The VA Maryland Health Care System hosts an annual volunteer awards banquets for all three of their medical centers to honor their volunteers. This year’s Baltimore VA and Loch Raven VA awards banquet was held on Thursday, April 26 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Nottingham, MD. Volunteers were given pins to honor their achievement of reaching an hourly benchmark in fiscal year 2017. Volunteers of the quarter and group volunteer leaders were also honored and recognized during the event. Susan Kern, Program Manager Voluntary Service at the VA Maryland Health Care System, made the announcement that Janice Chance, a regular volunteer in the Baltimore VA emergency department and Volunteer of the Quarter for the 3rd Quarter of fiscal year 2017, was selected as the Baltimore VA Medical Center Volunteer of the Year 2017! Dr. Sandra Marshall, Acting Director for the VA Maryland Health Care System, presented Janice with her award. Janice dedicates so much of her time to serve Veterans at the VA Maryland Health Care System. Janice alerts her fellow Gold Star Mothers Maryland Chapter members about the needs of the Veterans in order to secure in-kind and / or monetary donations to meet the needs of the Veterans that they consistently serve and support. Additionally, to serving in the ER and participating in other events Janice coordinates the inpatient visits for her fellow Gold Star Mothers throughout the year. Especially during the National Salute to Veterans Week. The patients and their families consistently express their appreciation. Janice certainly deserves to be named Volunteer of the Year. Congratulations Janice!
Article written by Amanda Andrews Program Specialist, Voluntary Services
APG Volunteers Honored for Community Support
Top of the Bay
Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Maryland
May 3, 2018
Congratulations to our president, Janice Chance for being recognized as the Family Member Volunteer of the Year at Aberdeen Proving Grounds! For the first time, there was a tie — as Melinda Conway and Janice each were recognized as family member winners. More than 50 volunteers were celebrated during the Army Community Service annual volunteer recognition ceremony. Janice was nominated by the ACS Survivor Outreach Services program. She was recognized for devoting more than 2,200 hours to her role as president of the Gold Star Mothers of Maryland. She also works with Veterans Affairs hospitals (VA medical centers), as well as Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion organizations. “Despite her busy schedule, she always responds to emails or text messages with a phone call,” her nomination states. “She believes in personal interaction and is always upbeat and positive.” Partial article as written in the APG Newsletter
VFW Post 521 Ladies Auxiliary
Fashion Show & Tea
Owings Mills, Maryland
April 21, 2018
Maryland Chapter Gold Star Mothers were invited to attend the VFW Post 521 Auxiliary 3rd Annual Fashion Show and Tea. Every year a different Veterans service organization is selected to receive the funds made from the event. This year the National Home for Children was the selected recipient. Mr. Bill Miller, VFW Maryland State Commander and member of the VFW Post 521, was the guest speaker. Bill shared a brief history about the National home, his visit to the home and reaffirmed his commitment to continue to support this organization that benefits many of our Nation’s Heroes and their families during difficult times. After his message, a promotional video was also shown that featured a family who shared their story and expressed their gratitude for the support and service that they received while staying at the National Home. It was truly a heart-warming video. Janice Chance and Donna Robinson, who are also VFW Post members, represented the Maryland Chapter. Special thanks to Janice’s Western High School alumni Yolanda, Victoria and Melba for attending the event to support our Heroes. The post sold raffle tickets for several theme baskets, and the delicious food and tea was served by some of the VFW male members that were dressed like high-end restaurant waiters. The models this year included female VFW members, a few of their adult family members and several precious children that stole the hearts of the guests. They proudly strutted down the runway to music that helped create an atmosphere of fun and excitement. It was truly a memorable event. For more information about the National Home for Children and to donate, please visit their website at https://www.vfwnationalhome.org.
Baltimore Station’s 26th HOME RUN FOR RECOVERY Fundraiser
PBR Baltimore Power Plant Live
34 Market Place, Baltimore, Maryland
April 19, 2018
Mrs. DeNoyer Roman Kiera, Development Manager and Todd Troester, Volunteer Services Manager for the Baltimore Station invited Maryland Chapter Gold Star Mothers to volunteer and to attend their 26th Annual Fundraiser that was held at the PBR | Power Plant Live in Baltimore. The Baltimore Station is an innovative, therapeutic residential treatment program supporting Veterans and others who are transitioning to the cycle of poverty, addiction, and homelessness to self – sufficiency. Annually, their event raises critical funds for the Baltimore Station. Donna Robinson and Janice Chance represented the Maryland Chapter. Donna and Janice were ready to volunteer, but they were informed that even though they signed up to volunteer, they were invited to just enjoy the evening. It was a great turn out and there were many supporters, as well as volunteers, which included some of the residents of this program. There was a variety of good food, beverages, great music as well as a silent and live auction. The atmosphere was full of excitement and the Moms were blessed to receive several invitations from other organizations to join them whenever possible. Additionally, several of the attendees stopped to ask the Moms to share about the Chapter. One business owner approached us and shared that she read about our chapter and expressed her gratefulness for the service that our members provide to our heroes. It was truly an enjoyable event and an opportunity to support a wonderful service organization. We look forward to serving at the shelter in the near future.
Hiram-Takoma Masons Lodge No. 10
Takoma Masonic Center
April 12, 2018
Maryland Gold Star Mothers Theresa Mills, Janice Chance, Donna Robinson and Paula Davis attended and spoke as special guests at the Hiram-Takoma Masons Lodge No. 10 meeting located in Washington, DC on April 12th. They were also treated to a wonderful spaghetti supper, as well as desserts including cannolis and cake. This special dinner was planned in honor of Theresa’s Fallen Hero, LCpl Eugene “Gino” Mills, USMC. At the end of the evening, we were also pleasantly surprised to receive a gracious donation of $100 from the Freemasons for our chapter, which will be used to continue our mission to serve our active military, Veterans, and their families. The Freemasons are the largest and oldest fraternity in the world. This fraternity of men join together to help make things better in the world and are deeply involved in helping people. The Maryland Gold Star Mothers would like to thank Scott Jacobs and Hiram-Takoma Lodge No. 10 of the District of Columbia for reaching out to our organization and honoring our Heroes. For more information about the Hiram-Takoma Masons, please visit their website at www.ht10.org or follow their Facebook page at “Hiram-Takoma Lodge No. 10”.
Maryland Patriot Guard Fundraiser
April 7, 2018
On April 7th, Maryland Chapter Gold Star Mothers Janice Chance, Donna Robinson and Lauren Seidler supported the Maryland Patriot Guard by attending their fundraiser at Vanessa’s Corner Pub in Westminster, Maryland. Our Chapter donated four gift baskets worth $500.00 to help the Patriot Guard raise funds. Our Maryland Chapter Gold Star Mothers Lauren Seidler and Gina Barnhurst put together the baskets which were auctioned. Janice, our President, Donna and Lauren volunteered and helped to sell raffle tickets for the basket portion of the fundraiser. Music was provided by Gold Star Father, Marc Seidler’s band Twine Time, and The Grinders. We all enjoyed a fun afternoon making new friends and supporting our Patriot Guard friends. We thank the Maryland Patriot Guard for honoring our fallen heroes and all they do to support our veterans.
Living Legacy Forest Dedication
Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Maryland
April 6, 2018
On Friday April 6, 2018, Major General Randy S. Taylor – Aberdeen Proving Grounds (APG) Senior Commander, hosted The Living Legacy Forest Dedication Honoring Gold Star Spouses and Families. The event consisted of a tree planting ceremony along with monuments to convey the story of our troops. The collaboration for the event goes to Mike Farlow – SOS Coordinator, Aberdeen and Major General Randy S. Taylor – APG Senior Commander. Many Gold Star spouses and children along with Gold Star Mothers attended the event which ended with the family and friends of our “fallen heroes” enjoying a wonderful lunch at the Top of the Bay Restaurant. Maryland Chapter Mothers Janice Chance, Rosemarie Ceo, Donna Robinson and Yvonne J. Green attended this memorable event.
Operation No Person Left Behind Outdoors Fundraiser Banquet
Timonium Fair Grounds
March 25, 2018
Maryland Gold Star Mothers Theresa Mills, Janice Chance, Tracy Miller, Donna Robinson and Michelle Murphy volunteered by checking in guests for the Operation No Person Left Behind Outdoors (NPLB) fundraiser banquet at the Timonium Fair Grounds. Our organization also donated two silent auction baskets. Funds will be used to provide services and support of wounded, injured and ill combat Veterans and their families. “Operation NPLB aids in the recovery and rehabilitation of injured service members from all eras who must endure the lifelong sacrifices made for our country. NPLB supports injured Soldiers, Sailors, Coasties, Airman, and Marines by reintroducing them to hunting, fishing and life outdoors. Volunteers offer their time and skills to aid in the emotional recovery of our veterans through outdoor activities with fellowship and the encouragement to overcome any disability.” OSC/NPLB
Kelly and Gary Swanson, Gold Star parents, were also in attendance as they donated their Swanson Family Smokey Mountain cabin for a one-week stay for 8!
Military Appreciation BBQ Bay Area Community Church
March 24, 2018
Maryland Chapter Gold Star Mothers were invited to attend a military appreciation BBQ by Mary Mitchell, Morgan Lang and Nathan Gregory who are seniors at the Annapolis Area Christian School (AACS). Theresa Mills, Donna Robinson and Janice Chance represented the Maryland Chapter. The AACS Seniors were required to complete a senior project so Mary, Morgan and Nathan decided to perform research on issues and challenges that impact Veterans. After completing their research they decided to organize and host a BBQ for Veterans, military families, midshipmen, Gold Star Mothers and families of fallen heroes to thank us for all that we have done and sacrificed for our country. Mary shared that sponsoring the BBQ was one way that they could honor and support us. They organized games that provided an opportunity for guests to meet, spend time talking, enjoy good food (donated by Annapolis Mission BBQ) and experience wonderful fellowship. We were able to share about the Gold Star Mothers organization, our mission and about our fallen heroes. We also were given the opportunity to thank our heroes and their families and to also render our Gold Star Mothers Hand Salute. We are very grateful to Mary, Morgan and Nathan for inviting us to attend their very special event. We are looking forward to attending their final research presentations.
Navy Federal Credit Union
March 13, 2018
Maryland Gold Star Mothers Janice Chance, Yvonne Green, Michelle Murphy, Rosemarie Ceo and Theresa Mills were welcomed to the Navy Federal Credit Union, Annapolis branch to receive a $1,000 donation from Coleen Collins the Regional Manager – Mid-Atlantic East. We shared our mission and stories about our children and events that we participate. Navy Federal continues to be the most preferred and trusted financial institution serving the military and their families. Thank you to @NavyFederal for your generosity. Your donation will go a long way to allow the Maryland Gold Star Mothers to continue our mission and we look forward to expanding our partnership!
St. Patrick’s Day Parade
March 11, 2018
There were Shamrocks, Leprechauns and Irish regalia everywhere you looked at the Annapolis St. Patrick’s Day parade on Sunday, March 11th. Warrior Events invited the Maryland Gold Star Mothers Chapter members to participate in the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade with wounded warriors and their families. This was our third time participating and every year, we are honored to be part of this event. Warrior events along with their sponsors Fence and Deck Connection treated us to donuts, power bars, breakfast sandwiches, beverages etc. as we waited for the parade to start. They also decked us out in Green Warrior Event scarves, Grey under armor windbreakers with Gold Stars and Irish hats necklaces etc. Gold Star Mothers Janice Chance. Gina Barnhurst, Paula Davis, Michelle Murphy and Gold Star Father Kenneth Murphy participated in the parade. After the parade, Gold Star family members were invited to lunch at Armadillos in down town Annapolis.
Our Maryland Chapter Mothers would like to thank Bob Saunders, John O’Leary and Warrior Events for coordinating and planning this successful parade every year and for treating all of us with love, compassion and kindness.
Charlotte Hall Veterans Home Visit
Charlotte Hall, Maryland
March 10, 2018
Gold Star Mothers Gina Barnhurst, Paula Davis, Deirdre McMahon, Cindy Lohman, and Janice Chance went to Charlotte Hall Veterans Home in Charlotte Hall, Maryland to visit with our heroes and their families on March 10, 2018. We were given the honor to spend time talking with the Veterans that came down to the cafeteria for lunch and we gifted them with a patriotic print fleece blanket as well as a large print word find puzzle book. Many of the Veterans freely shared about their military service and expressed their appreciation for our visit and gifts. Their families also expressed their appreciation. During our visit we were blessed to be able to join a family that came to surprise their loved one who turned 100 years of age. They allowed us to join their celebration and to present our Hero with a fleece blanket. His family expressed their appreciation and invited us to share about the Gold Star Mothers organization. During our visit we also had the pleasure and honor of meeting four of our nation’s Vietnam Veterans Heroes and presented them with a Vietnam Veterans 50th Anniversary Commemorative Challenge coin, which we had made special as a gift to our Vietnam Heroes who did not receive the Heroes welcome home celebration and appreciation that they deserved. We seize every opportunity to serve, support and thank our Veterans and their families for their selfless service and sacrifice. Before leaving, we rendered our special Gold Star Mothers hand salute to all of our Heroes.
American Legion Post 276
9th Annual Maryland Marathon Bluegrass Jam
Fisher House Foundation Fundraiser
February 24, 2018
Maryland Gold Star Mothers, Janice Chance and Theresa Mills, as well as Gold Star family member Peatoria Purdue volunteered in shifts to help raise money for the Fisher House Foundation. We were invited to partner with the Team Leidos employees that was led by Amy Kriner. We assisted with various duties including baked goods and the money wheel. The Maryland Marathon Jam invites local bands to participate in 12 hours of non-stop bluegrass music. Since 2009, the recipient of this annual fundraiser has been the Fisher House Foundation, which is best known for building comfort homes where military and veterans families can stay free of charge, while a loved is in the hospital receiving medical treatment. This charity was chosen because of their excellent rating and for the services and support that they provide to our heroes and their families. It was a blessing to be able to participate in this event that provided another opportunity for us to “HONOR OUR HEROES THROUGH SERVICE”.
Loch Raven, Maryland
February 14, 2018
On Wednesday February 14th (Valentine’s Day), Maryland Chapter Gold Star Moms Janice Chance, Yvonne Green, Rosemarie Ceo, and Paula Davis along with Commandant Earl Ruff Jr, Marian James (Senior Vice Commandant Marine Corps League Baltimore Detatchment 565) and Betty Armstrong (Northeastern Post 285, American Legion Auxiliary) shared LOVE to our wounded warriors at the VA Hospital in Loch Raven, Maryland. The group distributed afghans to the veterans with a personalized note. Those who did not receive a afghan received a coupon book to be used at the VA Canteen. Candy was also placed in the outpatient clinic and fleece blankets were given to the oncology patients. It was truly a day of LOVE to all involved.
Horses Help Heroes 2nd “Hang With The Horses” Event
Great Escapes Stables
February 19, 2018
Dean Macy, Founder of the Horses Help Heroes (HHH) and his team held their second “Hang With The Horses” event of the year for military and gold Star families on Monday February 19, 2018. Maryland Chapter Gold Star Moms Gloria Carothers and Janice, along with military families from around the area, attended the event at the Great Escapes Stables located in Bowie, Maryland. There was a steady flow of Veterans and active duty service members and their families throughout the day. It was a pleasure and honor to meet and spend time with some of our heroes and their families. Seeing the smiles on the faces of the children as they petted and rode on the horses warmed our hearts. We were able to assist with helping children get on and off the horses, interact with the horses, feeding one of the horses snacks, and we were also given the opportunity to ride the horses. Janice Chance actually had the pleasure to ride on the horse whose name is the same as her last name “Chance”. It was another successful event thanks to Dean, the Great Escapes Stables, Clarity Riding staff and volunteers that helped to make this an enjoyable day. Although it was raining the sun was shining in our hearts. We also thank the horses Milly, Sonny, Chance and the two ponies Rain and Bucky for providing the fun rides. We are looking forward to the volunteering at the stables and participating in some of the other upcoming scheduled events.
National Salute to Veterans Week
VA Medical Center
February 17, 2018
Annually, during the week of Valentine’s Day, we are provided with an opportunity to say thank you to a special group of men and women. More than 98,000 Veterans of the U.S. armed services are cared for everyday in Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical centers, outpatient clinics, and nursing homes. During National Salute to Veterans week, the VA invites individuals, Veterans groups, military personnel, civic organizations, businesses, schools, local media, celebrities and sports stars are invited to participate in a variety of activities at the VA medical centers. This year, five members of the Maryland Chapter, Janice Chance, Gina Barnhurst, Lauren Seidler, Deirdre McMahon and Theresa Mills had the distinct honor to spend several hours with our Heroes and their family members to express our thanks for their selfless service and sacrifice to our country. We also rendered what we lovingly refer to as our “Gold Star Mothers Hand Salute” to each Hero. We distributed handmade Valentines cards from school children, balloons, puzzle books, knit hats, socks and toiletries to the patients at the VA Medical Center located on Greene Street in Baltimore Maryland. It was great to spend time with our hospitalized Heroes and their family members. One patient expressed to us “This is just what I needed!” – No sir, this is what WE needed to honor our Heroes! It is truly an honor!
Shopping for the Troops
Walmart/American Legion Post 60
February 2 & 3, 2018
Lt. Tameka Collins, USNR and her friend, Lt. Brandi Parker, USNR helped the Maryland Gold Star Mothers shop for a total of 6 units/77 Heroes who are currently deployed in Iraq, Afghanistan and Cuba. Janice Chance, Theresa Mills, Paula Davis and Peatoria Perdue (gold star niece) also shopped for supplies including toiletries, food, and Maryland Old Bay seasoning as requested from a Maryland National Guard unit. They also purchased Valentines day treats with special cards that included our personal thanks and gratitude for their service and sacrifices. After our bi-monthly meeting on Saturday February 3rd, several Moms packaged up the goodies and shipped off a total of 17 boxes to our beloved Heroes!
Quarterly Volunteer Award
VA Maryland Health Care System
February 2, 2018
Janice Chance was awarded the VA Maryland Health Care System’s (VAMHCS) Volunteer of the Quarter for the third quarter of fiscal year 2017 on Friday, February 2, 2018. The Voluntary Service staff surprised Janice during her shift to present her award surrounded by the staff she works with and the Veterans she serves. Janice received this award because despite being very active with the American Gold Star Mothers she still manages to put aside time to serve Veteran patients as a regularly scheduled volunteer. Janice works one day a week as an Emergency Department volunteer at the Baltimore VA Medical Center and participates in special events for our Heroes. She shows compassion and love for all the Veterans she serves and the staff in the Emergency Department has nothing but great things to say about her. The Volunteer of the Quarter award was presented by Susan Kern, Program Manager for Voluntary Service, in the presence of the Emergency Department staff, Voluntary Service staff, and fellow volunteers. Janice was awarded a certificate of appreciation, VAMHCS challenge coin, and the coveted “Volunteer of the Quarter” lapel pin. The celebration continued with cake for Janice and Emergency Department coworkers. Janice was shocked and very humbled by being selected for Volunteer of the Quarter.
– Article written by Mrs. Susan Kern Program Manager VAMHCS & Amanda Andrews Program Specialist VAMHCS.
Towson University Athletics
Military Appreciation Day
Men’s Basketball Game & Major Robert Marchanti Scholarship Kick Off
Towson University Vs Elon
January 27, 2018
Maryland Gold Star Mothers were invited to the Towson University (TU) Tiger Athletics Men’s Basketball game versus Elon in honor of Military Appreciation Day. Before the game and the announcement of the Major Robert Marchanti Endowment Scholarship, the Tiger Athletics Department held a luncheon for the Marchanti family, members of the military, Veterans service organizations and Gold Star family members. Mission BBQ provided the food for the luncheon. Major Robert Marchanti served in the Maryland Army National Guard and was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2012. Major Marchanti graduated from TU in 1989.
Tracy Miller, her husband, Paul Arnest, Janice and Charlton Chance, Jeanette Middleton Sudano and her daughter, and Theresa Mills were recognized, along with their Heroes before half time.
Even though Elon beat Towson 83 to 76, it was a very exciting game.
Horses Help Heroes “Hang With The Horses” Event
Great Escapes Stables
January 15, 2018
On Monday January 15, 2018, Maryland Chapter Gold Star Moms Janice Chance and Kelly Swanson, along with military families from around the area, attended the Horses Help Heroes (HHH) ”Hang With the Horses ” event hosted by Dean Macy, Founder of Horses Help Heroes at the Great Escape Stables in Bowie, Maryland. It is always a great time meeting, talking to, and hanging out with some of our military families. We are looking forward to attending and assisting Mr. Macy and HHH in future events. HHH is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that is dedicated to enriching the lives of service connected disabled veterans, their families, and Gold Star Families. We were able to brush the horses, walk alongside the horses while children were riding them, and then we were able to actually ride the horses. Thank you, Dean, Great Escape Stables, and all the volunteers that helped to make this cold day a great success! And thank you to Milly, Sonny, and Chance for the fun rides!
Christmas Extravaganza Fundraiser for Maryland Patriot Guard
January 6, 2018
Gold Star Maryland Chapter members were invited by Ann and Ted Nettles, Maryland Patriot Guard leaders, to attend a Christmas Extravaganza Fundraiser that was held on January 6, 2018. Janice Chance, Maryland Chapter member attended this special event that was hosted by Doug Favorite and Don Keeney at their spacious beautifully decorated home. The event was held to raise funds in support of the Maryland Patriot Guard organization. It was an open house-style tour and dinner. The cost was $20.00 per person which included a full course buffet. Doug and Don decorated over 100 trees. The decorated theme trees ranged in size from 1.25 inches to 12.5 ft. and some of the themes included a Waterfall Tree (with working waterfalls), Train Tree (with working trains), Butterfly Tree (with moving butterflies), Patriot Tree and many more. Their front lawn was also decorated with trees and other Christmas decorations with many lights. Based on the smiles, laughter and positive comments, the guests enjoyed the sights, sounds, fellowship, delicious appetizers, variety of food, desserts and holiday drinks. Doug and Don even placed decorated trees in the bathrooms. Attending a fundraiser event in support of a great organization that provides services and support to our veterans, active duty military, their families and Gold Star Families was a great way to start the New Year. Doug and Don are planning to host another fundraiser event next year.