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Your Military Sons and Daughters

Thank You to the American Red Cross

Huge Thank You to the American Red Cross

As mothers of children who are serving in the military, we rely on the services of some non-profit organizations to help us when emergencies arise. This is the story of how the American Red Cross helped one of our local Blue Star Mothers of Fredericksburg families.

As Blue Star Mothers we typically wear many hats. We are mothers as well as daughters. Most of us have parents who are 65 years of ageamerican-red-cross (or older). What this means is that while are extremely proud of our children, we can also be worried and concerned about our elderly parents as well. We are typically the rock that holds everyone together.

There are many non-profit organizations that the parents of a military member depend on to help in time of need or an emergency.  I remember having to call the U.S.O. when our daughter was stuck in the airport trying to get home for leave during her tour in Iraq. It took some work,  but they helped her get home.

This story, however, is about how the American Red Cross recently helped one of our moms. She had an elderly parent and they were preparing for her death. While I have not experienced this feeling personally, I can only imagine how stressful this must have been for the family. Knowing that your days are numbered with your parent; wondering how you will go on without them; thinking of all of the great memories that you have had together and wondering if your son (or daughter) will be able to make it home in time. Talk about stress.

Our Blue Star Mother gave me permission to share this story because she was so grateful and thankful to the American Red Cross for assisting her son to make it home to see his grandma before she died and to have just a few more memories with her. They were able to comfort each other during a difficult time and have just a few more wonderful memories of grandma’s last days here on earth.

The process of contacting the American Red Cross was easy. The Red Cross knew exactly what to do, who to contact and how to get him home to his family before grandma slipped away. They were this family’s stress relief during a difficult time.  

From the Blue Star Mothers of Fredericksburg to the American Red Cross…Thank You for supporting our community, our military and for everything that you do for those in need. We are eternally grateful to you. 

 

If you are interested in learning more about Blue Star Mothers of Fredericksburg, please feel free to contact me @ This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Our website is coming very soon! 

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Happy 4th of July to our Troops

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As we prepare to celebrate 4th of July with our family and friends, Blue Star Mothers of Fredericksburg would like to send you our sincere appreciation for your sacrifice.


For 2 weeks in June we took a family vacation. We traveled to the mid-west. I had never been to the part of our country before, and definitely could not have imagined how the beauty of Wyoming, Colorado and many other states would affect both myself and my family. It was breathtaking.

As usual, my husband wore his Marine Corps hat throughout the entire trip. He likes to say hello to anyone and everyone who identifies themselves as a member of the military (present or retired). It is a sense of pride that I believe every member of the Military possesses.

During our trip, I was very humbled. We had an enormous amount of people go out of their way to tell my husband "Thank you for your service". And, of course, he graciously accepted their appreciation. What was very enlightening to me was my husband's response to everyone. He always made the same comment. "I appreciate your gratitude. However, my wife also served. She is the one who stayed behind and ran the household, raised our children and took care of everything so that I could go off and do my job".

As we celebrate another 4th of July, I'd like to say the same to you, as parents of a child who is serving our country. Thank you for your service. I know, first hand, that it isn't easy to have a husband (or child) away for the Holiday. And, you are not the forgotten person

Being the parent of a child who is serving in the military, no matter what the age of your child, you also serve your country. You are there for support for them when they need someone to talk to, someone to understand and, most importantly, you are the backbone of their support system. This is especially true if they are serving outside of the U.S.

Even if you don't understand the "why" and "how" of a situation, you are there for them to lean on and I'd like to say a personal Thank You for all of your support.

Freedom is not Free...and from my heart, and the Blue Star Mothers of Fredericksburg, we thank you for everything that you do to support your child.

If you would like to know more about how we can help you support you, please feel free to reach out to the Blue Star Mothers of Fredericksburg.

Linda
Organization Direct
Blue Star Mothers

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Congrats to our Graduates

Last night, I had the honor and privilege to attend a ceremony for all of the High School students from the Fredericksburg and Stafford area who have graduated from high school and made the decision to join the military.

Three very impressive military members spoke to and encouraged these young men and women for their choice to join the military. Sgt. Major Conover, USMC; Dr. Gwendolyn Hall, PhD (US Air Force Ret) and Brigadier General Mullen, President of the Marine Corps University shared their personal and professional experience while serving active duty.  Every one of the young men and women…your sons, daughter, nephews and nieces made a conscious decision to join just 1% of the population to join the military. They will be challenged both physically and mentally.

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Brigadier General Mullen talked about the acronym A.C.E. and asked them to keep A.C.E. in the forefront of their mind.  A.C.E. stands for Attitude – Choice and Education. I think that this is a great acronym for all of us to remember and thought I would talk about his comments.

A – Attitude. We control our attitude. We are in charge of our attitude and whether it is good or bad. No one else can control our attitude, nor can we blame anyone else for our attitude. When you have a good attitude it carries through in our daily lives and will immediately begin to impact everything in our lives.

C – Choice. We chose our path. All of the graduates in attendance last night chose to join the military. Even though they may think that they have made their own choices up to this point, they are truly in charge now. They can chose to go left, right, up or down. The choice is up to them. Mom and dad are not in charge anymore. It’s time to take charge of their lives. 

E – Education. Never…ever stop learning. He asked the Sgt. Major and Dr. Hall if they were finished learning yet. Of course, their answers were “no”. We should never stop wanting to learn. This may mean they use their military time to attend college and receive their degree or it may mean that they read and educate themselves. No matter which road they chose…contnue to educate yourself. 

What an awesome evening to see over 100 young men and women cross the stage and be honored for their choices. I know, first hand, that as a parent you are extremely proud of your child and yet scared at the same time. Maybe even more scared than your child because you can’t be there to protect them anymore.

They have made the decision to release the apron string. Let your child go and grow into the person that you have taught them to become. You have done your part and done it well.

Should you need or desire support from Blue Star Mothers of Fredericksburg, please feel free to reach out to me. I’ll be happy to be a shoulder and promise that my ears and heart are open to help you through this stressful time.

Thank you, parents, for everything you do!

 

 

 

 

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Honoring our Children

There are many ways to honor our children. We celebrate their success, build them up when they believe that they have failed (even when we know that they haven't), we support them with their decisions and allow them to make mistakes. We aren't able to physically hold their hands forever. However, we do emotionally hold their hands forever.

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During a radio interview last week, I was asked the question..."How did you feel when your daughter joined the military?" After a second, I answered the best way that I knew how. I told the DJ that I knew that joining the Army was her decision. She was an adult and I couldn't dictate her life for her. I don't think I would have described my feelings as happy. However, I was excited that she had made a life decision that would help her grow into adulthood. 

Some children know, from a very young age, that they are destined to join the miltary. They even know which military branch they will join and their focus will not be skewed in any other direction. This can be hard for a parent to discern. One of our Blue Star Mothers experienced this first hand. Her son joined the Army as soon as he graduated high school. He is now 19 years old and just left for his first tour in Afghanistan. Just thinking about him leaving makes my heart hurt because it is easy to think of all of the events that he will miss being so far away from his family. I've been there...done that. It hurts just as much as if it were my own child missing a birthday or holiday.

So, how do you get through the hard days? The radio station asked me this question too. My answer was very simple. You lean on the strength of those who have been there before. (And there are many mothers in this position in the Fredericksburg Area). You know that it is ok to cry, laugh and be happy too! I know that this isn't easy, but it is necessary to keep every sane. You take one day at a time, and enjoy the little dot showing up on Facebook to give you a short few minutes to "talk" to your child. Honoring your child means celebrating every minute that you are able to spend with them, even if they are few and far between sometimes. And, lastly, honoring your child means continuing on with your life as if they were right here with you, and not thousands of miles away. Why? Because even though they may not be here physically, your happiness can be the support that they need, all those thousands of miles away.  

Linda Clevenger

1stVP - Blue Star Mothers of Fredericksburg

 

 

 

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What Do You Do With All of Your Old Coupons?

In a tight economy, we all do what we can to conserve funds and make our dollars stretch as far as we possibly can. It can be a challenge. It can also be fun! There are lots of new ways for us to get the exact coupons that we want and need. We are no longer limited to the Wednesday and Sunday newspapers and what they offer each week.

Of course, living off of the American economy is not nearly as difficult as living off of the economy for our military members who are stationed overseas. Living outside the U.S. comes with a long list of hardships. Just the language barrier and customs can be stressful.

One way that the Blue Star Mothers of Fredericksburg assists our servicemen and servicewomen overseas is through the Coupon Program. Our overseas military bases allow its Troops, Sailors, Marines, Airmen (and women) to use expired coupons in the Commissary (this is the military grocery store). They can use coupons that are up to 60 days past the expiration date.

As recommended by the military, the Blue Star Mothers of Fredericksburg adopted the Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan. Every month our Corresponding Secretary reports the dollar amount of coupons that has been collected and sent to the base. So far, in 2013 we have sent $1,605.95 in coupons to our military families in Japan.
It is great to hear the stories from the members of Blue Star Mothers of Fredericksburg who have been stationed overseas with their husbands and how much they appreciated being able to have extra coupons available to purchase their groceries. It meant so much just knowing that they came from "home".

Will our military member families be able to extreme coupon with the amount of coupons that are sent every month? Probably not. They are, however, very grateful for all of us here, back in the States, who think enough of them to take the time and energy to cut out every coupon, sort them all into categories and pay to ship them off every month.

Can you help? Absolutely! If you use coupons and have extras, let us know. We would be happy to accept your coupons and increase the dollar amount that we provide to our troops every month. And, if you really, really like to coupon...we can always use assistance in the cutting, sorting and packaging of the coupons.

If you would like more information about how you can get involved with assisting our military service members, feel free to connect with us on Facebook. We can be found at https://www.facebook.com/BlueStarMothersOfFredericksburgChapter4?fref=ts 

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About Blue Star Mothers

Blue Star Mothers Fredericksburg is a community group that provides support to each other and local military families who have given their children to serve our Nation. We support every branch of the Armed Forces and it's veterans through patriotism, education and social events. We support our community and its active and deployed military through on-going service projects, including providing our servicemen and women with care packages. For more information about National Blue Star Mothers you can visit their website. To find our local chapter click here.

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Pouches' Community Corner

Bikers Against Child Abuse, Inc. (BACA) exists to create a safer environment for abused children by empowering children to not feel afraid of their world. Imagine how an abused child feels when a group of large bikers rides up to their house, inducts them into their club and then escorts them to court to testify against their abuser.

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The opinions and/or views expressed on this blog represent the thoughts of individual blogger and not necessarily those of Fredericksburg Parent & Family Magazine or any of its employees or staff.