Douglas (Buz) Keel, Travis Manion Foundation (TMF) Annapolis “Spartan” Leader invited the Gold Star Mothers Maryland Chapter to participate in their operation legacy service project at the Gold Star Families Memorial Monument (GSFM) in Annapolis. Janice Chance, President, and Chaplain represented the MD Chapter. This event was a continuation of an Operation Legacy service project started by the Woody Williams Foundation “Operation Caretaker.” Per Buz, the service project was an opportunity for TMF Spartan to honor the family members of fallen service members and perform maintenance and beautification of the monument i.e., gardening, planting, mulching, etc.
The TMF Spartan leadership team decided to honor Janice’s son Captain Jesse Melton III USMC killed in action while serving in Afghanistan on 9/11/2008 during the event. Reverend Charlton Chance, Gold Star Father, and husband of Janice Chance opened the event in prayer. Buz welcomed volunteers, made formal introductions of key staff and guests, and shared the purpose and goal of the operation legacy service project. Mr. Patrick O’Leary, Board member, Woody Williams Foundation shared about the late WWII Medal of Honor recipient Hershel “Woody” Williams. He is one of our country’s greatest heroes and is the designer of the Gold Star Families Memorial. It was Woody’s vision and support that resulted in the placement of the first GSFM in Maryland. Ms. Dana Burl, the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs, spoke on behalf of George Owings MD Secretary of Veterans Affairs, followed by Janice Chance who educated attendees about the history and mission of Gold Star Mothers. She concluded her remarks by sharing about her fallen hero and expressed her appreciation to service members for their service to our nation and to other volunteers for their willingness to support the event.
There were approximately 145 volunteers, which resulted in a quick “clean-up.” Among the volunteers were; 22nd Company Spartans from the United States Naval Academy, (Official) Navy Sprint Football Team, Scout Troop 422 Annapolis, Kappa Epsilon Psi Military Sorority, Cub Scout Pack 422 Annapolis from St. Mary’s Parish & School, Annapolis, members of Janice’s family – daughter Jenine Melton, Iraq Veteran; son Joshua Melton; Son in Law Jamaal Collier, grandchildren Jamir & Jalia Collier, Niece Nicole Beckford and Katie Zarina one of Janice’s fellow Red Cross volunteers. Although the day started off chilly the sun’s bright rays helped to warm the air and there was an air of excitement. It was another wonderful day of service.
Written by Jenine Melton Gold Star Sibling