The Maryland Gold Star Mothers were invited to the Annual Blue Star Celebration. The theme of the night was Stronger Together. This year this special annual event honored Americans who are doing their part to preserve our All-Volunteer Force’s strength and viability by supporting our military families. Blue Star Celebration 2023 honored strategic partners for their part in supporting military and veteran families. Gold Star Mothers Basmattie Bishundat, Paula Davis and Mary King attended the event. Presenting to a gathering of over 200 honored guests, CNN News Co-anchor, military spouse, and BSF Board Director Brianna Keilar served as emcee for the evening events. She talked about the important work of Blue Star Families, the highs and lows of the life of service, and how Blue Star Families has been there for families every step of the way. There was a celebration of Milestone and Growth. In a spectacular show of support, three partners announced contributions toward their fundraising goal, Craig Newmark philanthropies, the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation, and TriWest Healthcare Alliance. As part of the evening’s festivities, TriWest Healthcare Alliance was proudly presented with the Constance J. Milstein Philanthropic Award for their commitment to military families through philanthropic endeavors. They also presented the Civil Leadership Award to the Defense Health Agency. Director of the Defense Health Agency Lieutenant General Telita Crosland, USA, accepted the award. In her acceptance remarks, Crosland talked about the DHA’s duty to care for the nation’s warfighters.
There was a delectable, friendly culinary competition. Famed culinarians worked in the same room as military chefs, representing each branch of service. Guests were given stickers to adorn chef banners to vote for their favorite dish. The winning team for 2023 was chef Jenn Crovato and SSgt Darnell Morris with their dish, Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes. It was delicious comfort food! Guests also enjoyed specialty beverages. Dog Tag Bakery treated the crowd to delicious cupcakes and desserts. The evening was a night worth celebrating and to culminate a year of dedication and support for military families.