By Janie Smith, Founder, Author of HOPE BEYOND TRAUMA; OHIO Regional Leader, HIREPATRIOTS.COM
I had the pleasure of meeting the most dynamic group of women and men on this side of the planet. Blue Star Mothers of America, Miami Valley Chapter #3, is located in Dayton, OHIO. This chapter is proud to be the largest in the United States! After watching these ladies in action, it became very apparent to me why this is true.
Last week my husband, Richard and I visited their “packing office” where they collect donations to send to our troops serving overseas. The room was so full of donations from toiletries, games, books, food, candy and clothing articles they needed additional rooms to store it! Mary, the coordinator, was thrilled and a bit overwhelmed by the generosity of this community. Since I had another meeting to attend, my husband gladly volunteered to stay and help them sort and label for the next several hours. When I returned they were finishing up this massive task. I guess you could say I knew when to leave and when to come back! J
I discovered this chapter alone spends over $10,000 annually in postage to support well over 2,000 troops. Some of these men and women are serving in the back country of Afghanistan and their food totally subsists on the military’s MRE’s (meals ready to eat). It is a special treat when they receive these packages of goodies from the Blue Star Mothers. These men and women have come to depend on these mothers knowing they will not let them down.
Mary invited me to attend the Christmas dinner they were serving at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in Dayton. So a few days later, my daughter, Tanya and I went along with this group to serve a delicious dinner to our veterans.
The festivities opened with prayer and we watched the smiles and laughter of the veterans as we served them in the buffet line. They, in turn, were thanking each of the Blue Star Mothers for remembering them during this holiday season.
Each one received a home-made Christmas card that was specially made for them by our area’s school age children. Their faces lit up each as they read messages of Christmas cheer and thanking them for their service. Heartfelt poems were read by the veterans and Bingo was played. As the day ended each veteran was given blank Christmas cards they could send to their loved ones, neck scarves, tee-shirts and books.
After seeing these Blue Star Mothers events I had to attend their monthly meeting. When I arrived the members were friendly and welcoming. There were over 45 members in attendance. As this lively, interactive meeting progressed I could not believe the number of activities they are successfully sponsoring. They are for sure a hard working devoted bunch.
Besides supporting the troops they are all about supporting each other throughout the year by reaching out, hugging, sharing hardships and providing a shoulder to cry on. They know they can count on each other for comfort and understanding, since they know what it’s like to have a loved one serving overseas.
To the Blue Star Mothers of America, Miami Valley Chapter #3, in the greater Dayton area; my hats off to you for your tremendous devotion and service over the years.
This organization lives and breathes their mission which states, “While promoting patriotism, the Miami Valley Chapter of the Blue Star Mothers of America, Inc. (OH 3), supports our troops all over the world, our veterans, and each other.”
With an application in hand, it was my honor and privilege to join this fantastic and dynamic chapter. If you are looking for a good 501c3, non-profit organization to support, I would highly recommend this one to you. This chapter of Blue Star Mothers of America put their heart and soul in supporting our troops and each other. I invite you to join them and support their amazing club.
You do not need to be a mother of a veteran to join, everyone is welcome! So get ready to roll up your sleeves, join the fun and fellowship along with some tears. We’ll be looking for you! For more information about memberships, meeting place and times, visit their website at www.bluestarmothersdayton.com