the fallen to use their child’s name and memory? Do they really believe that those families and those sons and daughters want their sacrifices used for propaganda that cheapens what they have given?
No one grieves more than a mother for a child who has made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom, and no one has the right to cheapen or waste that sacrifice by using the deaths of our children for their propaganda. Our children are our blessings, our pride and our joy. We are the Blue Star Mothers, the proud mothers of children who have volunteered to serve our country. We have our shared memories of raising our children, we pray for them daily no matter where they are. We are the ones who wait for phone calls, letters and e-mails, and who rush to locations across the country to welcome them home, whether it is safely into our arms, for healing in a hospital or to lay them gently in the ground.
The men and women who serve are not a tool for protests. They are not a number to be discussed and argued over. They are serving a noble purpose. Those who say they support the troops but disagree with the war should change their tactics. Our children will come home when the job is done. Let’s support them to get the job done. Instead of rallies of protest, why not gather cards and letters of support, simple but necessary supplies that our troops need, food items, etc., and bring them to Blue Star Moms to send overseas. Instead of protesting on a corner, hold a car wash and use the money to purchase needed equipment in a rehab facility. Instead of signs of protest, fly signs reminding people of what you are grateful for that our country offers — that will stop traffic! Look for the similarities, not always the differences, that make us the United States of America.
Fly your flag, celebrate that all of us in America have the freedom to choose, and then, please pray for our children who have chosen to defend the freedom for all of us.
Grand Valley Blue Star Mothers, Colorado Chapter #4
Anne Marie Boden,
Grand Junction Free Press - Letters to the Editor: "Pray instead of protest"
See also Mothers of Veterans take Exception to War Protests
Friday, April 11, 2008
Betty Jane Lane, left, and Diane Simmons share a laugh in Lake Elsinore. Lane is co-founder of the Lake Elsinore chapter of the Blue Star Mothers of America. The chapter was involved with volunteer service at local veterans hospitals and veterans groups.
"By AARON BURGIN
For years, Betty Jane Lane thought she was the end of an era of patriotic service.
Lane, the co-founder of the Lake Elsinore chapter of the Blue Star Mothers of America, had tried to find her former club mates with no success.
'I thought I was the last one left,' said Lane, now 90."
Patriotic heritage fuels and adorns surprise reunion Riverside County PE.com Southern California News News for Inland Southern California:
I am a Blue Star Mother
I am the mother of a soldier
in the United States Army.
He gave me my title.
I will give him a heart full of wonder
at his accomplishments
and a voice that praises his desire to serve.
I will place my faith
in his military training
and in God's protection.
I will give him the prayers that will follow him
where I cannot.
I will be strong when I want to cry
and brave when I want to cower.
He will know I am behind him
every step of the way
because I bear the title
Mother of a United States Soldier.
by Josh Boatwright
published April 2, 2008 12:15 am
Read all 19 comments » e-mail this Print this
BLACK MOUNTAIN – Mourners and sympathizers from across the state gathered Tuesday to honor a National Guardsman killed in Iraq.
They hoisted flags along U.S. 70 as a funeral procession escorted the body of Sgt. Thomas Ray to be buried at the Western North Carolina State Veterans Cemetery in Black Mountain."
A group of military mothers called the WNC Blue Star Mothers also attended
the burial, giving Ray’s family a banner with a gold star representing their
More...At Guardsman’s funeral, family gets words and gestures of support NEWS Asheville CITIZEN-TIMES.com:
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, April 11, 2008 – Servicemembers’ friends and families living in west-central California have a shoulder to lean on if they should need it.
“Our group offers a supportive environment for family members, primarily moms, of service personnel,” said Tammy Callahan, president of the Delta Blue Star Moms, based in Knightsen, Calif. “It is most difficult dealing with the fact that your child is serving far away and often in harm’s way. “The support we offer each other is invaluable,” she added. The Delta Blue Star Moms, an official chapter of the national Blue Star Mothers of America organization, is a service and support group for families and friends of U.S. military personnel. Its main mission, however, is to support the troops with care packages and cards or letters of encouragement, Callahan said. “Throughout the year, we participate in various fundraisers -- garage sales, etc. -- which allow us to cover postage expenses for our care packages,” she said. “Most of the items we ship in the care packages [are donated], but we are always in need of help to defray postage costs.” Delta Blue Star Moms recently became a supporter of America Supports You, a Defense Department program connecting citizens and companies with servicemembers and their families serving at home and abroad. Blue Star Mothers of America also is a supporter of the Defense Department program. "
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
By Margo Rutledge Kissell Friday, March 21, 2008, 10:51 AM
Here’s an update on this story from Beverly Peyton, president of Blue Star Mothers of America, Miami Valley Chapter 3:
“I just knew if you did something about the cell phones that the public would respond and boy, oh boy, did they respond! I bet you we got over a thousand phones! “
By Margo Rutledge Kissell
Blue Star Mothers of America, Miami Valley Chapter 3, is collecting old cell phones to be exchanged for phone cards for the troops."
More...Old cell phones bring phone cards to troops On the Homefront:
“It touched the heart,” said James Nappier, who was in the Marines in the 1970s and the U.S. Navy from 2001 until he retired in 2005. “This whole trip is a welcome home these guys deserve. Vietnam vets didn’t get a welcome home. I remember those days, but they laid down the pathway and swore it would never happen again and they’ve kept their promise,”
Nappier, who was disabled by a 120 mm mortar, is one of more than a dozen service members who are spending the week in Telluride with friends and family on an all-expense-paid trip provided by American Eagle Airlines and the Telluride Adaptive Sports Program.
Service groups from all over the Western Slope including the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, Blue Star Mothers and the Patriot Guard Riders, came to show their respect Tuesday as the soldiers departed their plane. People cheered and waved American flags; they hugged, thanked and cried.
Member of the Blue Star Mothers Anna Boden said she’ll never forget. Her
son joined the military at 20 years old; he was welcomed home just weeks
ago.“It’s my honor to be here for them. It’s the least I can do for what they’ve
seen, been through and will go through,” she said. “There are things they’ll
live with the rest of their life, branded with nightmares. That’s why we should
support them. Whether I agree with President Bush or not, it doesn’t
More...News : A show of respect (Montrose, CO):
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Mar. 28, 2008 12:00 AM
They were part of the largest deployment for the Arizona National Guard since World War II. They had been in Afghanistan for a year.
This week, they came home.
About 100 members of the 1st Battalion, 158th Infantry Regiment began returning to Arizona on Thursday."