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Star Moms Support Active Troops
Jason Ramsey, 23, a young soldier arriving home after deployment to Iraq,
was surprised to find not only his family, but a corridor of flag waving “Blue
Star Moms” to greet him at the airport.
Jason’s mother, Ellie Ramsey, is a member of the Sacramento chapter of
the Blue Star Mothers (BSM) of America. During her son’s deployment to
Camp Falcon in Baghdad, she found support and camaraderie among other parents
with children serving in our armed forces.
These same moms (and a few dads) were also on hand to see others off on their
military assignments and to offer support and solidarity to the families they
were leaving behind. The word goes out, by phone and e-mail, and they gather
at all hours for this important service.
What is a Blue Star Mom? The Blue Star Mothers of America started as a group
of women who had children serving in the military services. Formed during World
War II in Flint, Michigan, the group offered support and solace to families with
sons and daughters serving overseas.
On February 1, 1942, the first meeting had 300 mothers who responded to an advertisement
in a local newspaper. By February 6, the organization was reported in the Congressional
Record, and soon, chapters formed in other Michigan cities and locations such
as New York, Ohio, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Oregon, California and Washington. These
mothers volunteered throughout the war years of the 1940s. They worked in train
stations, meeting halls, USO offices and hospitals. They packed care packages
for soldiers heading overseas.
The familiar red and white flag with the blue star in the center hung in many
front windows, reminding neighbors of the service these young people were giving
to their country. Many families had flags with multiple stars, representing more
than one child in the service. Some flags later had gold stars. These gold stars
represented those men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice and died while
When World War II ended, the organization drew fewer volunteers and was less
active but never ceased in its mission of support for the troops. The Blue Star
Mothers of America was chartered by Congress in 1960, and the recent wars in
the Middle East spurred a renewed interest in the group as more U.S troops headed
The Sacramento chapter was formally founded by Maria Elena Szlachciuk on November
18, 2005. She worked tirelessly to get the organization off the ground for many
months prior to this official date.
Maria Elena’s son, Joshua, was serving as a corporal in Tikrit, Iraq at
that time. Terri Chumbley joined in April to form a part of the core founding
group. Her son-in-law, Arnold Duplantier, was killed that following June while
serving in Iraq.
This group now has over 40 members and meets monthly at the VFW Hall in Roseville.
Maria Elena continues as the president of this local chapter. Terri has become
very active as the events coordinator and as the liaison for the Gold Star Families.
Included in the group are also a few “Blue Star Dads,” wives, children
and siblings of serving soldiers.
The BSM is a nonpolitical, nonsectarian, nonprofit service organization. There
are differing opinions and outlooks on many topics, but the overriding bond of
unity is the members’ support of our service personnel and each other.
Members collect funds and supplies to send care packages overseas. Last Christmas,
312 boxes of toiletries, first aid supplies, candies and snacks, books, phone
cards, writing supplies, DVDs, small holiday decorations, cooling collars, socks
and other assorted small gifts with cards were sent to Iraq and Afghanistan.
All included notes of thanks for the work they are doing from Sacramento Blue
Star Moms. Many of the recipients sent back notes of appreciation that they are
A fundraising pasta feed will be held on April 28 at the VFW memorial hall in
Roseville. There will be a salad, pasta and garlic bread dinner, no host cocktail
bar, live music and many raffle prizes for just $20 for adults, $12 for children,
or a family of four for $50.
All of the proceeds go to BSM fundraising efforts. Keep in mind all those care
packages sent last December. The shipping alone was over $2500. The BSM hopes
to exceed last year’s package numbers and send these boxes more often than
once a year.
For further information or to inquire how to help or to order pasta feed tickets,
please contact email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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