2019 News & Events

9/11 Tolling of the Remembrance Bell Ceremony 

Parkville Fire & Police Station 

Putty Hill Ave & Old Harford Rd

September 11, 2019 

Chuck Ritz, Co-founder of the Hope and Peace Foundation and creator of the 9/11 Maryland Rolling Memorial organized and invited Marylanders to attend the Annual Tolling of the Remembrance Bell Ceremony to Honor and Remember the 343 NY City Firefighters and 72 NY City Police and Port Authority Officers that lost their lives during the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Baltimore County Fire officials, firefighters, police officers, and many other Marylanders attended this special event. Janice Chance represented the Gold Star Mothers Maryland Chapter. The fire fighters took turns ringing the bells in honor of each of the 343 firefighters followed by a police officer that rang the bell 72 times for each of the police and Port Authority officers. Several parents brought their children to the event in order to teach them about the terrorist attacks that happened on 9/11 that resulted in the loss of many US citizens lives and the start of the global war on terror that forever changed our Country. Rachel Aragon news reporter for Fox 45 TV interviewed Chuck, fire officials, several attendees and Janice. It was truly a solemn occasion that reminded everyone as stated by Chuck “to keep our promise to Never Forget 9/11 and to honor and remember all who lost their lives and their families”. 


Stanstock Music Festival

River Watch Restaurant and Marina

Essex, Maryland

September 7, 2019

Maryland Gold Star Mother Gloria Crothers was invited to attend the Stanstock Music Festival by founder of Stanstock, Stan Gibson. Stanstock is a two-day musical event with 34 bands playing on two stages – one inside and one outside. There were bands for every kind of music lover. All 34 bands donated their time for a wonderful cause – The Nicole Van Horn Trust fund, Inc. that benefits Johns Hopkins Pediatric Cancer Center. There were countless volunteers who worked all year long to procure sponsors and get donations for the many wonderful baskets which were raffled off on Sunday. The food was good and the atmosphere was contagious! You can’t help but sing along and dance!


Exelon Corporation & E-MAC   

Charity Golf Outing

Rocky Point Golf Course

Essex, Maryland

September 6, 2019

Maryland Gold Star Mother Gloria Crothers was invited to speak at Exelon Corporation and Exelon Militaries Actively Connected (E-MAC) Annual Charity golf outing that raised money to benefit the Baltimore Station. She was asked to speak about the Maryland Chapter and she shared the history of Gold Star Mothers, including why we wear white, our mission and why we serve. Exelon Corporation is a proud supporter of our military as the purpose of their company’s affiliation of E-MAC is to promote a positive workplace environment for those with prior military service, employees who would like to be involved in military issues, and establish a networking tool for all employees regardless of military affiliation across Exelon and its operating companies. It was a great day for a golf outing!


Camp No Limits

North Bay Adventure Camp

North East, Maryland

August 31, 2019   

Maryland Gold Star Mother Gloria Crothers was invited by good friend and founder of the Steel Horse Guardians (SHG), Mike Farmer to join him and a few riders for dinner and a talent show at this year’s Maryland Camp No Limits. The SHG presented Camp No Limits with their annual donation from their Nuts for No Limits ride in the amount of $12,600. Gloria has joined the SHG on the Nuts for No Limits Ride for the last four years. She is very passionate about Camp No Limits as the children have won her heart. The Gold Star Mothers Maryland Chapter learned about Camp No Limits when Gloria asked them to become a sponsor for this year’s camp and they were proud to support them by donating $500. While attending the dinner and talent show, Gloria was able to meet some of the children and the founder of Camp No Limits, Mary Leighton. Mary is an incredible lady who saw a need where there was none and has changed the lives of countless children and their parents who participate with Camp No Limits. No Limits Foundation is a non-profit organization 501 (c)(3) providing camps for children with limb loss and differences. The camp aims to provide education, mentorship, and support to these children and their families. Camp No Limits fosters a welcoming and supportive community in the hopes of helping all those who attend the camp. For more information about Camp No Limits, please visit www.nolimitsfoundation.org


Why We Serve Ceremony

Thurman Auditorium

Fort Belvoir, VA

September 5, 2019

Lieutenant General (LTG) Bruce T. Crawford and Mrs. Diane Crawford invited Gold Star family members to their annual “Why We Serve” Ceremony. Janice Chance and Paula Davis represented the Maryland Chapter. Prior to the message, LTG Crawford recognized and thanked the veterans in addition to recognizing Gold Star families. It was a pleasure and honor to attend and witness the Officers, Enlisted Service members, and Army Civilian Employees raise their right hand and take an oath signifying their allegiance and dedication to duty, etc. Major (Retired) DJ Skelton was the keynote speaker. LTG Crawford also had the honor of swearing in a group of new recruits. After the ceremony, the Gold Star family members were able to meet, thank and mingle with our Heroes, civilian employees, community leaders and citizens. It was truly a memorable event.


MCVET’s Luncheon

American Legion Post 60

Laurel, Maryland

September 7, 2019

The American Legion Post 60 invited the Maryland Gold Star Mothers to participate in their annual luncheon that hosted over 100 Veterans and staff of the Maryland Center for Veterans Education and Training (MCVET) facility. MCVET helps veterans with homelessness and substance abuse get back on their feet to a more productive and fulfilling lif- style. Kelly Swanson, Donna Robinson and Janice Chance represented the Maryland Chapter. They had the pleasure of greeting our heroes in the Flag line as they arrived via bus along with other American Legion Post 60 members, Auxiliary, Sons of the American Legion, members of other Veteran Service organizations, and several other community patriots.  The buses were escorted by the American Legion Riders.  Kelly, Donna, Janice, Gail Bolton (gold star wife), Audrey Greenberg, Edie Vasco, Janice Gray, and the ALA Post 60 Auxiliary members had the pleasure of serving the heroes and staff as they came through the food line. The heroes expressed their appreciation for being invited to attend such a wonderful event.  One of the new residents of MCVET stated “this event is fantastic and all of the servers are wonderful. The day is full of positive energy.”  As a matter of fact, several of the veterans shared that they remembered the moms visiting with them and serving during the holiday dinners and also giving them gifts.  The heroes participated in several rounds of bingo games, fishing, baseball, and other games. Prizes for the Bingo game, and many other gifts were donated by the American Legion. Nine trays of food from Mission BBQ were supplied by the Gold Star Mothers Maryland Chapter. It was the sixth year that the Maryland Chapter has participated in the MCVET Fun Day.  The moms had a wonderful time serving, spending time talking and eating with the residents. They also assisted with the Bingo game.   Commander Luby and the American Legion Family are looking forward to the Maryland Chapter joining them again next year.


8th Annual 9/11 Path and Field of Honor Event

Baltimore, Maryland

September 6, 2019 

Gold Star families were invited by Chuck Ritz, Founder of the Hope and Peace Foundation to participate in his foundation’s 8th Annual 9/11 Path and Field Of Honor Event.  This year, it will be the 18th Anniversary of 9/11 where 2,977 citizens were killed or died while attempting to rescue people that were trapped in the twin towers in New York, the Pentagon and Shanksville, PA that later resulted in the United States declaring war on terror. Sadly, many of our brave men and women have made the ultimate sacrifice since our country responded to the terrorist attacks.  The Annual Path and Field of Honor event was held in Northeast Baltimore County along Putty Hill Road. Maryland Chapter Gold Star Mothers Donna Robinson, Janice Chance, Rosemarie Ceo and Gold Star Mother Robyn Anderson, joined Chuck, 104 cadets from the Loyola and Towson Universities ROTC programs, and many other patriots.

2,977 Flags were placed along Putty Hill Road to represent our fellow Americans that were killed during the 9/11 attacks. Flags were also placed on a hill located in the Putty Hill shopping center named “The Hill of Honor” in honor of the 154 Maryland Service Member Heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice since the start of our country’s “War on Terror”. It was truly an Honor to participate in this special event of remembrance. One of the heart-warming moments during the event was when each Gold Star Family member was given the honor to place a flag in memory of each family’s fallen Hero.  In addition to presenting Richard Forster, U.S. Army Vietnam Veteran, with one of the Gold Star Mothers Maryland Chapter’s special 50th Anniversary Vietnam War Commemorative challenge coins.  We are Grateful to Chuck and many other patriots for their efforts and commitment to do all that they are able to remind US citizens to NEVER FORGET and TO HONOR & REMEMBER our Fallen Heroes and their families.  FREEDOM IS NOT FREE! WE LIVE IN THE LAND OF THE FREE BECAUSE OF THE BRAVE!


7th Annual Wounded Warriors Day on The Bay 

North Point Yacht Club

Sparrows Point, MD 

August 17, 2019

Gold Star Mothers Maryland Chapter members and families were invited by Mr. John Polek, President and Officers of the North Point Yacht Club to volunteer at their 7th Annual Wounded Warriors Day on The Bay event (WWDOTB). The following information is written about the start of the WWDOTB on their website. In 2012, then-Commodore Jim Diven of North Point Yacht Club had a vision. As a veteran, he wanted to give back to those veterans and wounded warriors and their families who had given so much for their country. The purpose is to provide a Stress-free Day on the Bay for Wounded Veterans (WV) and their families. Elsheba Khan and Janice Chance represented the Maryland Chapter. They joined volunteers from a variety of veteran service organizations and community supporters to serve our heroes and their families. There were approximately 74 wounded warriors along with their families.  A special recognition and appreciation ceremony was held for the WV as well as other veterans. The Vietnam Veterans of America Baltimore Chapter 451 opened the ceremony with the presentation of Colors. Marty Bass, TV Channel 13 Weatherman, served as the MC and Brigadier General Adam Flasch, US Army National Guard was the guest speaker. The WV received a special Thank you plaque, a challenge coin and a pin inscribed with the following words “If you love your freedom thank a United States Veteran”, and an envelope that contained gift cards totaling $250. Janice and Elsheba also received recognition and an appreciation plague, challenge coin and pin. Mr. Bill Krauss, Founder of Mission BBQ also attended the event. He greeted and spent time talking with the WW, veterans, active duty & reserve service members, first responders, Gold Star moms and other guests. Immediately after the ceremony, the WV and their families were introduced to the 49 local yacht owners that would be taking them out on the Bay after lunch that was provided by Mission BBQ. The yacht owners were members of several local yacht clubs. They volunteered their time and vessels to demonstrate their thanks and unwavering support of our heroes and their families. Elsheba and Janice were given the honor to join a WV family on their yacht cruise on the bay. Once they returned to the club, they were treated to a feast that included crabs, a variety of foods, beverages and desserts. Chuck Ritz brought the 9/11 Rolling Memorial to the event. It is Maryland’s first and only 9/11 rolling memorial in remembrance and honor of the 69 Marylanders who were killed on Tuesday, September 11, 2001 and 146 others who have made the supreme sacrifice in the war on terror since that horrific day.  Chuck updates the names on the memorial whenever he is notified that a Maryland hero has made the ultimate sacrifice. Having the honor to serve, thank and spend time with some of our nation’s heroes was a blessing. The fellowship was wonderful, the food was delicious, and the music was great.  


Warrior Events Annual Dinner & Cruise
Mears Marina Annapolis
Annapolis, Maryland
August 21, 2019

Warrior Events treated Maryland Gold Star Mothers, families and wounded heroes to a wonderful dinner provided by Ken’s Creative Kitchen; however, the boat cruise around the Annapolis harbor was cancelled due to weather. We always enjoy this special event hosted by Warrior Events and continuing our fellowship with a wonderful military service organization! Many thanks to Bob Saunders,John O’Leary, Coleen & Bill Sharpe, Tina Tozziand Mike Wilson!  We would also like to thank the staff at the Annapolis Waterfront Hotel for their overnight accommodations and warm welcome to our group and we thank Mr. Michael Greene, USMC Veteran who provided Limousine transport to Mears Marina and back to the hotel!


Medical Musical Group Concert

Rachel M. Schlesinger Arts Center

Alexandria, Virginia

August 11, 2019

Sunday, August 11, 2019 proved to be a magical night for Maryland Gold Star Moms Janice Chance, Yvonne Green, Gloria Crothers, Sheba Khan and Stephanie White along with the DMV Gold Star Wives. The Annual Medical Musical Group Concert, that was titled “A Sentimental Musical Journey”, was held at the Northern Virginia Community College in the Rachel M. Schlesinger Arts Center. Not only did the Moms and Wives enjoy many songs that was performed by the Medical Group’s Chorale and Symphony Orchestra, but they were also asked to accompany guest singer Deana Martin (daughter of legendary star of screen and music industry Dean Martin) as her back-up singers with 2 songs – Memories are Made of This and That’s A’more! Also participating with Deana was her husband, Actor Antonio Sabato Jr. and his wife. It was truly a Broadway experience and a wonderful time was had by all.

Here is the video:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4_KW9aTE9P7THFYLXVJODA4em9IejYzTTVNNE9VR285azRF/view?usp=sharing


Annapolis Rotary Club

“World’s Largest Crabfeast”

Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium

Annapolis, Maryland

August 2, 2019

Maryland Gold Star Mothers Janice Chance, Theresa Karlson, Sheba Kahn, Paula Davis and Gloria Crothers were guests of Mr. Chuck Davis and his wife Linda at the World’s Largest Crab Feast on Friday, August 2nd at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. Mr. Davis is a US Navy Veteran and owner of KISS MY GLASS Window cleaning company. This is the Rotary’s biggest fundraiser so that they can give back to their community. We were also surprised to receive a challenge coin and flowers from the Rotary’s president, Ms. Carletta Allen. She welcomed us and thanked us for our children’s sacrifice to our Country.


Chesapeake Bayhawks’ Lacrosse Unified Partners Military Day Appreciation Promotional Event
Navy Marine Corps Memorial Stadium
Annapolis, Maryland
July 25, 2019


On Thursday, July 25th, Maryland Chapter Golds Star Mothers truly enjoyed a treat. Janice Chance, Theresa Karlson, Sheba Khan, Yvonne Green and Gold Star Father Garry Green were participants in the Chesapeake Bayhawks’ Military Appreciation Day Unified Partners promotional event. Group and individual pictures were taken that will be shared prior to the game. A video will also be made that will be shared during the August 17 th game and at other upcoming games. The Bayhawks’ Director of Operations, Will Huff, coordinated the event that included several organizations who are the Key sponsors and supporters for the the August 17th event that will be held at the stadium. Bayhawks player, Jesse Bernhardt and their mascot Hawkeye, were also present to welcome and fellowship with the group. Janice was also surprised to meet one of the attendees, a Marine veteran that served with her son Jesse Melton III when he was in the U. S Marine Corps Reserves before he began his full-time service. Group representatives, including Scott and Lynne Mallary of Truckin4Troops, spoke about their organization’s mission to serve our military veterans, wounded, active duty and their families. It truly was a great opportunity for these groups to network and show their passion for our beloved military. Gold Star Mothers Maryland Chapter members are looking forward to attending the Bayhawk’s game on August 17th where they will play against the Boston Cannons.
https://bayhawks.majorleaguelacrosse.com/index.aspx


American Legion Riders Flag Presentation

American Legion Post 60

Laurel, Maryland

July 25, 2019

Maryland Gold Star Mothers, Janice Chance, Stephanie White and Sheba Khan attended the American Legion Riders flag presentation on July 25, 2019. Janice Chance posted this remark on Facebook: Mr. De Arama, Thank you and the Epic American Legion Riders for Honoring and Remembering our children. We were all deeply touched by the flag presentation ceremony and the many expressions of condolences and appreciation not only for our children’s service and ultimate sacrifice, but also for our service and sacrifice as gold star moms. It means more then you will ever know . I also thank the American Legion Post 60 Commander Lee Luby, for hosting the ceremony and for her and the Post 60 members , Auxiliary, SAL ,and the Post 60 American legion riders for their continued unwavering support. May the Lord shower all of you with many blessings and keep you safe in His hands. Much Love and Many Hugs ❤️❤️🙏🙏


Faces of Valor Fundraiser

Edgewater, Maryland

June 23, 2019

 

The Gold Star Mothers Maryland Chapter members and other gold star family members were invited by Mr. Ted Levitt Founder and President of the Faces of Valor USA organization to attend their Annual Fundraiser on June 23, 2019. Faces of Valor is a nonprofit organization that raises money to provide scholarships and financial assistance to injured service members, first responders and to children of service members that were killed during their military service (http://facesofvalorusa.org). Janice Chance attended the fundraiser to represent the MD Chapter in addition to supporting our heroes. Also in attendance were wounded warriors Adam Keys US Army, and Sean Adams US Marine Corps who both were prior Faces of Valor honorees. In addition to Roger and Kathie Knadle, MD Patriot Guard volunteers and Bob Saunders, Warrior Events Board of Directors member. The purpose of the event was to raise funds to build a woodworking shop garage for Corporal Clark Cavalier USMC who lost both legs and sustained other serious injuries while serving in Afghanistan (4/24/2011) and to build a game room for the Charlotte Hall WWII & Vietnam Veterans. The MD Chapter was one of the sponsors that gave $1,000 towards the fundraiser. There were three separate events held during the fundraiser and a silent auction. During the picnic there was a short program. Mr. Levitt prior to recognizing the honorees thanked the sponsors, veterans, past honorees; Adam and Sean, Janice and gold star father Douglas Green, the Elks lodge leaders and their members. He also shared information about the MD Chapter, and gold star families in general. Mr. Levitt then gave special honor to Corporal Cavalier, the Charlotte Hall WWII and Vietnam Veterans. A representative from Delmarva Veteran Builders, a veteran owned company that will be building the wood shop was present to meet and thank Corporal Cavalier for his service and sacrifice. He also shared that their team is looking forward to building the wood shop. Mr. Levitt also presented a check for $28,900 to Ms. Sharon Murphy, Director of the Charlotte Hall Veterans home. There were several hundred people in attendance, plenty of good food, and several groups provided music during the event that created a festive atmosphere.


Iraqi Children’s Foundation 7th Annual 5K Run/Walk
Arlington, Virginia
June 22, 2019

On June 22, 2019, Maryland Gold Star Mothers Kelly Swanson, and Janice Chance joined with Virginia Gold Star Mother Cynthia Ozbat at the US Patent Trademark Office in Alexandria, VA. They, along with hundreds of supporters, participated in the Iraqi Children Foundation’s (ICF) 7th annual 5k run/walk to benefit Iraqi orphans, street children, and children displaced. Kelly, Janice, and Cynthia proudly finished the 5k! It was wonderful to see the three young Iraqi Ambassadors: 15 year old Teeba, who was in a bombing as a baby, 14-year-old Humoody, who sustained an injury to his face that resulted in severe disfigurement, and 22 year old Al a’ a, who was abandoned as a little boy because of his cerebral palsy. It is always a great honor for the Maryland Gold Star Mothers to support and attend this wonderful event.


Howard County Veterans Monument
Ground Breaking Ceremony
Columbia, Maryland
June 29, 2019

The Howard County Veterans Foundation along with the Howard Hughes Foundation, Howard County Government and Columbia Association invited Maryland Gold Star Mothers to the ground breaking ceremony for the Howard County Veterans Monument and Neighborhood Square located in Columbia, Maryland. The monument will be named after long time Howard County resident and community leader, Ms. Vivian C “Millie” Bailey. At the ceremony, Miss Millie was recognized for her military service during WWII and her lifelong commitment to public service. At 101 years young, Miss Millie continues to send care packages to deployed troops. In a recent interview by WBAL, Miss Millie was asked about the care packages and her response was “As long as we have soldiers deployed, I’m determined that they get care packages to let them know that we’re supporting them and thinking about them.” She also reminded everyone in attendance that you can always do more for others. Dr. Calvin Ball, Howard County Executive, Robert Gillette, Howard County Veterans Foundation President also spoke about the significance of the monument being placed by the planned playground so that all children who play nearby can be educated by the military services and sacrifices that allow all Americans to be free. Maryland Chapter Gold Star Mothers Penny Flecker and her husband, Manny along with Theresa Karlson and her husband Bill attended and were recognized and received many heartfelt thank you’s for their sons’ sacrifices. Donations towards the monument can be made through www.howardcountyveterans.org


Maryland Patriot Guard Annual BBQ

Walter Reed National Military Medical Center

Bethesda, Maryland

June 15, 2019

The Maryland Patriot Guard (MDPG) leaders Ann and Ted Nettles invited MD Chapter Gold Star Mothers and other individuals to volunteer at their Annual BBQ.  Janice Chance represented the MD Chapter. She joined the Maryland Patriot Guard (MDPG) leaders Ted, MDPG members and other patriots in serving our wounded warriors, active duty service members and their families at the Walter Reed Medical Center USO facility.  The volunteers worked together well as a team throughout the event.  There was plenty of good food and wonderful fellowship.  The DJ played music that helped to create a happy atmosphere. The volunteers received many “thank you’s ” from our Heroes, USO staff, other civilian employees.  There was much laughter and smiles on the faces of the attendees, especially on the faces of the children.  Ann Nettles estimated that there were about 200-250 individuals in attendance. As always it was an honor to meet and serve and thank some of our nation’s Heroes and their families.


Carroll County Marine Corps League Golf Tournament Fundraiser
South Hills Golf Club
Hanover, PA
June 15, 2019
Mr. Daniel Turner, Commandant and members of the Carroll County Marine Corps League Detachment 896 (MCL), invited Gold Star Mothers to support their annual golf tournament fundraiser. Janice Chance represented the Maryland Chapter. The Maryland Chapter members were able to sponsor two Wounded Warrior Veteran teams at the General Level ($1,500). The MCL had personalized signs made for each sponsoring organization and individuals. The signs were displayed in the registration area and also at designated holes throughout the golf course. The Gold Star Mothers Maryland Chapter sign was posted at the hole #1. Janice met and interacted with the wounded warrior teams that the Chapter sponsored and also shared information about the organization with new participants. The Carroll County MCL’s mission is to support Veterans and to incubate a transgenerational culture by mentoring the Carroll County Young Marines and by encouraging the relevance of Elder Marine participation. It was a great turn out and a fun filled day. The Maryland Chapter is looking forward to participating again next year.

Care Packages for our Troops
Shopping, Packaging and Shipping
Walmart & American Legion Post #60
June 20 & 24, 2019
A Gold Star Mom’s mission is never done but it is always FUN. On Thursday, June 20th, Maryland Chapter Moms Janice Chance, Synthia Carter and Yvonne Green went shopping for the troops at the Aberdeen Walmart but the fun didn’t stop there! Our mission continued on the following Monday at the American Legion Post 60 in Laurel, Maryland where Moms Janice Chance, Yvonne Green, Gloria Crothers and Deirdre McMahon gathered to box up all of the gift items that were purchased for our men and women together for shipping. We would also like to thank Evelina Krosel and Edie Vasco from the Post’s Auxiliary for helping us pack the goodies too!
 
Some of the toiletry items ordered on line were delivered to their local store; however, when Gloria picked up the order from the store some of the items were inadvertently not included. Therefore, Gloria Crothers volunteered to pick them up at the store, pack the boxes and she shipped them to the two deployed units the next morning. The MD Chapter moms are committed to doing all that we are able to support our heroes and want to ensure them that their selfless service and sacrifice will never be forgotten. We hope that the troops will be more than happy for all the goodies and toiletries that were packed with Love.
 

APG Change of Command Ceremony
Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland
June 13, 2019
APG Post Theater was host to another Change of Command Ceremony on Thursday, 13 June. COL Robert L. Phillips (Outgoing Garrison Commander) along with his Lovely wife Lynn handed over the reigns to COL Timothy E. Druell (Incoming Garrison Commander) and his wife the former Judith Doolen of Metairie, Louisiana. In attendance were Gold Star Mom Janice Chance and Gold Star Dad Garry M Green Sr.

Operation Gratitude
Care Pouches Distribution
Lutherville, Maryland
June 1, 2019
Maryland Chapter Gold Star Mothers were invited to join Operation Gratitude to deliver Care Pouches to First Responders in Baltimore. Janice Chance represented the chapter. She joined Operation Gratitude staff and volunteers from the community and CSX corporation.
 
On June 1, several hundred volunteers came together at B&O Museum in Baltimore and assembled 10,000 Care Pouches with Operation Gratitude and CSX. Operation Gratitude is a non-profit whose mission is to forge strong bonds between Americans and their Military and First Responder heroes through volunteer service projects, acts of gratitude, and meaningful engagements in communities nationwide.
 
This isn’t the first time these two service organizations have worked together – back in January, Janice and Donna Robinson attended an Assembly Day with Operation Gratitude at the D.C. Armory, where they helped to pack 17,000+ Care Pouches for Washington D.C. First Responders. Operation Gratitude’s CEO, Kevin Schmiegel, also joined Gold Star Mothers for the Board of Directors meeting in February, where he thanked Gold Star Mothers for their strength, passion and commitment to serve.
 
The day started at The Volunteer Fire Department in Lutherville, MD, part of Baltimore County. A team from Operation Gratitude, Janice and all of the volunteers met the firefighters on duty that day, learned about their work, thanked them for their service and personally handed each one a signature Operation Gratitude Care Pouch. These little Care Pouches are similar to the Care Packages Operation Gratitude delivers to our Service Members and Veterans, but in a smaller red pouch specially designed to fit in a squad car or locker. Each Care Pouch includes treats, hygiene items, and a paracord bracelet that was handmade by a grateful American. Mostly, the Care Pouches are symbolic of the nation’s appreciation for all of those who serve. Operation Gratitude left enough Care Pouches there to be distributed to every single firefighter in Baltimore County. The firefighters were so grateful! From there, the group drove over to the Baltimore County Police Headquarters to drop off 1900 Care Pouches – one for every Police Officer in the county. Many officers were happy to share their stories of service, and they were all so happy to be shown appreciation and support. The last stop was at the Parkville precinct, where just last year they lost a young officer, Amy Caprio, who was killed in the line of duty in 2018. It was a pleasure to bring a smile to their faces.
 
Gold Star Mothers and Operation Gratitude will continue their partnership at the National Convention later this month.
Article Written By Monica Shea, C-suite Executive Manager

Memorial Day Events 2019
Gold Star Maryland Chapter moms were invited to attend and/or participate in several special Memorial Day events. Although we are grateful for the continued unwavering support and invitations, it was impossible to attend many of them. Many moms chose to Honor and Remember their Hero in their own special way. WE WILL NEVER FORGET THE SELFLESS SERVICE AND SACRIFICE OF OUR HEROES and fellow gold star families.
 
We are delighted that the following Moms, Kelly Swanson, Gloria Crothers, and Janice Chance spoke at special ceremonies on behalf of the Maryland Chapter. All ceremonies were well attended. The leaders and attendees expressed their thanks for our children’s service and ultimate sacrifice. They also expressed their appreciation to the mothers and all gold Star families.
8th Annual Chesapeake Beach Stars and Stripes Festival
Veterans Memorial Park
Chesapeake Beach, MD
May 25, 2019
Kelly Swanson spoke at the opening ceremony for the Chesapeake Beach Stars and Stripes. The festival was held from May 25 – May 27, 2019.
 
American Legion Post 38 Annual Memorial Day Ceremony
Shamrock Park
Belair, Maryland
May 27, 2019
Gloria Crothers was the guest speaker at the American Legion’s 35 th Annual Memorial Day Ceremony.
 
Wear Blue to Remember Memorial Day Run
GORC PARK
Odenton, Maryland
May 27, 2019
Janice Chance was the guest speaker for the Wear Blue Run to Remember Memorial Day Run Ceremony.
Wear Blue to Remember Photos credit to Ed Bradham

24thAnnual Maryland Center for Veterans Education and Training, Inc. (MCVET)
5K/10K Race & Walk
War Memorial Plaza
Baltimore, Maryland
June 9, 2019
Gold Star Mothers Maryland Chapter were invited by the MCVET leadership team to be a sponsor and to participate in their annual fundraiser. The Maryland Chapter was a proud bronze sponsor, which included our logo on the t-shirts that were given to participants. Gloria Crothers and Janice Chance were able to attend to represent the Chapter and to support our heroes. They joined hundreds of citizens that came for the special event. The races started from the war memorial plaza area. Gloria and Janice cheered for the walkers, runners and were able to thank many of our Heroes, MCVET staff and other participants. Janice also spoke on behalf of the MD Chapter during the program/ awards ceremony. Mr. Dick Cass, President of the Ravens not only served as the Race Marshall, but he also participated in the run. Mr. Cass along with Mrs. Evelyn Gaines, Director of the MCVET board thanked and presented awards to the winners. The weather was great as it was a beautiful sunny day and it was a great turn out. The DJ helped to keep the atmosphere lively by playing a variety of music.

Maryland American Legion Riders
Wreath Laying Ceremony
South Point Park at the Gold Star Families Memorial
Havre De Grace, Maryland
June 7, 2019
 
The Maryland American Legion Riders invited the Maryland Chapter Gold Star Mothers to attend their wreath laying ceremony in Havre De Grace, MD at the Gold Star Families Memorial on June 7, 2019. This was the first stop for the Maryland American Legion Riders during their three day ride through Maryland raising funds for The American Legion Scholarship Fund which provides college scholarship money to children of post-9/11 veterans who died on active duty, or have a combined VA disability rating of 50 percent or greater.
 
Janice Chance, Deirdre McMahon, and Gloria Crothers were in attendance along with Senior Commander of Aberdeen Proving Ground, MG Randy S. Taylor, Past National Commanders of the Sons of the American Legion, Joe Gladden and Bill Sparwasser, and Maryland Northern Central District American Legion Commander, David Heredia.
 
With stops at 5 American Legion Posts, The Pentagon 9/11 Memorial in DC and the Rocky Gap Veterans Cemetery, they will have traveled 570 miles and raised over $55,000.00 for the American Legion Legacy Scholarship Fund.
Written by Gaynell Bullock, Joseph L. Davis Post 47 Auxiliary member & Legion Riders Ride Captain
 

Perry Point VA Medical Living Center’s Annual GEC Senior Prom
Perry Point, Maryland
May 15, 2019

Maryland Chapter Gold Star Mothers were invited to participate in the Annual Perry Point GEC Senior Prom. Gloria Crothers and Janice Chance represented the chapter. They joined other VA volunteers, VA employees, and other community partners, such as VFW, APG and Bank of America. The prom’s theme was a “50’s Sock Hop. “Several staff and volunteers wore 50’s attire. The hall was also 50’s era thematically decorated.

The Volunteers and staff served approximately 70 veterans and their family. There were stands set up where the honored attendees were able to select from a variety of popular 50’s drinks and snacks; root beer floats, ice cream, soda, punch, cookies, etc. Bank of America employees manned the game stations where many veterans played games and won prizes. The staff and volunteers danced with willing veterans. A few were able to stand and dance, but most were in wheelchairs. Therefore, the volunteers took them by the hand and gently glided them around on the dance floor to 50’s music. The Havre De Grace High School Jazz band performed and an Elvis Presley impersonator entertained the veterans. They “Rocked the House.” The MD chapter covered Elvis’ fee. There was much laughter and excitement in the hall. Everyone appeared to be having a good time. Several of the nursing units decorated carts with a variety of 50’s theme shows that were included in a mini parade competition. There was a tie for a first place so they had a dance off competition to determine the winner.

Many of the veterans shared their appreciation and said that they were looking forward to next years prom. The organizers and VA leadership team thanked the staff and volunteers during the event and shared on their Facebook page that the volunteers and staff helped to make the sock hop a “rousing success”.


Memorial Day Ceremony
HUD Headquarters
Washington, DC
May 23, 2019

On Thursday, May 23, 2019, HUD held its annual Memorial Day Ceremony to honor Fallen Heroes at their Headquarters in Washington, DC. Gold Star Wives along with Gold Star Mothers Janice Chance, Donna Robinson, Gloria Crothers and Kelly Swanson were in attendance. Prior to the opening of the ceremony, the Gold Star Wives and Mothers had the honor of meeting Tuskegee Airman, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Jefferson, United States Army Air Corps (Retired). Lieutenant Colonel Jefferson (332nd Fighter Group) served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. The ceremony began with the welcome from HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson. After the welcome Dr. Ben Carson and the Honorable Jack Bergman presented certificates of Remembrance to Gold Star mothers (the ones who had not previously been recipients) and LTC Jefferson. The Mistress of Ceremonies was Adrenace Williams, U.S Marine Corp Veteran, Housing Program Specialist, Office of Housing Counseling, Policy and Grant Administration; HUD Field Operations Branch, Jackson, Mississippi Regional Office. The Master of Ceremonies was Major Eugene Harris II, U. S Air Force (Ret) Senior Project Manager, Housing Operations, HUD. The ceremony continued with a message from Richard “Rick” Toma, Chief Operating Officer, The Money Source Inc., a Financial Technology company, and a Bronze Star Recipient (Persian Gulf/Iraq War), First Lieutenant, United States Army, Retired. The Call to Action was given by Lloyd Calderon, United States Air Force (Ret) Presidential Management Fellow, Senior Business Opportunity Specialist, United States Small Business Administration, Chairman, Inter-agency Veterans Advisory Council. The keynote speaker was the Honorable Jack Bergman, United States Representative (R-Michigan 1st District) Lieutenant General, United States Marine Corps (Ret). After his message the moms and wives joined him on the stage for the laying of the Memorial Wreath. A moment of silence was observed and TAPS was played by Tom Sneeringer, Bugles Across America. It was a moving ceremony, well attended and live streamed throughout HUD.


Maryland Catholic War Veterans Congressional Centennial Memorial Mass
St. Casimir Catholic Church
Baltimore, Maryland
May 26, 2019

The Department of Maryland Catholic War Veterans and Auxiliary invited the MD Gold Star Mothers Chapter, other Gold Star mothers and wives to attend and participate in their Veterans Memorial Day Mass held at St Casimir Catholic Church, Baltimore City, MD, 5/26/2019. Donna Robinson, Gloria Crothers, Janice Chance represented the MD Chapter; Debbie Potocki gold star mom also attended. Also, in attendance were members of several veteran service organizations, active duty service members, reservists, local community group members, church members and a host of other invited guests. Honor and Color guards included Knights of Columbus and nine other Color Guard units that were provided by federal, state and local agencies. The Principal Celebrant and Homilist was Reverend Dennis Grumsey, Pastor St. Casimir Church. Six Memorial Candles were lit and carried by members of six organizations to the Pastor for placement on the altar. After the candle Memorial portion of the mass the names of the sons of the moms and the husband of Jessica Kavanagh gold star wife were read. The moms participated in the wreath laying ceremony. They were escorted during the ceremony by members of the Polish Legion of America Veterans, USA color guard. The St. Casimir’s choir and organist provided the music throughout the service. Approximately 650 people were in attendance. The mass was a wonderful memorial tribute to the men and women as President Abraham Lincoln stated who “gave the last full measure of devotion…”


Baltimore VA Medical Center “Baby Shower”
Greene Street
Baltimore, Maryland
May 13, 2019

Donna Robinson and Janice Chance represented the Gold Star others MD Chapter at the Baltimore VA Medical Center’s “Baby Shower”. Zelda McCormick, Director of the Women’s Health Program was supported by Voluntary Services, Public Affairs Office and nursing staff throughout the health care system. Several veteran service organizations and other community partners donated the baby shower gifts and made monetary donations for the 30 plus expectant mothers and mothers who have recently delivered new babies. All of the mothers were invited to bring a guest to share in the catered lunch and games with very nice prizes for the winners. The MD Chapter donated five game prize items: 3 in 1 car seat, 6 in 1 highchair, infant -to-toddler rocker, kick and play piano gym and a feeding and infant support pillow. Volunteers were stationed at both entrances to greet the expectant moms and their guests. The atmosphere was one of pure joy and happiness. The room was beautifully decorated in pink and blue. The families were seated together to enhance interaction and fellowship. One of the highlights during the baby shower was when Janice saw expectant mom Chasey Romani. She was the only female Marine Reservist on the viewing detail team that performed the dignified transfer of her son Captain Jesse Melton III U.S Marine Corp that was KIA on 9 September 2008 in Afghanistan from the hearse into Vaughn Greene Funeral Home. The team took turns standing guard at her Family’s Hero casket. Janice shared the story with the guests and Chasey and Janice also shared the story with a reporter from channel 2 news. It was a heart-warming moment. Each mom received a diaper bag filled with baby items, an insulated cooler with bottles and other items, some selected a large gift bag with other surprise items and several won the large ticket baby items after winning one of the games. The shower was a huge success.

 

Legacy Forest Memorial
Gold Star Spouses & Family Tea
Top of the Bay – Plum Point
Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Maryland
May 19, 2019
 
(Excerpts Written by Yvonne Johnson/Radio.com)
Gold Star Family members, local dignitaries and guests gathered on Plum Point near the Top of the Bay banquet hall to witness the unveiling of the new Legacy Forest Memorial during the Gold Star Spouses & Family Tea event. The program, which began outside at the as yet unfinished memorial site, included remarks by APG Senior Commander Maj. Gen Randy Taylor, commander of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command, and a moving presentation of stones engraved with the names of the fallen — many of whose family members were in attendance — conducted by APG Soldiers and led by CECOM Command Sgt. Maj. Frank Gutierrez. “Americans recognize that no one has given more to these United States, than the Families of the fallen,” said the program emcee, Drew Rehkop, CECOM Strategic Initiatives Group lead, as he introduced Taylor…Gold Star mothers, spouses and Family members expressed their appreciation of the monument, the ceremony and the overall gesture of solidarity. Donna Robinson, Maryland Gold Star Mothers Sgt. at Arms, said the ceremony brought tears to her eyes. “It brought it all back,” she said, “but like the general said, it was a happy occasion so it was really bittersweet. I really appreciate everything they do here at [APG]. They have truly been there for us, but this monument, that’s over the top for me.” Robinson is the mother of Staff Sgt. Damion Campbell, an Army medic who was serving with the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Afghanistan when he was killed by an improvised explosive device, Aug. 26, 2005…Ceremony guests included Janice Chance, president, Maryland Gold Star Mothers; Dr. Alan McCarthy, Cecil County Executive; Matthew Meyer, New Castle County, Delaware Executive; Maryland State Senator Bob Cassilly; Maj. Gen. Cedric Wins, commander of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command; Maj. Gen. Peter Gallagher, Network Cross Functional Team Director; and Brig. Gen. Robert Collins, Program Executive Officer for Intelligence Electronic Warfare & Sensors.

Sergeant Sherwood Reynolds Road Dedication

Prince Frederick, Maryland

May 4, 2019

On May 4, 2019, Maryland Chapter Gold Star Mothers were invited to attend the road dedication for Sgt. Sherwood Reynolds, US Army, who was Killed in Action in Vietnam on February 26, 1968.  The dedication took place at the Gray-Ray American Legion Post 220, located on Sixes Road in Prince Frederick, Maryland.  President/Chaplain Janice Chance, Donna Robinson, and Kelly Swanson were in attendance.  Janice opened the ceremony in prayer, with Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary George Owings making the opening remarks and was the Master of Ceremony.  Janice was the keynote speaker and spoke eloquently about the life of Sgt. Reynolds.  Sgt. Reynolds is the first African American as well as the first resident from Calvert County that made the ultimate sacrifice.  Sgt. Reynolds was 22 years of age.  He along with four of his brothers followed in the footsteps of their father, Rookie Reynolds who served in the Army during WWII.  As a matter of fact, Sherwood and his twin brother Linwood enlisted in the military together.  It was a pleasure and an honor to attend the road dedication and to meet Sgt. Reynolds’ family.  Janice, Donna, and Kelly also gave all the Vietnam Vets, who were in attendance, our challenge coins and rendered our mom’s hand salute. 


VET DOGS 5 K Run & 2K

Dog Walk The Avenue At White Marsh

Baltimore, Maryland 

April 28, 2019

Gold Star MD Chapter moms Deidre McMahon, Gloria Crothers, and Janice Chance “Barked their calendars” to ensure that they did not miss out on joining more than 400 people who came out early on Sunday morning to participate in the America’s VetDogs 5K Run & 2 Mile Dog Walk.  In addition to participating in the walk, the MD Chapter members made a $1,000 donation to this wonderful organization because they are committed to help make a difference in the lives of veterans.  WBAL TV News Anchor Jason Newton served as the Master of Ceremony. “Puppy With A Purpose”, Camden and Sully (the service dog that was gifted to the late President George H.W. Bush and is now a facility dog at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center), made guest appearances at the event.  Alex van Breukelen, a Marine Corps veteran who was diagnosed with PTSD, shared his story of how receiving Tara, a service dog from America’s VetDogs, positively changed his life.  It was a heart warming story that caused some of the participants’ eyes to fill with tears. Maryland’s 9/11 Rolling Memorial and supporter, Chuck Ritz were also present to share and display our Maryland fallen Heroes. The plaza was filled with friendly pets, children, and adults.  There were several eateries that hosted food and drink tents, and live music was provided by the group Riot House after the awards ceremony for the participants.  The event was a huge success, and everyone is already looking forward to doing it again next year!  


American Red Cross of Greater Chesapeake 

“SOUND THE ALARM, SAVE A LIFE Campaign” 

Epicenter Edgewood, MD 

April 25, 2019 

Maryland Chapter Gold Star Mothers were invited by Mrs. Yolanda Gainwell, Regional Service to the Armed Forces Director, Interim (SAF) to participate in the American Red Cross (ARC) of the Greater Chesapeake annual “Sound the Alarm, Save A Life Campaign”. Donna Robinson, Synthia Carter, Deidre McMahon, Gloria Crothers and Janice Chance represented the Gold Star Mothers Maryland Chapter. Donna stayed at the ARC campaign base to assist with other duties and the other moms joined the many volunteers who went out in teams to at-risk neighborhoods in the Edgewood Maryland a community in Hartford County. 

Members of the ARC National and local leadership teams also participated in canvasing the neighborhoods and installing smoke alarms. Mr. Peter Macias, Director SAF Communications at National Headquarters, Scott Salemme, Regional CEO of Greater Chesapeake, Matt Bertram, Sr. Vice President of Volunteer Services, and Mrs. Gainwell served alongside volunteers to make homes safer. Each team worked together to ensure that smoke detectors were installed in as many homes as possible and also provided fire safety education and materials. The moms served in group three, which was split into four teams, each team having a Gold Star Mom represented. Teams were comprised of four volunteers that had specific responsibilities:  Installers, Educator, and Recorder.   Most of the men served as installers testing all existing smoke detectors to ensure they were working as well as successfully installing many new smoke detectors.   

Many volunteers and the Gold Star Moms expressed that It was great to serve alongside so many friendly willing volunteers and was delighted to know that their service is making a positive difference in the lives of residents in the community. The residents also expressed their appreciation and gave us their well wishes.  Sadly, statistics reveal that 7 people die each day in home fires. Most often the homes did not have a working smoke alarm.  Installing alarms can cut the risk of death in half.  The National ARC goal is to install 100,000 free smoke alarms in the homes of at risk individuals, whereas, the regional goal for Greater Chesapeake is to install 2,000 smoke alarms throughout Maryland and the Delmarva peninsula.  Since the inception of the  NSTA Campaign in 2014 the American Red Cross has saved over 600 lives. 


Horses Help Heroes “A Day at the Races” Fundraiser
Laurel, Maryland
April 27, 2019 

Gold star family members of the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) and Gold Star MD Chapter members were invited to participate in a fun day at the Laurel race track by Dean Macy, Founder of the Horses Help Heroes organization.   Horses Help Heroes is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to enriching the lives of service-connected disabled veterans, their families and families who have lost loved ones while serving on active duty. HHH provides a variety of equine-related programs in a supportive environment at no cost to our veterans and families.  The event was a combined fundraiser and fun day for gold star families.   Deirdre McMahon, Gloria Crothers and Janice Chance represented the MD Chapter.  However, Janice and many other MD Chapter moms are also members of the TAPS family. Gold Star family members were permitted access to the winner’s circle where they had the honor to meet the jockey who rode the horse that won the race that was dedicated to the HORSES HELP HEROES organization. Family members were also permitted to go to the paddock, the area where the jockeys saddle up and prepare for the races.  The event provided many opportunities for the gold star families to bond.   There was much laughter and excitement throughout the event.  It was especially heart-warming to see the children having fun.  The fundraiser was a huge success. Special thanks to Dean Macy, volunteers and the Laurel Race Track leadership. 


Warrior Events Army vs. Navy Lacrosse Game Spring Tailgate
Annapolis, Maryland
April 13, 2019 

Warrior Events invited Maryland Gold Star Mothers to help with their Annual Spring Tailgate for the Troops fundraiser at the Army Vs. Navy Lacrosse Game that was held at the Navy-Marine Corps Stadium. Donna Robinson and Janice Chance represented the Maryland Chapter moms. Peatoria Perdue niece of Maryland Chapter mom Edith Hines and cousin LT Meshondra Collins NC, US Navy Reserves Corps joined the moms and other volunteers.  The volunteers assisted with a variety of duties including selling raffle tickets, Warrior Event T Shirts, hats and serving food to guests and donors. Attendees were treated to a variety of delicious foods and beverages that were donated by local businesses. The DJ provided music that helped create a festive atmosphere. Warrior Events also had a large television mounted in the covered tent that broadcasted the game and children were entertained by several outdoor games. The Warrior Events’ mission is to provide opportunities for interaction, enjoyment and camaraderie for wounded warriors and to raise awareness and appreciation among the public. Their sole purpose is to enrich the lives of those wounded. The Maryland Chapter moms consider it a pleasure and honor to serve and support this wonderful service organization! 


Operation No Person Left Behind Outdoors

6th Annual Bull Roast Fundraiser

Martin’s East

Baltimore, Maryland

April 7, 2019

Maryland Gold Star Mothers were invited to assist Operation No Person Left Behind Outdoors (NPLB) with their annual fundraiser. Theresa Karlson, Janice Chance, Michelle Murphy, Donna Robinson, Yvonne Green and Gloria Crothers volunteered at various stations. The Chapter also donated two baskets for their silent auction. Maryland Gold Star Mom and Dad, Kelly & Gary Swanson donated their Gatlinburg, Tennessee cabin for the live auction.

NPLB’s Mission:

We are patriotic citizens committed to serving our wounded, injured and ill combat veterans. We support veterans and their families while they recover in military hospitals by building relationships and identifying and supporting immediate needs and interests. We are dedicated to promoting public awareness of the many sacrifices made by our Armed Forces. Visit their website for more information: www.operationnplboutdoors.org.

We enjoyed talking to supporters of this event and shared information about our organization. We look forward to helping and supporting NPLB with future events.


Maryland Patriot Guard

Annual Fundraiser

Westminster, Maryland

April 6, 2019

On April 6th Maryland Chapter Gold Star Mothers Lauren Seidler, Gloria Crothers, and Janice Chance, supported the Maryland Patriot Guard by attending their fundraiser at Vanessa’s Corner Pub in Westminster, Maryland. The Maryland Chapter donated four gift baskets to help the Patriot Guard raise funds.  Gold Star Mother Lauren Seidler assembled the beautiful baskets.  Three were included in the basket raffle and one large basket/cooler was included in the silent auction because it was filled with items that were “Made in the USA”. The moms helped 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.  The moms enjoyed a fun afternoon making new friends and supporting their Patriot Guard Family and friends. The Maryland Chapter moms are grateful to the Maryland Patriot Guard for honoring Gold Star mothers, families, their fallen heroes and for all that they do to support our nation’s veterans.


Truckin4Troops Designer Bag Bingo Fundraiser

Elks Lodge 2482

Severna Park, MD

March 31, 2019

 Founders of the Truckin4Troops Foundation, Scott and his wife Lynne Mallary, invited Gold Star Mothers Maryland Chapter members to volunteer at their Designer Bag Bingo Fundraiser that was held at the Severna Park Elks Lodge # 2482. Truckin4Troops’ mission is “We are dedicated to supporting and serving our wounded servicemen and women through creating family functions and events such as bonfires, cookouts, swimming, boating, etc. to get the wounded and their families out of the hospital for well-needed rehabilitation…” Additional information can be found on their website www.truckin4troops.org            

Maryland Chapter moms Stephanie White, Gloria Crothers, Deirdre McMahon, Donna Robinson and Janice Chance volunteered and assisted with a variety of duties. Natasha Johnson, a Maryland Chapter supporter, also served as a volunteer. The volunteers were assigned to assist with a variety duties, eg, checking in guests, silent auction, selling 50/50 raffle tickets and raffle tickets for the Truckin4Troops Jeep, distribution of purses and prizes to the bingo winners and other duties as required. Lynne and Scott Mallory thanked the attendees and volunteers for their support. They gave special recognition to the Gold Star moms and provided an opportunity for Janice to briefly share about the Gold Star Mothers organization history, and about some of ways that the Maryland Chapter has been and is continuing to fulfill their mission – “Honoring Through Service.” Each mom was also given the opportunity to share about their hero. The Maryland Chapter members expressed their gratitude to Scott and Lynne for the invitation to volunteer that provided another opportunity to partner with an organization that is also committed to serving and supporting our Heroes and their families. We are looking forward to volunteering at other Truckin4Troops organization events.


Archbishop Francis P. Keough Assembly Fourth Degree

Knights of Columbus #385 

First Annual Patriotic Breakfast 

Columbus Gardens

Baltimore, Maryland

March 2, 2019 

Gold Star Maryland Chapter members were invited to attend the Knights of Columbus (KOC) First Annual Patriotic Breakfast that was held in honor of Vietnam Veterans by Mr. David Bellistri and the leadership team.  Synthia Carter, Donna Robinson and Janice Chance represented the chapter. Janice was given the honor to be the keynote speaker and Mr. Bellistri served as the master of ceremonies. After the members served a delicious breakfast, Mr. Bellistri gave a short message of appreciation to the heroes, their families and Gold Star mothers on behalf of the organization. During her message, Janice gave special recognition to the Vietnam veterans not only because the event was given in their honor, but also because they did not receive the hero’s welcome that they deserved when they returned home from the war. She proudly shared that the Maryland Chapter decided to have a special 50th Anniversary Commemorative Challenge Coin made to Honor Vietnam Veterans in 2016.  

After Janice’s message, Mr Bellistri and Mr. Curtis Phillips, Faithful Navigator and CEO of the Assembly once again thanked the heroes and stated that the Gold Star Mothers always have a friend in the KOC and offered their help in anyway in the future. Mr Bellistri gave a short power point presentation remembering the perils of war and why we need to remember the service of all who have served and especially paid the ultimate sacrifice. He reflected on a time during his childhood when a special friend who was killed in action in 1967 during the Vietnam War. His dad, who served in two wars, WWII and Korea, and was in attendance at the age of 93, told him many stories of his service and always stressed to him the importance of why we need to remember. Mr Bellistri and his dad began a tradition to always visit their friend’s grave site every Memorial Day. They have kept this tradition going for the past 51 years.

At the conclusion of the event, members of the Assembly, and Mr Fritz Leach, Retired Army Colonel, and Master of the Fourth Degree, presented all veterans present, with a challenge coin that they had specially designed to demonstrate their appreciation to them, and others which included the Gold Star Mothers. After the KOC presentation, the Gold Star Mothers presented all of the Vietnam Veterans with the Maryland Chapter’s Challenge Coin.  The veterans, KOC members and other patriots in attendance expressed their appreciation


Eastern Baltimore County VA Outpatient Clinic

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, Open House & Enrollment Fair 

Rosedale, Maryland

March 23, 2019 

The VA Maryland Health Care System leadership team held a ribbon cutting ceremony for their new Eastern Baltimore County VA Outpatient Clinic that is located at 5235 King Avenue in Rosedale, Maryland, that also included an Open House and Enrollment Fair.  Dr. Adam Robinson. Jr., Director of the VA Maryland Heath Care System invited County and State legislators, Maryland Veteran Affairs officials, Veteran Service organization representatives and other distinguished guest to attend the ceremony. Dr. Robinson expressed his thanks to everyone that helped to make their goal to open the clinic become a reality. He also gave special recognition, thanks and appreciation to Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger who was instrumental in getting the new clinic built in Rosedale. Even though Congressman Ruppersberger was unable to attend, Mr. Bart Kennedy was there to represent the Congressman’s office.

Although it was windy chilly morning many faithful supporters came out to participate and to tour the new clinic. Janice Chance represented the Gold Star Mothers Maryland Chapter. Many veterans also came out to tour the new clinic, meet the staff, enroll and to mingle with their fellow veterans. The clinic is bright and beautifully decorated.  A variety of health care services will be provided for the veterans. Several of the female veterans expressed their delight when they learned that a special section of the clinic has been designed for women’s health care services.  The staff on duty were also excited as they warmly greeted the veterans as they provided enrollment service and information. It was a very successful event as there was much excitement, laughter, and celebrating.


WID ATHENA Leadership Award Breakfast
Richlin Ballroom
Edgewood, Maryland
March 1, 2019

The Women In Defense (WID) Mid-Atlantic Chapter leadership team invited Maryland Chapter Gold Star mothers to attend the ATHENA Leadership Award Breakfast that was held at the Richlin Ballroom on March 1, 2019.  The event was hosted by the Harford Community College Foundation, Inc.  Janice Chance and Gloria Crothers represented the Maryland Chapter.  The ATHENA Leadership Award is presented to a woman who is honored for attaining professional excellence, community service and for actively assisting women in their achievement of professional excellence and leadership skills.   The ATHENA Leadership Award was inspired by the goddess of Greek mythology known for her strength, courage, wisdom and enlightenment – qualities embodied in the ATHENA Leadership Model. Ms. Sharon Jacobs the WID Past President was one of the eight finalists for the Leadership Award.  She is currently the CEO of the Strategic Alliances Group, Inc.  Ms. Jacobs not only serves within the community, she also served our country. Sharon retired after 20 years of service in the US Army Acquisition Corp.

Over the past few years, the WID Mid-Atlantic Chapter members have been faithful supporters and have developed a wonderful relationship with the Maryland Chapter Gold Star mothers and families. It was a pleasure and honor for Janice and Gloria to attend the ATHENA Leadership Awards Breakfast to support one of our nation’s SHE-ROES.  They were warmly greeted by the WID members and was pleasantly surprised when they were gifted with a beautiful plant as a small token of their appreciation. After the announcement was made that Sharon Jacobs was the winner of the ATHENA Leadership Award, she received a standing ovation from her many supporters and a hearty round of applause from the other attendees.  Janice and Gloria considered it a blessing and honor to be in attendance to witness Ms. Jacobs receiving a much-deserved award and to celebrate along with her other supporters.  The Maryland Chapter extends thanks to the WID for their many acts of kindness and special CONGRATULATIONS and prayers to Ms. Jacobs for her continued success.


Warrior Events
7th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Annapolis, Maryland
March 10, 2019
 
There were Shamrocks, Leprechauns and Irish regalia everywhere you looked at the Seventh Annual Annapolis St. Patrick’s Day parade on Sunday, March 10th. Warrior Events invited the Maryland Gold Star Mothers to participate in the Annapolis St. Patrick’s Day parade with wounded warriors and their families. The Warrior Events’ floats had a huge American flag, as well as a red, white and blue balloon arch and bald eagle, all representing our Nation’s support for our military and their families. As we waited for the parade to start, we were introduced to a very special group of warriors – four members from the Norwegian Telemark Battalion. This battalion is a mechanized infantry unit, part of the Norwegian Army’s Immediate Reaction Force. You could pick them out of the crowd as they wore – true to form – Viking helmets! Gold Star Mothers Theresa Karlson, Gina Barnhurst, and Paula Davis walked in the parade and were moved by how many people waved at and applauded us. As we walked in the parade, we were “backed” by our faithful green “Army Men”, with Fence and Deck Connection, Inc. who sponsored the Warrior Events floats.
 
Maryland Chapter Mothers would like to thank Tina Tozzi, Coleen Sharpe, 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. This was our fourth time participating and every year, we are honored to be part of this event.
 
 

Annual Prayer Luncheon
Top of the Bay Restaurant
Aberdeen Proving Grounds
Aberdeen, Maryland
February 21, 2019

Thursday, February 21, 2019 was a very special day at the Top of the Bay Restaurant at Aberdeen Proving Ground Army Base. The Chaplain Service held their annual National Prayer Luncheon. To most a prayer luncheon is something that is done out of tradition but it really has an interesting beginning. In 1952 when Eisenhower was on the campaign trail, he confided in Senator Carlson that during the war he had a “spiritual experience “. He not only felt the hand of God on him but he also felt His presence. After being elected and a few days shy of being sworn in, President Eisenhower invited Senator Carlson over and stated how lonely he was to which Senator Carlson invited him to his prayer group. After attending the first combined prayer breakfast for both houses of Congress a precedent was set for the annual event. Military commands and installations followed the Commander-in-Chief’s traditional prayer breakfast, which led to this year’s event. Gold Star families were once again invited to attend. Donna Robinson and Janice Chance represented the Maryland Chapter, and several Gold Star spouses and siblings also attended. CH (MAJ) Denise Hagler, Deputy Garrison Chaplain served as the MC. Attendees were treated to a delicious lunch that was catered by the Top of the Bay staff. After MG Randy Taylor gave a few remarks, three selected guests prayed special prayers for our Nation, Armed Forces and for families. Mrs. Renesha Robinson sang a special song prior to the introduction of the keynote speaker Rabbi Kushi Schusterman, Director Chanda of Hartford County, Bel Air, Maryland.

Rabi Schusterman delivered a timely inspirational message. Many people remarked that they enjoyed and were uplifted by his message. Although it was cold outside the atmosphere inside was peaceful and warm. As the saying goes “The family that prays together, stays together”. It was another memorable event.


American Legion Post 276
10th Annual Maryland Marathon Bluegrass Jam
Fisher House Foundation Fundraiser
Severn, Maryland
February 23, 2019

Maryland Gold Star Mothers, Janice Chance and Donna Robinson, as well as Gold Star family member Peatoria Purdue volunteered in shifts to help raise money for the Fisher House Foundation. Gold Star Mothers and family members were invited to partner with Team Leidos employees. Amy Kriner served as the team leader. 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 veteran’s 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. We assisted with various duties included selling baked goods, raffle tickets and working the money wheel. It was a wonderful time of service, fellowship, good food, and great music. It was a joy to see the smiles on the faces and hear the laughter of the attendees, especially the children when they won a toy during the money wheel game. It was truly a blessing to be able to participate in an event that provided another opportunity for us to “HONOR OUR HEROES THROUGH SERVICE”.


Donation from Sons of the American Legion Squadron # 60
American Legion Post 60
Laurel, Maryland
February 27, 2019

While Gold Star mothers Regina Barnhurst, Paula Davis, Theresa Karlson and Janice Chance were assembling Care Packages for our deployed troops at the American Legion (ALA) Post 60 with the assistance of Evelina Krosel, ALA Auxiliary Post 60 President and Sherry Gallagher, Janice was asked to come into the adjacent room where the Sons of the American Legion ( SAL) Squadron 60 were conducting their “ Queen of Hearts” fundraising event. Janice was informed that a decision had been made to donate money that was raised from raffling off a basket that was made by Evelina to the Maryland Chapter. Shortly after Janice returned and the group resumed packing boxes the Moms were pleasantly surprised when Joe Lohman, SAL Finance Officer came into the room and presented the Moms with a check for $200 on behalf of the SAL. Later Mr. Andrew Nenichka, Commander of Squadron 60 came over to thank the Moms for their service and agreed to take an official picture of the check presentation with Joe Lohman, Tim Smith (SAL) member and the Maryland Chapter moms. The Maryland Chapter is very fortunate to have received a monetary donation that will help us to continue to fulfill our mission. Several of the SAL members, which included Tim, also helped load the completed care packages into the Mom’s cars so that we can process them to be delivered to our deployed troops.


Care Packages for Troops
American Legion Post #60
Laurel, Maryland
February 27, 2019

Maryland Gold Star Mothers Janice Chance, Gina Barnhurst, Paula Davis, and Theresa Karlson once again met at the American Legion to assemble care packages for some of our nation’s deployed heroes. Special Thanks to Commander Luby for once again allowing us to use the hall and thanks to the American Legion Auxiliary Post 60 President Evelina Krosel, and member Sherry Gallagher for joining us in packing the boxes with toiletries, snacks and hand written thank you notes on behalf of the Maryland Chapter for three deployed units who are currently serving in Afghanistan and overseas. Over 15 boxes will be shipped out this week. We can never thank our Heroes enough for their Selfless Service and Sacrifice. We pray that our gifts will bring a smile to their faces, reassure them that they are not forgotten and that we appreciate their Selfless Service and Sacrifice. We HONOR AND SALUTE THEM!!


Shopping for our Troops, VA Perry Point Medical Center and Maryland Center for Veterans Education and Training Homeless Shelter (MCVET)
Walmart
Laurel, Maryland
February 19, 2019

Maryland Gold Star Mothers Regina Barnhurst, Paula Davis, Gloria Crothers and Janice Chance met at Walmart in Laurel, Maryland to purchase goodies and toiletries to be mailed to three deployed units of Heroes. We also shopped for requested items for some of our Hero Veterans at the Perry Point VA Medical Center and MCVET. We filled five carts that included a combination of toiletries, socks, underwear and goodies. Care packages will be assembled and shipped the week of February 25th. The socks and underwear will also be delivered to our veterans as requested the week of February 25th. The Moms spent hours shopping and were able to share about the Gold Star Mothers mission and service projects with several shoppers that asked why we were purchasing so many items. The Maryland Chapter Mothers enjoyed a wonderful time of fellowship while shopping for our Nation’s Heroes.


National Salute to Veterans Week
VA Medical Centers
Baltimore, Maryland
February 11, 14 and 16, 2019

Annually, during the week of Valentine’s Day, Maryland Chapter Gold Star Mothers 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 several Maryland Chapter members had the distinct honor to visit Heroes at all three Maryland VA Medical Centers, that included approximately 250 patients. The first visit was made on 2/11 to Heroes at the Perry Point VA Medical Center by Gloria Crothers, Deirdre McMahon, Synthia Carter and Janice Chance. The second visit was made on 2/14 to Heroes at the Loch Raven VA Medical Center. Gloria, Deirdre, and Janice partnered with two Marine Corps League (MCL) detachment 565 members Marian James, Earl Ruff, American Legion Northeastern Unit 285 member Betty Armstrong, and American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) Federal Unit 19 member Vanessa Jackson-Frazier. The MCL and the ALA gifted the veterans with cards, canteen coupons and handmade Afghans were given to the female veterans. The last visit was made on 2/16 to our heroes at the VA Baltimore Medical Center by Theresa Karlson, Donna Robinson, Paula Davis, and Janice Chance. Moms were joined by Marine Corps League members Earl Ruff and Ray Vaughn. During the visits, our heroes and family members were thanked for their selfless service and sacrifice to our country. The Moms also rendered to every hero what they lovingly refer to as their “Gold Star Mothers Hand Salute”. The Marines also rendered a hand salute and assisted with the distribution of gifts. All Veterans at the three medical centers received their requested toiletry items including customized toiletry bags with a few travel size items, a regular size bottle of body wash, balloons, lotion and a word find puzzle books from the Maryland Chapter. Neck and body pillows were also given to Loch Raven hospice patients. Our Heroes shared stories about their service and expressed their appreciation. A group picture was taken with one of our heroes as requested by the veteran and his family. The healthcare staff and other employees were also thanked for the service that they provide to our Heroes. The Maryland Chapter Moms are looking forward to continuing to serve and support our Heroes. We are Grateful to God for enabling us to continue the Legacy of our Children’s Service.


2019 Year of the Veteran in Maryland Proclamation Announcement
Maryland State House
Annapolis, Maryland
February 7, 2019

Maryland Lieutenant Governor Boyd Rutherford, Secretary of Maryland Veterans Affairs George Owings III, Robert Finn, Deputy Secretary of Maryland Veterans Affairs, over 100 veterans, distinguished guests and other supporters were present when Governor Hogan proclaimed 2019 as the Year of the Veteran in Maryland. The announcement was made in front of the group who stood on the north steps of the Maryland State House. One of the heroes that served with the Tuskegee Airman, Private Major Anderson was among the special guests. Gold Star Maryland Chapter members Janice Chance and Michelle Murphy were also in attendance in support of our veteran heroes. During his remarks, Governor Hogan said “Our administration is committed to ensuring that Maryland’s 380,000 veterans are recognized for their service and this proclamation is yet another way we can show our gratitude and honor to the men and women who have sacrificed so much for Maryland and our Nation”. Secretary Owings III also spoke at the event. He expressed his appreciation to Governor Hogan for his support of veterans and for proclaiming 2019 as The Year of the Veteran. He also said “Proclaiming 2019 as the Year of the Veteran provides our state a timeless opportunity to honor our veterans for their service and sacrifice.” Following the announcement guest attended a reception that was held in the Governor’s reception room. Janice and Michelle seized the opportunity to thank Governor Hogan for his continued unwavering support of veterans and Gold Star families. They also had the pleasure and honor to meet and thank Tuskegee Airman unit member Private Major Anderson and many of the other veterans for their selfless service and sacrifice. It was a wonderful time of celebration.


4th Vettys – Annual Veterans Awards
The Watergate Hotel
January 20, 2019

An invitation was extended to Gold Star Mothers, Janice Chance, Paula Davis, Yvonne Green, Joy Goode, Michelle Murphy and Donna Robinson that volunteered at the Annual Manhattans Martinis & Mistletoe event hosted by the American Freedom Fund (AFF) held on December 5, 2018, to attend the 4th Annual Vettys Award event.

The Veterans Awards also known as the Vettys® is presented by the Academy of United States Veterans and its partner organizations. The ceremony solely honors public servants, leaders, and innovators within the veterans space. The 4th annual Veterans Awards was organized in partnership with Disabled American Veterans, The Independence Fund, Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes, and Melwood Veteran Services. Gold Star Moms and Dads were the special guests of Mark L. Rockefeller, CEO/Co- founder of Street Shares and Assai Ravandi President/ CEO Veteran Academy of United States Veterans (AUSV). The Awards were hosted by Jake Tapper (CNN NEWS) and Presenters: Casey Affleck (Actor) and Shohreh Aghdashloo (Actress). Also, in attendance at the Star-studded event was General George W. Casey, Jr.

Congratulations to all of the award winners and nominees. Especially the Travis Manion Foundation (TMF) on winning the Veterans Choice Award which was accepted by Ryan Manion, President TMF. She acknowledged and thanked the Gold Star Maryland Chapter mothers during her acceptance speech. Also, congratulations to Mr. Don Bramer, founder and Chairman of Bramer Group and Founder & Executive Director of the American Freedom Fund who selected the Gold Star Mothers Maryland Chapter to be one of the three organizers to receive an award for service and support of veterans on December 5, 2018. THANK YOU Ryan Manion and Mr. Don Bramer.


Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service Community Project
The Jewish Community Center (JCC)
Baltimore, Maryland
January 21, 2019

Delegate Shelly Hettleman, 11th District and Councilman Izzy Patoka, District 2 planned a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day community service outdoor clean-up project, but due to the frigid weather they joined forces with the Jewish Volunteer Services and moved the event indoors at the JCC. Volunteers who participated assisted with a variety of children’s crafts, and attended a learning session about Dr. King. Janice Chance represented the Gold Star Mothers Maryland Chapter and served at the “Blessing Bags” distribution of items table. A large number of “Blessing Bags” were assembled to distribute to people who are homeless and children, teens and adults assisted with assembling with the “Blessing Bags”. John Hopkins University coach Bob Babb was also present with a group of his baseball players. Volunteers were able to participate in on-going service projects throughout the event. Janice, along with many of the adult volunteers, attended a session to learn about the root causes of homelessness in the community that was presented by speakers from Healthcare for the Homeless. Members of the Baltimore Jewish Council were also in attendance to provide tips and to teach about ways to become an advocate on the local and State level.  Working together with a diverse group of concerned citizens on Dr. King’s Holiday was a great way to celebrate his legacy and to continue progress toward fulfilling his “I HAVE A DREAM” speech.


Operation Gratitude Assembly Day
Washington, DC Armory
January 17, 2019

The Operation Gratitude organization invited volunteers from Washington, DC and the surrounding communities to participate in their Assembly Day. Donna Robinson and Janice Chance represented the Maryland Chapter. They joined hundreds of volunteers at the Washington, DC Armory to assemble 25,000 Operation Gratitude Care Pouches that will be distributed to some of our nation’s Heroes that include First Responders, Law Enforcement Officers, Firefighters and National Guardsmen serving locally in Washington, D.C. and also those serving in more than a dozen other cities across the United States. As listed on their invitation, “The event is part of Operation Gratitude’s grassroots movement to forge strong bonds between grateful Americans and their Military and First Responder Heroes through volunteer service projects, acts of gratitude, and meaningful engagements in communities nationwide”.

Donna and Janice met and volunteered alongside members of several organizations as they stuffed the pouches with goodies and other practical items such as hand sanitizer, a writing pen, hand warmers, etc. They also were able to meet and thank several of the First responders, Firefighters, National Guard service members, Law enforcement officers, the Chief of Police, a U.S. Marine Corps wounded warrior Sherman Gillums that served in both the OIF and OEF campaigns and his wife, Tammie Gillums, an Army Afghanistan OEF Veteran. Janice and Donna were fulfilling the Gold Star Mothers’ mission, simply put “Honoring Through Service”. As Becky Christmas, President of the National American Gold Star Mothers, Inc. said “We are Mothers on a Mission. We are a Powerful Force”.


Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford
Inaugural Ball
MGM National Harbor
January 16, 2019


Maryland Gold Star Mothers were invited to the Inaugural Ball that celebrated Maryland Governor Hogan and Lt. Governor Rutherford’s recent election victory. This is Governor Hogan’s second term as Governor of Maryland. Janice Chance and Gold Star Step dad Charlton Chance, Donna Robinson and Theresa Karlson were chauffeured to the event by Scott and Lynne Mallory Founders of the Truckin 4 Troops organization. They also transported wounded warrior US Army Veteran Tom McRae, as well as seven year old Veterans supporter Tyler Stallings and his mother. Thousands of supporters enjoyed live music, dancing, good food, and beverages. Also in attendance were the following Maryland Gold Star Mothers and family members: Paula Davis, Yvonne & spouse Garry Green, Michelle & spouse Kenmore Murphy, Edith Hines – her nieces Peatoria Purdue, Meshondra Collins, and MeiTei Smith. The Gold Star families seized the opportunity to enjoy the fellowship with other families as well as members of other service organizations leaders and members such as Patsy Jackson, Regional Navy Gold Star Coordinator, Warrior Events, Raina Taylor and members of the Gold Star Wives of America Inc., North Capitol Region and Chuck Ritz – owner and founder of Maryland’s 9/11 Rolling Memorial. Gold Star Maryland Chapter mom Deborah Tucker was interviewed by the CBS local news. During the interview she commended the Governor for his continued support of our Gold Star families.

 

Sergeant Sherwood Reynolds Road Dedication

Prince Frederick, Maryland

May 4, 2019

On May 4, 2019, Maryland Chapter Gold Star Mothers were invited to attend the road dedication for Sgt. Sherwood Reynolds, US Army, who was Killed in Action in Vietnam on February 26, 1968.  The dedication took place at the Gray-Ray American Legion Post 220, located on Sixes Road in Prince Frederick, Maryland.  President/Chaplain Janice Chance, Donna Robinson, and Kelly Swanson were in attendance.  Janice opened the ceremony in prayer, with Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary George Owings making the opening remarks and was the Master of Ceremony.  Janice was the keynote speaker and spoke eloquently about the life of Sgt. Reynolds.  Sgt. Reynolds is the first African American as well as the first resident from Calvert County that made the ultimate sacrifice.  Sgt. Reynolds was 22 years of age.  He along with four of his brothers followed in the footsteps of their father, Rookie Reynolds who served in the Army during WWII.  As a matter of fact, Sherwood and his twin brother Linwood enlisted in the military together.  It was a pleasure and an honor to attend the road dedication and to meet Sgt. Reynolds’ family.  Janice, Donna, and Kelly also gave all the Vietnam Vets, who were in attendance, our challenge coins and rendered our mom’s hand salute. 


VET DOGS 5 K Run & 2K

Dog Walk The Avenue At White Marsh

Baltimore, Maryland 

April 28, 2019

Gold Star MD Chapter moms Deidre McMahon, Gloria Crothers, and Janice Chance “Barked their calendars” to ensure that they did not miss out on joining more than 400 people who came out early on Sunday morning to participate in the America’s VetDogs 5K Run & 2 Mile Dog Walk.  In addition to participating in the walk, the MD Chapter members made a $1,000 donation to this wonderful organization because they are committed to help make a difference in the lives of veterans.  WBAL TV News Anchor Jason Newton served as the Master of Ceremony. “Puppy With A Purpose”, Camden and Sully (the service dog that was gifted to the late President George H.W. Bush and is now a facility dog at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center), made guest appearances at the event.  Alex van Breukelen, a Marine Corps veteran who was diagnosed with PTSD, shared his story of how receiving Tara, a service dog from America’s VetDogs, positively changed his life.  It was a heart warming story that caused some of the participants’ eyes to fill with tears. Maryland’s 9/11 Rolling Memorial and supporter, Chuck Ritz were also present to share and display our Maryland fallen Heroes. The plaza was filled with friendly pets, children, and adults.  There were several eateries that hosted food and drink tents, and live music was provided by the group Riot House after the awards ceremony for the participants.  The event was a huge success, and everyone is already looking forward to doing it again next year!  


American Red Cross of Greater Chesapeake 

“SOUND THE ALARM, SAVE A LIFE Campaign” 

Epicenter Edgewood, MD 

April 25, 2019 

Maryland Chapter Gold Star Mothers were invited by Mrs. Yolanda Gainwell, Regional Service to the Armed Forces Director, Interim (SAF) to participate in the American Red Cross (ARC) of the Greater Chesapeake annual “Sound the Alarm, Save A Life Campaign”. Donna Robinson, Synthia Carter, Deidre McMahon, Gloria Crothers and Janice Chance represented the Gold Star Mothers Maryland Chapter. Donna stayed at the ARC campaign base to assist with other duties and the other moms joined the many volunteers who went out in teams to at-risk neighborhoods in the Edgewood Maryland a community in Hartford County. 

Members of the ARC National and local leadership teams also participated in canvasing the neighborhoods and installing smoke alarms. Mr. Peter Macias, Director SAF Communications at National Headquarters, Scott Salemme, Regional CEO of Greater Chesapeake, Matt Bertram, Sr. Vice President of Volunteer Services, and Mrs. Gainwell served alongside volunteers to make homes safer. Each team worked together to ensure that smoke detectors were installed in as many homes as possible and also provided fire safety education and materials. The moms served in group three, which was split into four teams, each team having a Gold Star Mom represented. Teams were comprised of four volunteers that had specific responsibilities:  Installers, Educator, and Recorder.   Most of the men served as installers testing all existing smoke detectors to ensure they were working as well as successfully installing many new smoke detectors.   

Many volunteers and the Gold Star Moms expressed that It was great to serve alongside so many friendly willing volunteers and was delighted to know that their service is making a positive difference in the lives of residents in the community. The residents also expressed their appreciation and gave us their well wishes.  Sadly, statistics reveal that 7 people die each day in home fires. Most often the homes did not have a working smoke alarm.  Installing alarms can cut the risk of death in half.  The National ARC goal is to install 100,000 free smoke alarms in the homes of at risk individuals, whereas, the regional goal for Greater Chesapeake is to install 2,000 smoke alarms throughout Maryland and the Delmarva peninsula.  Since the inception of the  NSTA Campaign in 2014 the American Red Cross has saved over 600 lives. 


Horses Help Heroes “A Day at the Races” Fundraiser
Laurel, Maryland
April 27, 2019 

Gold star family members of the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) and Gold Star MD Chapter members were invited to participate in a fun day at the Laurel race track by Dean Macy, Founder of the Horses Help Heroes organization.   Horses Help Heroes is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to enriching the lives of service-connected disabled veterans, their families and families who have lost loved ones while serving on active duty. HHH provides a variety of equine-related programs in a supportive environment at no cost to our veterans and families.  The event was a combined fundraiser and fun day for gold star families.   Deirdre McMahon, Gloria Crothers and Janice Chance represented the MD Chapter.  However, Janice and many other MD Chapter moms are also members of the TAPS family. Gold Star family members were permitted access to the winner’s circle where they had the honor to meet the jockey who rode the horse that won the race that was dedicated to the HORSES HELP HEROES organization. Family members were also permitted to go to the paddock, the area where the jockeys saddle up and prepare for the races.  The event provided many opportunities for the gold star families to bond.   There was much laughter and excitement throughout the event.  It was especially heart-warming to see the children having fun.  The fundraiser was a huge success. Special thanks to Dean Macy, volunteers and the Laurel Race Track leadership. 


Warrior Events Army vs. Navy Lacrosse Game Spring Tailgate
Annapolis, Maryland
April 13, 2019 

Warrior Events invited Maryland Gold Star Mothers to help with their Annual Spring Tailgate for the Troops fundraiser at the Army Vs. Navy Lacrosse Game that was held at the Navy-Marine Corps Stadium. Donna Robinson and Janice Chance represented the Maryland Chapter moms. Peatoria Perdue niece of Maryland Chapter mom Edith Hines and cousin LT Meshondra Collins NC, US Navy Reserves Corps joined the moms and other volunteers.  The volunteers assisted with a variety of duties including selling raffle tickets, Warrior Event T Shirts, hats and serving food to guests and donors. Attendees were treated to a variety of delicious foods and beverages that were donated by local businesses. The DJ provided music that helped create a festive atmosphere. Warrior Events also had a large television mounted in the covered tent that broadcasted the game and children were entertained by several outdoor games. The Warrior Events’ mission is to provide opportunities for interaction, enjoyment and camaraderie for wounded warriors and to raise awareness and appreciation among the public. Their sole purpose is to enrich the lives of those wounded. The Maryland Chapter moms consider it a pleasure and honor to serve and support this wonderful service organization! 


Operation No Person Left Behind Outdoors

6th Annual Bull Roast Fundraiser

Martin’s East

Baltimore, Maryland

April 6, 2019

Maryland Gold Star Mothers were invited to assist Operation No Person Left Behind Outdoors (NPLB) with their annual fundraiser. Theresa Karlson, Janice Chance, Michelle Murphy, Donna Robinson, Yvonne Green and Gloria Crothers volunteered at various stations. The Chapter also donated two baskets for their silent auction. Maryland Gold Star Mom and Dad, Kelly & Gary Swanson donated their Gatlinburg, Tennessee cabin for the live auction.

NPLB’s Mission:

We are patriotic citizens committed to serving our wounded, injured and ill combat veterans. We support veterans and their families while they recover in military hospitals by building relationships and identifying and supporting immediate needs and interests. We are dedicated to promoting public awareness of the many sacrifices made by our Armed Forces. Visit their website for more information: www.operationnplboutdoors.org.

We enjoyed talking to supporters of this event and shared information about our organization. We look forward to helping and supporting NPLB with future events.


Maryland Patriot Guard

Annual Fundraiser

Westminster, Maryland

April 6, 2019

On April 6th Maryland Chapter Gold Star Mothers Lauren Seidler, Gloria Crothers, and Janice Chance, supported the Maryland Patriot Guard by attending their fundraiser at Vanessa’s Corner Pub in Westminster, Maryland. The Maryland Chapter donated four gift baskets to help the Patriot Guard raise funds.  Gold Star Mother Lauren Seidler assembled the beautiful baskets.  Three were included in the basket raffle and one large basket/cooler was included in the silent auction because it was filled with items that were “Made in the USA”. The moms helped 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.  The moms enjoyed a fun afternoon making new friends and supporting their Patriot Guard Family and friends. The Maryland Chapter moms are grateful to the Maryland Patriot Guard for honoring Gold Star mothers, families, their fallen heroes and for all that they do to support our nation’s veterans.


Truckin4Troops Designer Bag Bingo Fundraiser

Elks Lodge 2482

Severna Park, MD

March 31, 2019

 Founders of the Truckin4Troops Foundation, Scott and his wife Lynne Mallary, invited Gold Star Mothers Maryland Chapter members to volunteer at their Designer Bag Bingo Fundraiser that was held at the Severna Park Elks Lodge # 2482. Truckin4Troops’ mission is “We are dedicated to supporting and serving our wounded servicemen and women through creating family functions and events such as bonfires, cookouts, swimming, boating, etc. to get the wounded and their families out of the hospital for well-needed rehabilitation…” Additional information can be found on their website www.truckin4troops.org            

Maryland Chapter moms Stephanie White, Gloria Crothers, Deirdre McMahon, Donna Robinson and Janice Chance volunteered and assisted with a variety of duties. Natasha Johnson, a Maryland Chapter supporter, also served as a volunteer. The volunteers were assigned to assist with a variety duties, eg, checking in guests, silent auction, selling 50/50 raffle tickets and raffle tickets for the Truckin4Troops Jeep, distribution of purses and prizes to the bingo winners and other duties as required. Lynne and Scott Mallory thanked the attendees and volunteers for their support. They gave special recognition to the Gold Star moms and provided an opportunity for Janice to briefly share about the Gold Star Mothers organization history, and about some of ways that the Maryland Chapter has been and is continuing to fulfill their mission – “Honoring Through Service.” Each mom was also given the opportunity to share about their hero. The Maryland Chapter members expressed their gratitude to Scott and Lynne for the invitation to volunteer that provided another opportunity to partner with an organization that is also committed to serving and supporting our Heroes and their families. We are looking forward to volunteering at other Truckin4Troops organization events.


Archbishop Francis P. Keough Assembly Fourth Degree

Knights of Columbus #385 

First Annual Patriotic Breakfast 

Columbus Gardens

Baltimore, Maryland

March 2, 2019 

Gold Star Maryland Chapter members were invited to attend the Knights of Columbus (KOC) First Annual Patriotic Breakfast that was held in honor of Vietnam Veterans by Mr. David Bellistri and the leadership team.  Synthia Carter, Donna Robinson and Janice Chance represented the chapter. Janice was given the honor to be the keynote speaker and Mr. Bellistri served as the master of ceremonies. After the members served a delicious breakfast, Mr. Bellistri gave a short message of appreciation to the heroes, their families and Gold Star mothers on behalf of the organization. During her message, Janice gave special recognition to the Vietnam veterans not only because the event was given in their honor, but also because they did not receive the hero’s welcome that they deserved when they returned home from the war. She proudly shared that the Maryland Chapter decided to have a special 50th Anniversary Commemorative Challenge Coin made to Honor Vietnam Veterans in 2016.  

After Janice’s message, Mr Bellistri and Mr. Curtis Phillips, Faithful Navigator and CEO of the Assembly once again thanked the heroes and stated that the Gold Star Mothers always have a friend in the KOC and offered their help in anyway in the future. Mr Bellistri gave a short power point presentation remembering the perils of war and why we need to remember the service of all who have served and especially paid the ultimate sacrifice. He reflected on a time during his childhood when a special friend who was killed in action in 1967 during the Vietnam War. His dad, who served in two wars, WWII and Korea, and was in attendance at the age of 93, told him many stories of his service and always stressed to him the importance of why we need to remember. Mr Bellistri and his dad began a tradition to always visit their friend’s grave site every Memorial Day. They have kept this tradition going for the past 51 years.

At the conclusion of the event, members of the Assembly, and Mr Fritz Leach, Retired Army Colonel, and Master of the Fourth Degree, presented all veterans present, with a challenge coin that they had specially designed to demonstrate their appreciation to them, and others which included the Gold Star Mothers. After the KOC presentation, the Gold Star Mothers presented all of the Vietnam Veterans with the Maryland Chapter’s Challenge Coin.  The veterans, KOC members and other patriots in attendance expressed their appreciation


Eastern Baltimore County VA Outpatient Clinic

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, Open House & Enrollment Fair 

Rosedale, Maryland

March 23, 2019 

The VA Maryland Health Care System leadership team held a ribbon cutting ceremony for their new Eastern Baltimore County VA Outpatient Clinic that is located at 5235 King Avenue in Rosedale, Maryland, that also included an Open House and Enrollment Fair.  Dr. Adam Robinson. Jr., Director of the VA Maryland Heath Care System invited County and State legislators, Maryland Veteran Affairs officials, Veteran Service organization representatives and other distinguished guest to attend the ceremony. Dr. Robinson expressed his thanks to everyone that helped to make their goal to open the clinic become a reality. He also gave special recognition, thanks and appreciation to Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger who was instrumental in getting the new clinic built in Rosedale. Even though Congressman Ruppersberger was unable to attend, Mr. Bart Kennedy was there to represent the Congressman’s office.

Although it was windy chilly morning many faithful supporters came out to participate and to tour the new clinic. Janice Chance represented the Gold Star Mothers Maryland Chapter. Many veterans also came out to tour the new clinic, meet the staff, enroll and to mingle with their fellow veterans. The clinic is bright and beautifully decorated.  A variety of health care services will be provided for the veterans. Several of the female veterans expressed their delight when they learned that a special section of the clinic has been designed for women’s health care services.  The staff on duty were also excited as they warmly greeted the veterans as they provided enrollment service and information. It was a very successful event as there was much excitement, laughter, and celebrating.


WID ATHENA Leadership Award Breakfast
Richlin Ballroom
Edgewood, Maryland
March 1, 2019

The Women In Defense (WID) Mid-Atlantic Chapter leadership team invited Maryland Chapter Gold Star mothers to attend the ATHENA Leadership Award Breakfast that was held at the Richlin Ballroom on March 1, 2019.  The event was hosted by the Harford Community College Foundation, Inc.  Janice Chance and Gloria Crothers represented the Maryland Chapter.  The ATHENA Leadership Award is presented to a woman who is honored for attaining professional excellence, community service and for actively assisting women in their achievement of professional excellence and leadership skills.   The ATHENA Leadership Award was inspired by the goddess of Greek mythology known for her strength, courage, wisdom and enlightenment – qualities embodied in the ATHENA Leadership Model. Ms. Sharon Jacobs the WID Past President was one of the eight finalists for the Leadership Award.  She is currently the CEO of the Strategic Alliances Group, Inc.  Ms. Jacobs not only serves within the community, she also served our country. Sharon retired after 20 years of service in the US Army Acquisition Corp.

Over the past few years, the WID Mid-Atlantic Chapter members have been faithful supporters and have developed a wonderful relationship with the Maryland Chapter Gold Star mothers and families. It was a pleasure and honor for Janice and Gloria to attend the ATHENA Leadership Awards Breakfast to support one of our nation’s SHE-ROES.  They were warmly greeted by the WID members and was pleasantly surprised when they were gifted with a beautiful plant as a small token of their appreciation. After the announcement was made that Sharon Jacobs was the winner of the ATHENA Leadership Award, she received a standing ovation from her many supporters and a hearty round of applause from the other attendees.  Janice and Gloria considered it a blessing and honor to be in attendance to witness Ms. Jacobs receiving a much-deserved award and to celebrate along with her other supporters.  The Maryland Chapter extends thanks to the WID for their many acts of kindness and special CONGRATULATIONS and prayers to Ms. Jacobs for her continued success.


Warrior Events
7th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Annapolis, Maryland
March 10, 2019
 
There were Shamrocks, Leprechauns and Irish regalia everywhere you looked at the Seventh Annual Annapolis St. Patrick’s Day parade on Sunday, March 10th. Warrior Events invited the Maryland Gold Star Mothers to participate in the Annapolis St. Patrick’s Day parade with wounded warriors and their families. The Warrior Events’ floats had a huge American flag, as well as a red, white and blue balloon arch and bald eagle, all representing our Nation’s support for our military and their families. As we waited for the parade to start, we were introduced to a very special group of warriors – four members from the Norwegian Telemark Battalion. This battalion is a mechanized infantry unit, part of the Norwegian Army’s Immediate Reaction Force. You could pick them out of the crowd as they wore – true to form – Viking helmets! Gold Star Mothers Theresa Karlson, Gina Barnhurst, and Paula Davis walked in the parade and were moved by how many people waved at and applauded us. As we walked in the parade, we were “backed” by our faithful green “Army Men”, with Fence and Deck Connection, Inc. who sponsored the Warrior Events floats.
 
Maryland Chapter Mothers would like to thank Tina Tozzi, Coleen Sharpe, 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. This was our fourth time participating and every year, we are honored to be part of this event.
 
 

Annual Prayer Luncheon
Top of the Bay Restaurant
Aberdeen Proving Grounds
Aberdeen, Maryland
February 21, 2019

Thursday, February 21, 2019 was a very special day at the Top of the Bay Restaurant at Aberdeen Proving Ground Army Base. The Chaplain Service held their annual National Prayer Luncheon. To most a prayer luncheon is something that is done out of tradition but it really has an interesting beginning. In 1952 when Eisenhower was on the campaign trail, he confided in Senator Carlson that during the war he had a “spiritual experience “. He not only felt the hand of God on him but he also felt His presence. After being elected and a few days shy of being sworn in, President Eisenhower invited Senator Carlson over and stated how lonely he was to which Senator Carlson invited him to his prayer group. After attending the first combined prayer breakfast for both houses of Congress a precedent was set for the annual event. Military commands and installations followed the Commander-in-Chief’s traditional prayer breakfast, which led to this year’s event. Gold Star families were once again invited to attend. Donna Robinson and Janice Chance represented the Maryland Chapter, and several Gold Star spouses and siblings also attended. CH (MAJ) Denise Hagler, Deputy Garrison Chaplain served as the MC. Attendees were treated to a delicious lunch that was catered by the Top of the Bay staff. After MG Randy Taylor gave a few remarks, three selected guests prayed special prayers for our Nation, Armed Forces and for families. Mrs. Renesha Robinson sang a special song prior to the introduction of the keynote speaker Rabbi Kushi Schusterman, Director Chanda of Hartford County, Bel Air, Maryland.

Rabi Schusterman delivered a timely inspirational message. Many people remarked that they enjoyed and were uplifted by his message. Although it was cold outside the atmosphere inside was peaceful and warm. As the saying goes “The family that prays together, stays together”. It was another memorable event.


American Legion Post 276
10th Annual Maryland Marathon Bluegrass Jam
Fisher House Foundation Fundraiser
Severn, Maryland
February 23, 2019

Maryland Gold Star Mothers, Janice Chance and Donna Robinson, as well as Gold Star family member Peatoria Purdue volunteered in shifts to help raise money for the Fisher House Foundation. Gold Star Mothers and family members were invited to partner with Team Leidos employees. Amy Kriner served as the team leader. 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 veteran’s 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. We assisted with various duties included selling baked goods, raffle tickets and working the money wheel. It was a wonderful time of service, fellowship, good food, and great music. It was a joy to see the smiles on the faces and hear the laughter of the attendees, especially the children when they won a toy during the money wheel game. It was truly a blessing to be able to participate in an event that provided another opportunity for us to “HONOR OUR HEROES THROUGH SERVICE”.


Donation from Sons of the American Legion Squadron # 60
American Legion Post 60
Laurel, Maryland
February 27, 2019

While Gold Star mothers Regina Barnhurst, Paula Davis, Theresa Karlson and Janice Chance were assembling Care Packages for our deployed troops at the American Legion (ALA) Post 60 with the assistance of Evelina Krosel, ALA Auxiliary Post 60 President and Sherry Gallagher, Janice was asked to come into the adjacent room where the Sons of the American Legion ( SAL) Squadron 60 were conducting their “ Queen of Hearts” fundraising event. Janice was informed that a decision had been made to donate money that was raised from raffling off a basket that was made by Evelina to the Maryland Chapter. Shortly after Janice returned and the group resumed packing boxes the Moms were pleasantly surprised when Joe Lohman, SAL Finance Officer came into the room and presented the Moms with a check for $200 on behalf of the SAL. Later Mr. Andrew Nenichka, Commander of Squadron 60 came over to thank the Moms for their service and agreed to take an official picture of the check presentation with Joe Lohman, Tim Smith (SAL) member and the Maryland Chapter moms. The Maryland Chapter is very fortunate to have received a monetary donation that will help us to continue to fulfill our mission. Several of the SAL members, which included Tim, also helped load the completed care packages into the Mom’s cars so that we can process them to be delivered to our deployed troops.


Care Packages for Troops
American Legion Post #60
Laurel, Maryland
February 27, 2019

Maryland Gold Star Mothers Janice Chance, Gina Barnhurst, Paula Davis, and Theresa Karlson once again met at the American Legion to assemble care packages for some of our nation’s deployed heroes. Special Thanks to Commander Luby for once again allowing us to use the hall and thanks to the American Legion Auxiliary Post 60 President Evelina Krosel, and member Sherry Gallagher for joining us in packing the boxes with toiletries, snacks and hand written thank you notes on behalf of the Maryland Chapter for three deployed units who are currently serving in Afghanistan and overseas. Over 15 boxes will be shipped out this week. We can never thank our Heroes enough for their Selfless Service and Sacrifice. We pray that our gifts will bring a smile to their faces, reassure them that they are not forgotten and that we appreciate their Selfless Service and Sacrifice. We HONOR AND SALUTE THEM!!


Shopping for our Troops, VA Perry Point Medical Center and Maryland Center for Veterans Education and Training Homeless Shelter (MCVET)
Walmart
Laurel, Maryland
February 19, 2019

Maryland Gold Star Mothers Regina Barnhurst, Paula Davis, Gloria Crothers and Janice Chance met at Walmart in Laurel, Maryland to purchase goodies and toiletries to be mailed to three deployed units of Heroes. We also shopped for requested items for some of our Hero Veterans at the Perry Point VA Medical Center and MCVET. We filled five carts that included a combination of toiletries, socks, underwear and goodies. Care packages will be assembled and shipped the week of February 25th. The socks and underwear will also be delivered to our veterans as requested the week of February 25th. The Moms spent hours shopping and were able to share about the Gold Star Mothers mission and service projects with several shoppers that asked why we were purchasing so many items. The Maryland Chapter Mothers enjoyed a wonderful time of fellowship while shopping for our Nation’s Heroes.


National Salute to Veterans Week
VA Medical Centers
Baltimore, Maryland
February 11, 14 and 16, 2019

Annually, during the week of Valentine’s Day, Maryland Chapter Gold Star Mothers 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 several Maryland Chapter members had the distinct honor to visit Heroes at all three Maryland VA Medical Centers, that included approximately 250 patients. The first visit was made on 2/11 to Heroes at the Perry Point VA Medical Center by Gloria Crothers, Deirdre McMahon, Synthia Carter and Janice Chance. The second visit was made on 2/14 to Heroes at the Loch Raven VA Medical Center. Gloria, Deirdre, and Janice partnered with two Marine Corps League (MCL) detachment 565 members Marian James, Earl Ruff, American Legion Northeastern Unit 285 member Betty Armstrong, and American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) Federal Unit 19 member Vanessa Jackson-Frazier. The MCL and the ALA gifted the veterans with cards, canteen coupons and handmade Afghans were given to the female veterans. The last visit was made on 2/16 to our heroes at the VA Baltimore Medical Center by Theresa Karlson, Donna Robinson, Paula Davis, and Janice Chance. Moms were joined by Marine Corps League members Earl Ruff and Ray Vaughn. During the visits, our heroes and family members were thanked for their selfless service and sacrifice to our country. The Moms also rendered to every hero what they lovingly refer to as their “Gold Star Mothers Hand Salute”. The Marines also rendered a hand salute and assisted with the distribution of gifts. All Veterans at the three medical centers received their requested toiletry items including customized toiletry bags with a few travel size items, a regular size bottle of body wash, balloons, lotion and a word find puzzle books from the Maryland Chapter. Neck and body pillows were also given to Loch Raven hospice patients. Our Heroes shared stories about their service and expressed their appreciation. A group picture was taken with one of our heroes as requested by the veteran and his family. The healthcare staff and other employees were also thanked for the service that they provide to our Heroes. The Maryland Chapter Moms are looking forward to continuing to serve and support our Heroes. We are Grateful to God for enabling us to continue the Legacy of our Children’s Service.


2019 Year of the Veteran in Maryland Proclamation Announcement
Maryland State House
Annapolis, Maryland
February 7, 2019

Maryland Lieutenant Governor Boyd Rutherford, Secretary of Maryland Veterans Affairs George Owings III, Robert Finn, Deputy Secretary of Maryland Veterans Affairs, over 100 veterans, distinguished guests and other supporters were present when Governor Hogan proclaimed 2019 as the Year of the Veteran in Maryland. The announcement was made in front of the group who stood on the north steps of the Maryland State House. One of the heroes that served with the Tuskegee Airman, Private Major Anderson was among the special guests. Gold Star Maryland Chapter members Janice Chance and Michelle Murphy were also in attendance in support of our veteran heroes. During his remarks, Governor Hogan said “Our administration is committed to ensuring that Maryland’s 380,000 veterans are recognized for their service and this proclamation is yet another way we can show our gratitude and honor to the men and women who have sacrificed so much for Maryland and our Nation”. Secretary Owings III also spoke at the event. He expressed his appreciation to Governor Hogan for his support of veterans and for proclaiming 2019 as The Year of the Veteran. He also said “Proclaiming 2019 as the Year of the Veteran provides our state a timeless opportunity to honor our veterans for their service and sacrifice.” Following the announcement guest attended a reception that was held in the Governor’s reception room. Janice and Michelle seized the opportunity to thank Governor Hogan for his continued unwavering support of veterans and Gold Star families. They also had the pleasure and honor to meet and thank Tuskegee Airman unit member Private Major Anderson and many of the other veterans for their selfless service and sacrifice. It was a wonderful time of celebration.


4th Vettys – Annual Veterans Awards
The Watergate Hotel
January 20, 2019

An invitation was extended to Gold Star Mothers, Janice Chance, Paula Davis, Yvonne Green, Joy Goode, Michelle Murphy and Donna Robinson that volunteered at the Annual Manhattans Martinis & Mistletoe event hosted by the American Freedom Fund (AFF) held on December 5, 2018, to attend the 4th Annual Vettys Award event.

The Veterans Awards also known as the Vettys® is presented by the Academy of United States Veterans and its partner organizations. The ceremony solely honors public servants, leaders, and innovators within the veterans space. The 4th annual Veterans Awards was organized in partnership with Disabled American Veterans, The Independence Fund, Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes, and Melwood Veteran Services. Gold Star Moms and Dads were the special guests of Mark L. Rockefeller, CEO/Co- founder of Street Shares and Assai Ravandi President/ CEO Veteran Academy of United States Veterans (AUSV). The Awards were hosted by Jake Tapper (CNN NEWS) and Presenters: Casey Affleck (Actor) and Shohreh Aghdashloo (Actress). Also, in attendance at the Star-studded event was General George W. Casey, Jr.

Congratulations to all of the award winners and nominees. Especially the Travis Manion Foundation (TMF) on winning the Veterans Choice Award which was accepted by Ryan Manion, President TMF. She acknowledged and thanked the Gold Star Maryland Chapter mothers during her acceptance speech. Also, congratulations to Mr. Don Bramer, founder and Chairman of Bramer Group and Founder & Executive Director of the American Freedom Fund who selected the Gold Star Mothers Maryland Chapter to be one of the three organizers to receive an award for service and support of veterans on December 5, 2018. THANK YOU Ryan Manion and Mr. Don Bramer.


Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service Community Project
The Jewish Community Center (JCC)
Baltimore, Maryland
January 21, 2019

Delegate Shelly Hettleman, 11th District and Councilman Izzy Patoka, District 2 planned a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day community service outdoor clean-up project, but due to the frigid weather they joined forces with the Jewish Volunteer Services and moved the event indoors at the JCC. Volunteers who participated assisted with a variety of children’s crafts, and attended a learning session about Dr. King. Janice Chance represented the Gold Star Mothers Maryland Chapter and served at the “Blessing Bags” distribution of items table. A large number of “Blessing Bags” were assembled to distribute to people who are homeless and children, teens and adults assisted with assembling with the “Blessing Bags”. John Hopkins University coach Bob Babb was also present with a group of his baseball players. Volunteers were able to participate in on-going service projects throughout the event. Janice, along with many of the adult volunteers, attended a session to learn about the root causes of homelessness in the community that was presented by speakers from Healthcare for the Homeless. Members of the Baltimore Jewish Council were also in attendance to provide tips and to teach about ways to become an advocate on the local and State level.  Working together with a diverse group of concerned citizens on Dr. King’s Holiday was a great way to celebrate his legacy and to continue progress toward fulfilling his “I HAVE A DREAM” speech.


Operation Gratitude Assembly Day
Washington, DC Armory
January 17, 2019

The Operation Gratitude organization invited volunteers from Washington, DC and the surrounding communities to participate in their Assembly Day. Donna Robinson and Janice Chance represented the Maryland Chapter. They joined hundreds of volunteers at the Washington, DC Armory to assemble 25,000 Operation Gratitude Care Pouches that will be distributed to some of our nation’s Heroes that include First Responders, Law Enforcement Officers, Firefighters and National Guardsmen serving locally in Washington, D.C. and also those serving in more than a dozen other cities across the United States. As listed on their invitation, “The event is part of Operation Gratitude’s grassroots movement to forge strong bonds between grateful Americans and their Military and First Responder Heroes through volunteer service projects, acts of gratitude, and meaningful engagements in communities nationwide”.

Donna and Janice met and volunteered alongside members of several organizations as they stuffed the pouches with goodies and other practical items such as hand sanitizer, a writing pen, hand warmers, etc. They also were able to meet and thank several of the First responders, Firefighters, National Guard service members, Law enforcement officers, the Chief of Police, a U.S. Marine Corps wounded warrior Sherman Gillums that served in both the OIF and OEF campaigns and his wife, Tammie Gillums, an Army Afghanistan OEF Veteran. Janice and Donna were fulfilling the Gold Star Mothers’ mission, simply put “Honoring Through Service”. As Becky Christmas, President of the National American Gold Star Mothers, Inc. said “We are Mothers on a Mission. We are a Powerful Force”.


Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford
Inaugural Ball
MGM National Harbor
January 16, 2019


Maryland Gold Star Mothers were invited to the Inaugural Ball that celebrated Maryland Governor Hogan and Lt. Governor Rutherford’s recent election victory. This is Governor Hogan’s second term as Governor of Maryland. Janice Chance and Gold Star Step dad Charlton Chance, Donna Robinson and Theresa Karlson were chauffeured to the event by Scott and Lynne Mallory Founders of the Truckin 4 Troops organization. They also transported wounded warrior US Army Veteran Tom McRae, as well as seven year old Veterans supporter Tyler Stallings and his mother. Thousands of supporters enjoyed live music, dancing, good food, and beverages. Also in attendance were the following Maryland Gold Star Mothers and family members: Paula Davis, Yvonne & spouse Garry Green, Michelle & spouse Kenmore Murphy, Edith Hines – her nieces Peatoria Purdue, Meshondra Collins, and MeiTei Smith. The Gold Star families seized the opportunity to enjoy the fellowship with other families as well as members of other service organizations leaders and members such as Patsy Jackson, Regional Navy Gold Star Coordinator, Warrior Events, Raina Taylor and members of the Gold Star Wives of America Inc., North Capitol Region and Chuck Ritz – owner and founder of Maryland’s 9/11 Rolling Memorial. Gold Star Maryland Chapter mom Deborah Tucker was interviewed by the CBS local news. During the interview she commended the Governor for his continued support of our Gold Star families.