(Editor’s Note: The following article was submitted by Wright County Blue Star Mothers.)
The Wright County Area Blue Star Mothers Minnesota Chapter 13 celebrated their 15 year anniversary in February with a gathering of 26 past, current or future members and some special guests. The event was held at the Monticello VFW Post 8731, appetizers, snacks and cake were served. Among the twenty-five people were three past Department of Minnesota Blue Star Mothers Presidents Pattie Kelley, Jeanne Ullmer and Lucie Cutts as well as the current president Karla Keller. We were honored that they were able to share this joyous occasion with the chapter. Their guidance and support through the years has been invaluable and much appreciated!
Past Department President Dottie Sills, the president who installed the chapter and officers on February 3, 2008, was unable to attend but she sent a congratulatory message that was read by chapter President Jen Pecarina during her speech:
“Hi. I was hoping I would be able to attend your celebration of 15 years but I can’t. I am so very proud of all of you for the mission you have continued for all these years! I remember your first official meeting with installing your chapter and all your officers. Congratulations Chapter 13, Department of Minnesota, Blue Star Mothers of America, Inc. Love to all. Dottie.”
A video congratulatory message was also played for all to see and hear from the National President of Blue Star Mothers of America, Inc, Stacy Anders. Anders lives in California and commented on how she is trying to stay warm because it’s normally not that cold there as it was on that day, but she stated that she’s got nothing on Minnesota girls! She sent well wishes for a happy happy 15 year birthday to the chapter. Anders expressed that we should keep going strong for the organization and keep up the great work! She’s also looking forward to seeing all the chapter members at the National Convention this summer in Nashville, Tennessee. In closing she hoped everyone had a good day and sent her love to all.
During Pecarina’s speech she talked about the beginning of Blue Star Mothers of America, Inc. How Captain George H. Maines saw the morale of his soldiers was low. They were worried about their Mothers back in the states and how their lives were without them. He decided to hold a meeting for military Moms and placed an ad in the Flint, Michigan newspaper on January 22, 1942 announcing this meeting for military Moms and the desire to form an organization of support for them. There was a coupon in the paper for Mothers to fill out and return. There were over 1,000 responses. On February 1, 1942 the first meeting was held at the Durant Hotel in Flint, Michigan and 300 mothers came to that first meeting! And Blue Star Mothers of America, Inc was formed. Chapters were formed all over the United States. In June of 1960 the organization was congressionally chartered. BSMoA is a 501c3 non profit veterans service organization. Chapters meet regularly to fulfill the organization’s mission. Once a year moms from every chapter are invited to attend the National Convention, held at different locations throughout the United States, at this meeting moms conduct business for the good of the organization and elect new officers for the upcoming year. In the early years the mission was to bring their sons home, make sure they received the benefits they deserved, help their families, help each other and to be there if something happened. The mission hasn’t changed much over the last 81 years. It still includes the original mission but has also expanded to include rehab, hospital volunteers, etc. to serve and support currently serving military, veterans, Gold Star families and each other through service, fundraising and social times.
Minnesota Blue Star Mothers history includes the forming of the first chapter in the state, Chapter 1, out of the Willmar area. Chapter 1 was officially chartered on March 23, 2003. It takes five members to form a chapter. Not long after other chapters were formed and on March 1, 2005 the Department of Minnesota Blue Star Mothers of America, Inc. was formed (at least three chapters are needed to form a department). Not every state has a department and there are only two other states who currently have one, Michigan and Ohio. The Wright County Area Blue Star Mothers Chapter was formed and started meeting in October of 2007, they were officially chartered and installed on February 3, 2008. They have seen many moms come and go in the chapter but there are a couple of the original moms still involved. The chapter started with 13 moms and has grown to 29 moms and six associates. Associates are non military Mom members such as Dads, Siblings and community members who are passionate about the BSMoA mission. There are currently about 200 chapters throughout the U.S.
Pecarina closed out her speech with the words, “I want to thank everyone for coming out today. This chapter and this organization is very near and dear to my heart, as are you all. When we went to that first meeting, and second, we didn’t all know each other; we were strangers. When we started our chapter we were so new to the wonders of what we, as Moms, could do to support our children as they lived out their military life journey. I think we all joined thinking about what we could do for them not realizing what we would be doing for ourselves. We formed a sisterhood, a bond not by blood but by common ground, put differences aside and worked together to support the mission of Blue Star Mothers of America, Inc. We’ve cried together, laughed, shaken our heads in frustration, bit our tongues, shared family joys and sorrows and in the end we come together as family..to support all military, our children and each other. I also want to thank our associate members and other family members not on our roster who help behind the scenes. My military children for making me a Blue Star Mother. I thank my family for always helping me support the mission. Being an associate member is a thankless role but please know our chapter, any chapter, couldn’t run as smoothly as they do without our associate members too! You are greatly appreciated!”
The Wright County Area Chapter can be contacted via their Facebook page, by emailing President.MN13@BlueStarMothers.us or by calling 612-849-0698.