Showing posts with label Gold Star Mom. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gold Star Mom. Show all posts

Monday, February 18, 2019

Four Chaplains Brotherhood Award for Gold Star Mom

Duty Calls: Minister earns Four Chaplains Brotherhood Award

Times Union
Terry Brown
February 17, 2019
She is also a Gold Star mother of Army Staff Sgt. Thomas Robbins, who died in action in Iraq on Feb. 9, 2004, attempting to save the lives of his soldiers during a mortar explosion while serving with Troop A, 1st Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment (Stryker) near Mosul, Iraq.
The Rev. Charlene Robbins of Delmar, a Gold Star mother active in veterans circles, has been selected to receive the 54th annual Four Chaplains Brotherhood Award from the Albany Post 105 of Jewish War Veterans.

Robbins will receive the award during a Four Chaplains Award and Remembrance ceremony at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at the First Reformed Church, 8 N. Church St., Schenectady.

The Rev. Charlene Robbins of Delmar, a Gold Star mother active in veterans circles, has been selected to receive the 54th annual Four Chaplains Brotherhood Award from the Albany Post 105 of Jewish War Veterans.

Robbins will receive the award during a Four Chaplains Award and Remembrance ceremony at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at the First Reformed Church, 8 N. Church St., Schenectady.

The honor commemorates the sacrifice four military chaplains made after a German submarine torpedoed the USS Dorchester, a troop ship, on Feb. 3, 1943, off the coast of Greenland.

One of the four was Army Chaplain 1st Lt. Clark Poling, who ministered at the First Reformed Church just before he enlisted.

The other chaplains were 1st Lt. Alexander Goode, a Jewish rabbi; 1st Lt. George Fox, a Methodist minister; and 1st Lt. John Washington, a Catholic priest.
"Charlene inspires us in her devotion to others, and in particular her focus on serving veteran organizations," said Fred Altman, Post 105 commander. "As a Gold Star mother, Charlene stands among our veterans as a cherished and honored family member. Her sympathy and enthusiasm to give back to the many veteran groups and causes is a shining example of the commitment to others that the Four Chaplains gave their lives for."
read more here

Friday, March 9, 2018

Gold Star Mom searches for stolen truck

Fallen soldier's mom searches for missing truck with distinct license plates
March 8, 2018

On top of the distinct license plates, she said her maroon 2003 Chevy Silverado HD 2500 Duramax diesel truck had no tail gate, a blue nylon web net on the back, tinted windows, a tool box, and a fallen soldiers symbol on the rear passenger side window.
MARYSVILLE, Wash. -- The mother of a fallen soldier is on a desperate search to find her missing truck that was stolen from her Marysville home.

"This was him at 4 years old wearing his dad’s flak vest and helmet. ‘Cause he wanted to be in the military all his whole life," Donna Woods said while looking at photos of her son Jake.

Vivid memories, photos, and a few keepsakes are all Woods has of him.

In 2009, she lost Jake to suicide just a couple of years after he joined the U.S. Army, she said. He was stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

"He went to Afghanistan, they made him a gunner, and he came home from Afghanistan, bought himself a fancy sports car and then 6 weeks later killed himself," Woods said.
read more here

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Too Late For Trump To Be Sorry?

Donald Trump said a lot of things that most of the veterans community find disturbing. From saying "I like people who weren't captured" going after John McCain, but insulted all POW's in the process.
Trump said "the military will do what I tell them to"

Trump said he was donating $6 million to veterans but,
More than a month later, about half of the money, roughly $3 million, has been donated to veterans’ charities, according to a summary released Thursday by the Trump campaign in response to inquiries from The Washington Post.

We also had the Purple Heart issue
Trump added that it was “such an honor” and invited Dorfman to join him on the stage. But Trump saying that he “always wanted” to get the Purple Heart has generated a backlash among some veterans, who said that no one seeks a Purple Heart, which is given to those who are wounded or killed in combat.

The fact is, there have too many times when Trump showed disrespect for far too many and that is the most troubling thing of all. The job he wants includes being Commander-in-Chief but he does not seem all that interested in learning a damn thing about service members or veterans. It very well may be a case of too late to say he's sorry but it is not too late for him to learn just enough to understand why he hurt so many.
Military families to Trump: Apologize for comments to Khans (+video)
Associated Press

By Jennifer McDermott and Seanna Adcox
AUGUST 2, 2016

Trump has been engaged in an emotionally charged feud with Khizr and Ghazala Khan, whose son was killed in Iraq by a suicide bomber in 2004. Their sons were killed in Iraq about a week apart.

So when Karen Meredith heard the grieving parents of a decorated Muslim Army officer being belittled by Donald Trump, she cried.

Meredith said she hadn't wept over her son's death for a long time, but the Republican presidential nominee "ripped the wounds right open again."

"You don't attack one Gold Star family, because if you do, you're attacking a lot of us," Meredith, 62, of Mountain View, California, said Monday.

Trump has been engaged in an emotionally charged feud with Khizr and Ghazala Khan, whose son, Capt. Humayun Khan, was killed in Iraq by a suicide bomber on June 8, 2004. Trump stoked outrage by implying that Ghazala Khan did not speak while standing alongside her husband at last week's Democratic convention because of their Muslim faith. And he disputed their right to question his grasp of the Constitution.

Some of America's Gold Star families, or those who lost loved ones in war, have demanded that Trump apologize.
read more here

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Nadia McCaffrey Gold Star Mom On Trump Attacking Another Mom

Nadia McCaffrey is a friend of mine and has been a champion for military, veterans and families ever since her son Patrick was killed in action. Very, very proud of her. 

One of the Gold Star mothers who signed an open letter to Donald Trump says the GOP presidential candidate's criticism of Humayun Khan's mother was "out of place."

What if Capt. Khan's Mom Was Your Mom?

Massachusetts Congressman, Veteran Lashes Out at Donald Trump
Beacon Hill Patch
By Alison Bauter (Patch Staff)
August 2, 2016

"As a veteran, I can't imagine what it would be like if Donald Trump treated my mom that way." Rep. Seth Moulton

U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton had harsh words for Trump in light of the GOP nominee's attacks on Gold Star Khan family.

Massachusetts Congressman Seth Moulton had those and other withering words for Donald Trump Tuesday, joining a bipartisan barrage of condemnation in the wake of the Republican presidential nominee's comments toward a family whose son died serving in Iraq.

Trump has been taking heavy fire since critiquing Khizr and Ghazala Khan, Gold Star parents of Army Capt. Humayun Khan, who was killed while serving in Iraq by a car bomber. Khizr Khan spoke against the GOP nominee at this year's Democratic National Convention, prompting harsh words in return from Trump.

Khan and his wife have both condemned Trump, saying he "knows nothing of sacrifice."
read more here

Friday, September 4, 2015

Gold Star Mom's 8 Years of Hell From Lies About Son's Last Day

A soldier's war lie unravels 8 years later, opening old wounds
Stars and Stripes
By Travis J. Tritten
Published: September 3, 2015

Sgt. Christopher Wilson’s mother had no reason to distrust the soldier and his vivid story of her son’s death in Afghanistan.

Spc. Brandon Garrison found her in the dark days afterward and provided the details — the details a mother fears but needs — of Wilson’s last moments after a Taliban attack in Korengal Valley in March 2007.

The futile attempt to save Wilson, the blood, the coldness of imminent death. It was all there in Garrison’s account, and he provided the memories she clung to for years.

“I just needed to know. It is a knife wound so deep you just have to know every aspect or you can’t breathe,” Wilson’s mother, Ilka Halliday said.

Except none of it was true.

Garrison’s war lies are unraveling, eight years later, after soldiers who were with Wilson when he died came forward.

Garrison was not by Wilson’s side when he died, and had instead spent his Afghanistan deployment inside the wire as a vehicle parts clerk.

The false story of the infantry soldier’s death has exposed the pain such deceit can cause for survivors. For Wilson’s mother and his family, the sting of lies and loss has not been diminished by the passing of years.
For the past eight years, Halliday believed Garrison’s story about her son’s death. She wants him to tell her he lied.

“I would like him to look me in the eyes the same way he looked me in the eyes when he told me my son died in his arms,” she said.

Sometimes there is anger. The sunglasses — he could not even take off his sunglasses for the television apology, she said. Or say Christopher’s name. Once a simple phone call would have been enough, though not now.

Halliday said she is trying to find reasons not to hate Garrison, and she cannot believe he lied to her out of malice. She remembers the “sweet boy” she knew during 2007, the worst year of her life. She remembers the Garrison whom she said named his baby son after Christopher.

“I realize he is sick,” she said. “I knew that he had mental issues due to what he had gone through. … I took him into my heart because I had no reason not to trust him.”

As a mother who lost a soldier son, it is hard to stop caring for others wounded in the war.

“I don’t want his life to go straight down the toilet,” Halliday said. “I don’t want another life to be destroyed.”

But the ordeal has reopened a painful, barely closed wound for Wilson’s family.

“She said to me, ‘It’s been eight years that I’ve been in hell,’ ” said Katrina Evans, Wilson’s sister and Halliday’s stepdaughter.

Evans, who lives in Florida and is married to a disabled veteran, said she sent Garrison a message on Facebook calling him out. He blocked her, too.

Wilson’s grave marker at Arlington National Cemetery. COURTESY OF SHANE WILKINSON
The TV news camera panned up the length of Garrison as he stood leaning on a cane in February 2015 near his home in the Kansas City area. A local nonprofit had rushed an Austrian Shepherd service dog named Taz to the disabled veteran’s side for emergency support to help him cope with his war injuries and the recent death of his father, who was also his caretaker.

The donation was part of the local outpouring for the young veteran. In 2014, Garrison stood in front of a crowd of 50,000 gathered for a Memorial Day celebration at Kansas City’s Union Station to accept the keys to a donated home. It was given through a program to house veterans called Roofs for Troops run by the nonprofit Nehemiah Community Reinvestment Fund, which did not return requests for comment.

He was handed a big paper key as a symbol of the community’s support for his military service.

“Remembering all the people who have lost their lives,” Garrison said at the time when asked by a local news crew what the day meant to him.

The dog, house and attention came as Garrison began speaking publicly about his PTSD and the raft of ailments he suffered following his return from Afghanistan, including TBI that caused bouts of vertigo.
read more here

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Vandals Destroy Fallen Soldier's Home, Team Rubicon Restores Honor

Gold Star Mom's Mission to Remodel Vandalized Home
By: Katie Pelton
Jun 12, 2015
Now several groups and volunteers are stepping up to give back, including Team Rubicon, a non-profit that responds to disasters.

A Gold Star Mom who lost her son in Iraq is furious about what vandals did to his home. Now she's on a mission to fix it.

Vandals have repeatedly broken into the Fountain home over the last six years since he was killed. But soon the house will feel like a home again, thanks to one mother's love and determination.

Last time Becky Johnson was in the home was in 2008.

"When he left on his last deployment," said Johnson. "I flew out here to see him off."

That's when her son, SSgt. Gary Lee Woods Jr. was last deployed. The 24 year-old was killed by a suicide bomber in April 2009 in Iraq.

Becky is a Gold Star Mother, which is an organization for mothers who lost a son or daughter in service. She and her husband, Pat live in Indiana. They both came down to clean up the house.

"My goal is to get this house back into the shape that it was before he left when he lived here," said Johnson.

Spray paint litters the walls after vandals broke in over the past couple years and destroyed the home.

"They shouldn't have came in here and did this to his house," said Johnson. "He deserved better than that."
read more here

Monday, October 6, 2014

Son's Suicide Made Her a Gold Star Mom

Military families cope with suicides
In December, 2008, LaDart married his girlfriend, with whom he would later have a son.

Deemed by the Army to be fit for service, LaDart began helicopter mechanic training at Fort Eustis in Virginia. His problems continued to the point that he was disciplined and demoted. He then referred himself to military behavioral health providers, who once again diagnosed him with PTSD and ADHD and started a treatment program. The Army then sent him to Germany as a tactical vehicle driver.

Things continued to deteriorate, though. LaDart threatened a superior. He expressed thoughts of killing himself and others and told his commander that he tried suicide before, Army records say. But under what the Army calls "intense care," LaDart's mental health improved. He was promoted to specialist and won the Soldier of the Month competition.

"Absent PTSD symptoms, he was returned to duty," Army records show.

Things started looking up for LaDart. He was assigned to Ft. Belvoir in Virginia in September 2011. In April 2012, he completed the Army Warrior Leadership Course, "an important developmental career step," according to the Army. But a few weeks later, his life cratered again.

A domestic dispute with his wife led to his removal from the home. A protective order was issued against him and the Army considered more discipline. His commander requested a mental health evaluation. Medical officials at the fort's hospital reviewed LaDart's recent mental evaluation and determined he was not a threat to himself or others. He kept his next mental health appointment on May 29, 2012, made no mention of suicide and talked about the future.

On June 4, LaDart arrived at work "without any outward display of distress," Army records say. "He returned to his family quarters during lunch and had a phone conversation with his wife in Louisiana. Tragically, David hanged himself in the garage without leaving a suicide note."

He was 25.

The news arrived in Florida at 3 p.m.

Debbie McLean was driving home from work when she got the call from her son's mother-in-law that LaDart killed himself.

"I had a mental breakdown in my vehicle," she says. "I am surprised I didn't walk into traffic."

McLean says she knew her son was having difficulty and was separated from his wife. But she didn't know of the PTSD diagnosis or the suicidal thoughts.

"I knew nothing," she says."I just knew he was dead."

The suicide sent McLean into a downward spiral. "I went into my own hole," she says. "It was like someone took away my whole world. Everything I believed in."

Adding to her misery, her son was placed in a casket in a sergeant's uniform, but before being transported to Louisiana, the Army realized he had been promoted in error and ordered his uniform changed, shocking the family during the viewing.

It was all more than McLean could handle. Depressed, she was prescribed Zoloft, Xanax and sleeping medications. At one point, she was involuntarily committed under the state's Baker Act.

McLean says she wasn't suicidal, but "I have thoughts of wanting to be with my son. A longing to be with my son. What mother who loves her son would not?"

From David Isaiah LaDart Healing of the Wounded Spirit

During that time I had suffered a TBI and PTSD due to a head injury, I received care in WTU Wurzburg, Germany for which I was declared 80% disabled, the Army Chief of Staff, General Ray Odierno, told my mother, Debbie McLean, Jan 3, 2014, that I should have been Med Boarded, Hospitalized and sent on for my VA benefits and SSD benefits, to go on to live life, as best as possible, not be told that I could sign and be put back 0% and go back to Full Duty!!! Me being the gung ho Soldier I was, wanting to go back to war! There was a mistake!

How can a Soldier, or anyone suffering PTSD/TBI expect that they can make a decision such as this, that may affect your life, your families life, I want to know how do they expect someone in a mental state make these type of decisions?????

Debbie sent a copy of the letter she read during the ceremony,
Debbie May McLean
From the Mouth of An Amazing Daughter In Law!
Titled:I love you more.

My husband and I met in December 2007 while he was on R&R from Iraq. I wanted nothing to do with him at first because in my mind what soldier comes home for R&R looking to meet his soul mate? He spotted me out of a room full of people, and since his sister knew me she insisted on introducing us. Thankfully she did because the man that I initially shot down became my first love, future husband and father to my child.

When he returned to Iraq we talked every chance we could. He got home in late June 2008 and his sister and I drove to his parent’s lake house in Georgia to spend 4th of July together. I was already smitten but after 4 amazing days together I was in love. It’s important to know that I had never spoken those words in any other relationship, even when they were said to me. He told me that he was going to make me fall in love with him, and he did.

It was fast. He was stationed in Georgia for a short time before going to Virginia for school. He came to Louisiana a few times and I went to Virginia twice. We were head over heels in love. We got engaged in September. He decided to sell his motorcycle so I rode with him. Once it was sold he drove me to the mall. He walked me straight into a jewelry store and said “I love you more than anything and I want to you to be my wife. Pick one.”

Dave started suffering from PTSD a few months after he returned home from Iraq. He battled nightmares that were so realistic I woke up in chokeholds. He hated crowds and loud noises. He was angry and quick tempered. We sought help together and separately and in August of 2010 we welcomed a beautiful little boy into the world. My husband was on cloud 9.

The therapy and medication combination seemed to be helping, he was coping and we were a happy family. We PCS’ed to Virginia in September of 2011. He was in a different MOS and because he couldn’t fly on his medication his flight doctor decided to prescribe him something different. For months I asked how it was working and he assured me that he was fine. In early May of 2012 while my husband was away at WLC I stumbled upon an article online about Taryn Davis and the American Widow Project. The article left me with chills and an uneasy feeling in my stomach. I couldn’t fathom the pain that she and so many others went through in the wake of losing their husbands. I tried to imagine what I would do if it ever happened to me but I couldn’t.

I couldn’t picture my life without my best friend. The man I fell asleep next to every night and woke up next to every morning. The same man who shared a bowl of cereal with our son while they watched cartoons together. The man who could pick me up over his head even after I ate too many donuts. The strongest man I knew. The man who told me a hundred times a day how much he loved me. The man who promised we would spend the rest of our lives together. But on June 4, 2012 spending the rest of OUR lives together was no longer a reality, because he ended his. We were on the phone when he did it.

I hung up and called the police in Virginia and 6 hours later I was staring at 2 men in uniform standing in front of me reciting the most feared of all words when you are a military spouse “On behalf of the Secretary of Defense, we regret to inform you…” At 24 years old I was a widow and a single mother.

I used to lay with my head on my husband’s chest, listening to his heart beat because I never knew when I might not have the chance to hear it again. It still didn’t prepare me for the day that I wouldn’t. I am now one of the women I read about in the article just weeks before my husband died. I am a military widow, and as much as I hate the circumstances that have brought us together I am absolutely certain that I couldn’t find myself amongst a stronger, more compassionate group of women. from the Mouth of an Amazing Daughter In Law!
American Gold Star Mother, Debbie McLean

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Military moms honor family at Virginia War Memorial

Military moms honor family at Virginia War Memorial
NBC News 12
Posted: Dec 01, 2012
By Tayleigh Davis

Dozens of military moms were at the Virginia War Memorial, decorating a very special Christmas tree. It's a tribute made possible by the Blue Star families military service organization.

"We understand what that mother is feeling without even saying a word," said Blue Star Mom, Teresa Sumners."

Sumners and about 40 other moms proudly hung ornaments on this hero tree - a reflection of pride and honor. Sumner's oldest son served four years in the army and her youngest was in the National Guard.

The women here decorated an ornament - each one with a special meaning. Whether they have children who are enlisted, in the reserves, or died while serving - they can all connect on a common ground.

"We can talk about things no one else wants to hear anymore about our children and we do," said Eileen Osmolski. "We might share the same story over and over again. It doesn't matter because we understand and we have these same feelings."
read more here and see video

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Boots on the Ground - America Remembers

7000 Boots
"Boots on the Ground - America Remembers"
Fernandina Beach, Florida
Saturday, October 27th 2012
Two years ago the Patriot Guard Riders stood for Fallen Hero (KIA) SPC Kelly Mixon.

Today, Kelly's Gold Star Mother Julie has requested the Patriot Guard Riders participation in the celebration of "Boots on the Ground." This is a 1.5 mile presentation of Fallen Heroes Boots symbolizing the sacrifice of America's Fallen Warriors. In conjunction with the "Boots on the Ground" presentation in Downtown Fernandina Beach, there will be the First Annual 5K, 10K Heroes Run where the PGR has been asked to stand a Flag Line honoring those runningand walking for those who have fallen.

The Heroes Run motto is - "They fought to keep us safe, we run for all they gave!"

Walk or drive along 1.5 miles of "Boots on the Ground" stretching from the corner of Historic Downtown Fernandina Beach to the Atlantic Ocean. A memorial of over 7,000 Boots, Pictures, and Flags honoring the brave Firefighters, Police Officers of 9-11 and Fallen OIF-OEF U.S. Service Members.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Gold Star Moms group helps local women cope

Gold Star Moms group helps local women cope with their military sons' deaths
Jul 4, 2012
Written by
Jennifer Bowman
The Enquirer

Six years ago, Vicki Dickinson’s phone rang. It was her daughter-in-law. “She said, ‘The chaplain is here.’ And I knew what that meant,” said Dickinson, a Battle Creek resident. “I hung up with her and I couldn’t breathe.” Dickinson’s son, Michael, was serving in the U.S. Army when he was killed in Iraq by a sniper in 2006. The 26-year-old was on his fifth tour and was supposed to return home just nine days later.

“You lose a piece of you,” Vicki Dickinson said. “It’s gone, and it doesn’t come back.”

Other Gold Star Moms are familiar with the feeling.

Emily Hansen, an Athens resident, said she was at work when she was escorted to the building’s human resources department in 2010. There, she was told that her 25-year-old son, Jimmy Hansen, had been killed on a base in Iraq while serving in the U.S. Air Force.

“I wanted to walk out the door,” she said, “but they shut it on me.”
read more here

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Veterans can heal and find purpose at Eagle’s Nest

Veterans can heal and find purpose at Eagle’s Nest, opening in August
Eagle’s Nest national veterans community will open in August in Sauk Centre, providing a place for veterans of any age to heal with honor. Pictured above are (from left): Vietnam veteran Mike Weisser, family member Cindy Anderson, Blue Star mom Melony Butler, Gold Star mom Dorothy Sills and family member Pam Hyatt.
By Jennie Zeitler
Staff Writer
Dairyland Peach
Patrick McCaffrey gave his life for his country while deployed to Iraq. His mother, Nadia, founded the Patrick McCaffrey Foundation to honor her son by helping veterans find resources to heal.

Eagle’s Nest was the vision of Melony Butler, military wife and Blue Star mother of three soldiers. That vision can be traced to a promise Butler made to her stepfather when she was 12 years old.

“He was a Vietnam veteran and I promised I would not let other veterans suffer by not having the resources they needed to heal,” Butler said.

That promise was reinforced after one of Butler’s sons returned from Iraq suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), suicidal, and unable to find help.
read more here

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Gold Star Moms helping others Mother's Day and everyday

Gold Star Mothers continue the service of their fallen children
Maryland chapter, revived during decade of war, dedicate themselves to active duty personnel, veterans
By Matthew Hay Brown
The Baltimore Sun
May 12, 2012

BETHESDA — A mother arrives at the Red Cross office at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on a mission for her son, a 23-year-old soldier and double amputee. He needs a back scratcher.

With her bright eyes and wide smile, volunteer Janice Chance gives her that and more — a reassuring rub on the arm and an offer to do anything else she can for the soldier, who is visiting the hospital for tests.

In a sense, Chance is here for her own son, too.

Marine Capt. Jesse Melton III, the oldest of Chance's three children, was killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan in 2008. Soon after his death, the Owings Mills woman began volunteering with the Red Cross at Walter Reed and in the emergency room at the Baltimore Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Chance is one of 50 Maryland mothers who are honoring the memory of their fallen sons and daughters by tending to the needs of those still fighting, the wounded and the veterans.

Together, they have revived the long-dormant state chapter of the American Gold Star Mothers, a service organization made up exclusively of women who have lost children in the military.

Founded after World War I and widely recognized during World War II, the American Gold Star Mothers had been dwindling for decades. Now the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have brought a new generation of women to the organization.

Maryland is one of several states seeing a revival. Nationally, the organization now counts 2,000 women as members.
read more here

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Nadia McCaffrey Talks About Foundation Dedicated to Veterans

Nadia has been a hero for veterans for a long time now. I don't know how she does it. If you are on Facebook, you know she never stops. If CNN is looking for one more Hero to honor, she's it!

Nadia McCaffrey Talks About Foundation Dedicated to Veterans
January 20, 2012
A mother who lost her son to the war in Iraq is now dedicating her life to helping all veterans who are returning back to civilian life, specifically those who are suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Nadia McCaffrey has been interviewed by the likes of Larry King and Good Morning America because of her mission. Friday, she was in Corpus Christi to be recognized by the Peace Tree Project of South Texas.

Her mission is to help those who are returning from war, to give them therapy. The Gold Star mother even invites veterans to stay at her home, a place where they can readjust to life and get the counseling they need.

"I cook for them, I take care of them until they feel confident enough, counseling benefits, go to school when they are ready," says McCaffrey.

Nadia began a foundation in 2006 named after her son Patrick McCaffrey and since then has had 27 veterans, men and women stay at her home. McCaffrey's son Patrick was killed in Iraq.

Since then she's been all over the country to speak about her him, but she also started to get calls from his unit and started to realize they were in trouble coming home. Many, she says suffer from trauma they experienced overseas, and PTSD.

read more here

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Lynne Griffey painting to help fund Wreaths Across America

'Wreaths Across America' to benefit from sale of Clarksville artist's painting
Nov. 25, 2011
Written by
Philip Grey
The Leaf-Chronicle
The subject is beautiful in its simplicity — rows of standard military tombstones rising above a blanket of fresh snow at Kentucky West Veterans Cemetery, with only the green and red of Christmas wreaths to mark the stones and keep them from fading into obscurity.

The subject of the painting is perfectly aligned with the artist’s cause — to keep America’s deceased veterans from being forgotten.

The painting has been donated by well-known local artist Lynne Griffey for the purpose of furthering the “Wreaths Across America” program, an effort that is backed in this area by the local Gold Star Wives Eagles chapter, together with the American Legion.
read more here

Monday, December 21, 2009

The war may never be over for Dedi Noble

Camano Island mother devoted to memory of son killed in Iraq

By Gale Fiege
Herald Writer

The war may never be over for Dedi Noble.

During the first two Christmases after her only child, Army Sgt. Charles E. Matheny IV, was killed in Iraq, Noble sat in the front room of her Camano Island home and sobbed.

“Charlie's body came home. The funeral and burial came. The blackness came,” she said. “I asked God to take me, too, because my main purpose in life was to be Charlie's mother. Then I realized if he was gone, perhaps there was another purpose for me.”

As they did last Dec. 25, Noble and her husband, David, plan to load up their car on Christmas Day with gifts for 60 wounded warriors and drive to the regional Veterans Administration hospital in Seattle.

Noble, a member of the Washington Gold Star Mothers association, will spend the day visiting with veterans in the spinal-cord injury, brain injury, post-traumatic-stress disorder and psychiatric units.
read more here

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Gold Star Mother's Day needs to remember the suicides as well

How many mothers who have lost a son or daughter because of their service will not be remembered this day? How many will be left out of the "honor" others receive when a child is buried because they lost their lives in service to this nation?

Shortly after World War I the Gold Star Mothers Club was formed in the United States to provide support for mothers that lost sons or daughters in the war. The name came from the custom of families of servicemen hanging a banner called a Service Flag in the window of their homes. The Service Flag had a star for each family member in the military. Living servicemen were represented by a blue star, and those who had lost their lives were represented by a gold star. Gold Star Mothers are often politically and socially active. Today, membership in the Gold Star Mothers is open to any American woman who has lost a son or daughter in service to the United States. On the last Sunday in September, Gold Star Mother's Day is observed in the U.S. in their honor. USC Title 36 Sec. 111 The group holds a congressional charter under Title 36 of the United States Code.

If you think it's impossible for this to happen, it's happened hundreds of thousands of times, perhaps even millions of times since this nation formed. The sons and daughters lost because of the enemy within themselves. Post traumatic stress disorder, the wound no one can see with their eyes, has killed men and women with greater determination than any enemy could ever envision.

While we talk about the numbers on the Vietnam Memorial Wall, stunned by the loss, we refuse to acknowledge that hundreds of thousands of them took their own lives here back home where they were supposed to be safe and out of harms way. Could you imagine the size of the Vietnam Memorial Wall with hundreds of thousands of names on it? We also don't see the names of those who have died because of Agent Orange.

While we talk about the numbers of the loss of lives in Iraq and Afghanistan under 5,000 combined, we fail to acknowledge that there have been tens of thousands more who have ended their lives by suicide.

Natural mothers, adoptive mothers or stepmothers, who are citizens or legal residents of the United States or of the territorial and insular possessions of the United States, and whose son or daughter has made the supreme sacrifice while in the service of the United States of America Armed Forces, or died as a result of such service are eligible for membership in American Gold Star Mothers, Inc.

While I do not know if they allow parents of those who committed suicide to have the full honor as one who lost a child by a bullet or bomb, there are many in this country who believe that a suicide does not count as a loss due to service of this nation.

How many parents, wives, husbands and children are also left behind because someone they loved was willing to lay down their lives for the sake of this nation but came home, wounded by PTSD and lost hope enough that they saw their own way out of the pain they felt from this wound? Their way out was to end the life. They died as a result of this wound no less than those who have died as a result of a wound someone could see with their eyes.

We need to acknowledge all of the men and women who have lost their lives because of their service to this nation or we do not honor the loss at all.

We need to take action to save as many of them as we can and help them to heal this wound. If we do not, if we do not count all of them, take care of them, we have honored none of them.
Senior Chaplain Kathie Costos
"The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive veterans of early wars were treated and appreciated by our nation." - George Washington

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Gold Star Mom writes to Great American Soldiers

From a Gold Star Mom and dear lady

Sept 9, 2008

It is with great pride and yet humbleness that I write you Great American Soldiers!

As a Blue Star Mother, it was on May 25,2008 that I faced and received that horrific news that my son,SSG Frank Gasper was killed and ultimately paid the price for Freedom! That was the day that changed my life completed, and also made me A Gold Star Mother! But, I find myself that even as broken as I feel,yet I feel a sense of duty and responsiblity to preserve the legacy of my son, Frank . And also to remember those before him, and those after him.

I am honored to say that in the midst of the letters he wrote me, he left me pieces of history. He gave me places, dates and situations yet,so little information. Yet as he expressed and shared, you could not help but feel somewhat of what he was feeling. As the tears run down my face, as I reflect on his writings,I sense the urgency of not letting this legacy "die". I will not let it sit on a shelf and collect dust, nor will it go in the family heirloom chest. But, rather it is being told to everyone I come in contact with.

You are but the history book, the "talking history book", that the world needs to hear. It is a great price that you have paid,or are paying and it must not be forgotten!

It's you,that goes without rest,or when you do rest your head, your mind is full of the weariness.The days' hell that you went through,the meals you missed,the days that you didn't get a shower, the adrenaline that rushed through you chest as you watched for your brother's back, yet there's nothing you could do,when the worst faced you! the wounded solider up in the Hospital,the Veteran that was snuck back into the Country after war,the suicides that many committed,the silent wounded Soldier that tries to fit in yet,finds it hard to,the holidays spent away from home,the steps you never witnessed or the birth of your first born child, the girlfriend that left you for just a civilian,the far away rumbles of the bombs going off afar, all the Soldier's huddled together,praying God keep us safe! the news that your unit just got orders to deploy again,the vacation that you will not get to take with the family,and so many more!! this is the price for Freedom,that must not go unforgotten! It is because of you great American Soldier's that our RED,WHITE and BLUE flag still waves in the wind,and stands so strong!

These are the stories that I have a burden to preserve, and not let go unforgotten! Yet, I am humbled by your courage,your strength,your integrity and dedication,your battle wounds,those unseen, and those seen that each of you American Soldier's share in common. Yet, you do not expect anything in return, nor do you do it for the medals, not even a "thank you", but for your comrades, your brothers, who fight next to you, the innocent people that are oppressed, and for the duty that calls within you!

I am humbled and in awe to think that I know such Great men as yourself and I have to "salute" you. I don't even know if it's proper, or if it's politically correct ! but, I just have to "salute" you.

Just as your soul will not rest,until freedom reins in the land! Neither does my soul rest and I will make sure that the price of Freedom is not Forgotten!

May God Bless you! Keep you safe! and until we meet again,may your heart begin to write our world's history so it will not be forgotten!

I pray you find the strength to write at least one line a day, to write down the things that you feel and go through on a daily basis. You will be surprised just one line a day,with a date or even a time how it will bring healing to you,as it has to me. I have started to write my life's journey as a Gold Star Mother.There's days,I look back and read the struggles,even of a day or two ago and some days I can honestly say, it's what got me through the day!

Stand tall, Stand proud, and don't let the guilt,shame and regrets of today rob you of tomorrow! You are an American Soldier, part of this great history and the price that was,and is paid for Freedom!

I will pledge to each of you,that all I can do is pray for you,write to you, send you packages,and I will even be an ear for you. I will stand in support of you at a Rally. I will place my Blue/Gold Star flag up so proudly,yet so humbly! I will even shed a tear at the thought of the price of Freedom! but I will promise to you,that the Price for Freedom will not be forgotten!

With all my love and prayers! My heart is so filled with graditude for each of you for your service to me,and our Country!
Anita Richards
Proud Gold Star Mom of SSG Frank Gasper
Share this with any American Soldier! or Vet!