SOS Coordinator Mike Farlow and his lovely wife Karen were host and hostess for this annual night at the ballpark to Gold Star Moms, Dads and Wives. The game was a doubleheader with the Aberdeen Iron Birds splitting the games with one win. The event yielded another occasion as the families were able to meet the new Garrison Commander: Col Johnny Casiano.
The meet and greet was met with warm and welcoming smiles and a photo op for the families as everyone enjoyed the delicious meal prepared for them.
A wonderful night was had by all.
Pictured: SOS Coordinator Mike & Karen Farlow. Gold Star Moms Donna Robinson, Janice Chance, Gloria Crothers. Gold Star wife Erika Rivers. Gold Star Mom Yvonne J. Green. Gold Star wife Danielle Charles with children Jeremiah, Autumn and Destiny and Gold Star Mom Stephanie White.
Gold Star Mom and Dad: Yvonne J. Green and Gold Star Dad Garry Green are pictured with Garrison Commander Col Johnny Casiano.
Maryland American Legion Riders
Wreath Laying Ceremony
Gold Star Families Memorial
June 12, 2021
President Kelly Swanson represented the Maryland Gold Star Mothers as the Maryland American Legion Riders held their annual Gold Star Legacy Run and wreath laying ceremony in Annapolis, MD at the Gold Star Families Memorial on June 12, 2021. They also held wreath laying ceremonies at the Eastern Shore Veterans Cemetery on Friday, June 11, 2021, as well as the Rocky Gap Veterans Cemetery in Flintstone, MD on June 13, 2021.
The American Legion Riders had five stops during their three-day ride (approximately 600 miles) 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. This year, they raised over $60,000 for the American Legion Legacy Scholarship Fund.
Captain John Odber Warfighters Motorcycle Club Poker Run Fundraiser
& Fallen Hero Honor Ride
June 5, 2021
On June 5, 2021, Captain John Odber WarFighters’ Motorcycle Club held their Poker Run Fundraiser and Fallen Hero Honor Ride. Most of the members of the club are Iraq and/or Afghanistan Veterans, but a few of them are also active duty military. The Ride For The Fallen (RFTF) is a memorial to the 144 Maryland Veterans of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and the hundreds of thousands that came before. Their mission is to raise money to support Veteran-focused charities and assist Veterans and their families. Each year, RFTF recognizes five of Maryland’s fallen heroes. The goal of the Warfighters MC is to honor each fallen hero each year until all 144 Heroes are honored. The pictures of the fallen they have honored hang in their clubhouse.
The following heroes were recognized:
SSG Christopher W. Swanson, USA
Corporal Christopher J. Coffland, USA
Corporal Dale A. Burger, Jr., USMC
Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Patrick D. Feeks, USN
SGT David J. Smith, USMC
Memorial Day Ceremony
Dulaney Valley Memorial Cemetery
May 31, 2021
The 54th annual Memorial Day ceremony at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens took place on Monday, May 31, 2021. Participating in the ceremony were Janice Chance and Marie Moudry who accepted memorial plaques on behalf of family members who could not attend. Janice was also interviewed by Fox-45 for two live morning news segments on the true meaning of Memorial Day and the important work of the Gold Star Mothers.
The observance honored six service members with ties to Maryland who were lost within the last two years and paid tribute to all men and women of the Armed Forces who have paid the highest price in defense of the United States. In addition to an in-person audience of nearly 600 guests, the ceremony was lived-streamed. A link to a recorded version of the ceremony can be found at: https://www.dropbox.com/s/
Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens
US Marine Corps VIP Reception and Evening Parade
Marine Corps Barracks – 8th & I Streets
May 28, 2021
On Friday, May 28, 2021, Maryland Chapter Gold Star Mothers were invited to attend a VIP Reception and Evening Parade located at the Marine Barracks in Washington, DC by the Commandant of the United States Marine Corps and Mrs. David H. Berger. Gold Star Mothers Kelly Swanson and sister Karen McCarthy, Paula Davis, Janice Chance and husband Charlton, Theresa Karlson and husband Bill, Donna Robinson, and Regina Barnhurst attended. They were recognized during the reception along with many TAPS families who were also in attendance. The guest speaker was Bonnie Carroll, TAPS Founder and CEO. The parade had to be cancelled due to bad weather, however, that did not deter the members of the color guard or the Silent Drill Team to give us a wonderful indoor performance.
Archbishop Francis P. Keough Assembly Fourth Degree, Knights of Columbus Nottingham, Maryland
May 22, 2021
On Saturday the 22nd of May, Gold Star Moms Marie Moudry, Janice Chance, Donna Robinson, Stephanie White, Yvonne Green and Gold Star Dad Garry Green attended the Archbishop Francis P. Keough Assembly Annual Patriotic Breakfast along with Shawn Ruby. The Master of Ceremony for the breakfast was Mr. Dave Bellistri (PFN of Archbishop Francis P. Keough Assembly). Before guests were served a delicious breakfast, they were given the history of the Assembly and their special presentations which consists of a ceremonial chalice which serves as a living legacy to those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice to the service of their country. Each year the Fallen Heroes have their names engraved on the bottom. The Moms were also presented with challenge coins as were all attending veterans.
Guest speakers for the breakfast were:
Dan Miller, Sergeant Major, U.S. Marine Corps
Vice Supreme Master Mike Thumm, Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps
State Secretary Chris Powers, Captain, U.S. Navy
Operation Gratitude Military Appreciation Month
Care Package Assembly Days for Deployed Troops
May 18-20, 2021
Operation Second Chance HEROES RIDGE AT RAVENS ROCK – Grand Opening Sabillasville, Maryland 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.