2019 News & Events

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)
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.