Operation Second Chance HEROES RIDGE AT RAVENS ROCK – Grand Opening
May 1, 2021
Ms. Cindy McGrew, Founder & CEO of Operation Second Chance (OSC) invited the Gold Star Mothers Maryland Chapter Officers to attend the grand opening of their HEROES RIDGE AT RAVENS ROCK Retreat Center. Janice Chance, Chaplain and Donna Robinson, Sgt. At Arms represented the chapter.
Janice gave the opening prayer.
The program was great, highlighted by the ribbon cutting ceremony. It was a well-attended event. Special guests were the approximately eleven wounded warriors, their families, veterans, and their families. George Owings III, MD Secretary of Veterans Affairs; and Robert Finn, MD Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs represented the State government.
It was a beautiful sunny day that provided a magnificent and picturesque view of the retreat center nestled amidst rolling hills and mountains. There was much excitement, wonderful fellowship, and delicious food compliments of Mission BBQ.
After lunch, property tours were offered to the guests, and the OSC staff provided pony rides and a petting zoo for the children. It was a memorable event.
The Maryland Chapter purchased and donated twenty-eight chairs for the large recreation room in memory of our children. The chairs will have a plate on the back of each chair with the following words, “Donated by the Gold Star Mothers Maryland Chapter, Inc.”
To learn more about OSC visit them at, www.operationsecondchance.org and consider donating to help with the completion of the Heroes Ridge at Ravens Rock retreat center, and/or to volunteer your service.
Walter Reed National Military Medical Center
COVID VACCINATION SITE & USO
April 30, 2021
The Maryland Chapter embraced the opportunity to demonstrate their appreciation for the service members working at the Covid Vaccination Site for the past few months in various capacities and service members that utilize the services of the USO. This was accomplished by the provisions of boxed lunches purchased from Mission BBQ. 50 Lunches were delivered to the Covid Vaccination Site and 40 lunches were delivered to the USO.
Gold Star mom Janice Chance, Red Cross volunteer, serving at the Covid Vaccination Site was on-hand when the lunches were delivered. The service members expressed their appreciation many times. As a matter of fact, one refrain was “Thank you, Gold Star Mothers, you made our day.”
At the USO delivery, Brandon Smothers, US Air Force wounded warrior, assisted with the delivery. The lunches were taken to Building 62 and distributed to the service members temporarily residing there while receiving outpatient medical and other support services. The next day it was reported that Sgt. Brunson distributed lunches door to door. Special thanks to the MD Chapter’s point of contacts HM1 Moore, Lead Petty Officer for Covid Vaccination Site, and Midge Matlock Williams, USO Operations Manager for their assistance with helping to coordinate the delivery.
The Maryland Chapter members are grateful that they were able to support the Covid Vaccination Administration Initiative that makes it possible for our nation’s heroes to receive the vaccine.
Operation Gratitude Paracord Bracelets
American Legion Post 60
April 3, 2021
After our bimonthly Chapter meeting, it was a blessing to see and spend time with our fellow sisters making paracord bracelets. These bracelets will be included in care packages for our deployed troops. Although we had to wear a mask, we had a wonderful time. We continue to bond and share our journey as we serve together.
“What an honor to serve alongside these beautiful ladies from Gold Star Mother’s Maryland Chapter. They have given their time, talent, and most precious treasure in service to our great Nation . . . and they continue to serve! I’m truly in awe of their spirit of patriotism, gratitude and service. Today we made dozens of Operation Gratitude paracord bracelets for deployed troops. Thank you ladies!”#actionsspeaklouder
Paul Cucinotta Operation Gratitude Chief Operating Officer
Capital Area Food Bank & USO Drive by Military Family Market Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Bethesda, Maryland March 16, 2021
Ms. Midge Matlock-Williams. Operations Manager, WFC Bethesda, BWI, JBA, JBM-HH, Ft Meade, &MEPS USO of Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore; & David Farson, Program Specialist / Warrior Family Center at Bethesda USO of Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore requested volunteer assistance with their Military Family Market program. The USO partnered with the Capital Area Food Bank for this special event. The group of volunteers included several veterans, spouses of veterans – Jeanette & Heidi, two Blue Star Mothers, (sons are currently serving in the USMC), several USO staff members & Janice Chance represented the MD Chapter. Janice served at one of the food assembly stations with Steve, a Marine veteran, Micah an Air Force veteran and Denzil an Army veteran. The team of volunteers packaged fresh produce and other food items. Service members and their families received the packaged food items utilizing the contact-free drive thru service. It was another successful event and a great opportunity to “HONOR OUR HEROES THROUGH SERVICE”.
MCVET UNDER GARMENT DRIVE
March 12, 2021
The Maryland Chapter was notified by Ms. Cereta Spencer, Director of Development & Community Engagement about the MCVET Under Garment drive. The MD chapter happily supported our Heroes by purchasing various sizes of undergarments online and had them shipped to the center – We were happy to donate these items for a total cost of $1,573.After the items were delivered, Janice Chance, Maryland Chapter Chaplain met with Mr. Jeffrey Kendrick Executive Director, Cereta Spencer, and Mr. Laurie T. Fragier, Director of Operations. They along with several members expressed their appreciation for the donation and the Chapter’s continued support. The MD Chapter considers it a pleasure and honor to support and serve our heroes whenever possible. The members are looking forward to being able to visit with and to serve our heroes once Covid precautions are lifted.
National Salute to Veterans Week February 14-19, 2021
Even though our nation is going through a nasty pandemic, it does not deter the Maryland Gold Star Mothers from continuing to serve our Veterans. One of our favorite events is the National Salute to Veterans Week because we get to visit our Veterans in the Baltimore, Loch Raven, and Perry Point VA Medical Centers. We usually visit with the Veterans, give them a little goody bag, and give them our customary Gold Star Mothers Hand Salute. The Veterans love this, and salute us back!
This year, because we could not physically be there to thank and honor our Veterans, we shipped a total of 355 composition books and 355 Valentine plush bears to all three medical centers. We received word from Susan Kern, Voluntary Service Officer/Program Manager and Brandi Sima, Voluntary Service Specialist, that the items had been received and distributed to all the Veterans and they were very thankful and happy!
The Maryland Gold Star Mothers look forward to being able to visit with our Veterans soon.
Capital Area Food Bank & USO Drive By Free Food Give Away
Walter Reed National Military Medical Center
February 16, 2021
Midge Matlock-Williams, USO Northern Region Operations Manager, partnered with the Capital Area Food Bank to sponsor a “Drive By Free Food Give Away” for active duty service members and their immediate families. An invitation was extended to members of the Maryland Patriot Guard, Gold Star Mothers MD Chapter members, and other volunteers. Janice Chance represented the MD Chapter. The group of volunteers also included one of our country’s wounded warriors, Angela, several veterans and two veteran spouses. Janice served at one of the food assembly stations with Angela and Micah an Air Force veteran. The team of volunteers packaged the fresh produce and other food items then placed the food into the vehicles of our heroes. All the activities were done in compliance with COVID 19 protocols. It was another Great opportunity to “HONOR OUR HEROES THROUGH SERVICE”.
MCVET COAT DRIVE
February 12, 2021
The Maryland Chapter was notified by Ms. Cereta Spencer, Director of Development & Community Engagement about the Maryland Center for Veterans Education and Training (MCVET) Coat Drive. The MD chapter graciously purchased much needed Men and Woman coats for our Heroes and had them shipped to the center. We were able to donate these items for a total cost of $1,111. After the items were delivered, several members expressed their appreciation for the donations and the Chapter’s continued support. They graciously sent us a picture expressing their appreciation. Maryland Gold Star Mothers are looking forward to being able to visit with and to serve our heroes once Covid precautions are lifted.