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GSW September 2011 Web

GSW September 2011 Web

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NEWSLETTER 
“UNITED WE STAND TO WIN, DIVIDED WE FALL - AND ARE FORGOTTEN”
September 2011 Vol. 56 No. 3
P.O. Box 361986
Birmingham, AL 35236
Editor Corinna Gibson-Ashmead
Gold Star Wives of America, Inc.
A nonprofit national military widows service organization chartered by the United States Congress 
...continued on page 2...
T
ABLE
 
OF
C
ONTENTS
66th Annual National GSW Convention .......Page 8Around The Country ........................... Page 13Board Chairman’s Report .....................Page 3Color the Hill Gold ..............................Page 19Convention Chair .................................Page 7Government Relations Report ................Page 4National Chaplan ................................Page 17National Veteran’s Day in Birmingham, Al ..Page 10Region Updates ................................. Page 14Registration is Open for Snowball VI .........Page 22Service Officer ..................................Page 11VAVA 50th Anniversary of theSpraying of Agent Orange...................Page 5VAVS Notes ...................................... Page 18Wreaths Across America .........................Page 6
PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE 
What an honor it was to beelected National President of Gold Star Wives of Americaat our National Convention inSt. Louis, Missouri. I have been a member of Gold Star Wives for many years, butI will take this opportunityto introduce myself to youwhom I have not met personally, and to those who wouldlike to know a little more about me. I was born and raisedin Mansura, Louisiana, a small town in central Louisiana.I am the sixth of seven siblings, four sisters (one deceased)and two brothers. I was educated in the AvoyellesParish School System and later graduated from SouthernUniversity in Baton Rouge, Louisiana with a Bachelor’sof Science degree in Music Education. I taught music inCatahoula, Iberville and Avoyelles Parish school systemsin Louisiana, also in the Houston Independent SchoolDistrict. I retired in 2005, as Administrative Assistantfor the Civil Service Commission in Denver, Colorado. Icurrently live in Aurora, Colorado with my husband of sixyears, Arthur Blakely. I am a volunteer with the Denver Chapter of Alzheimer’s Association, actively involved inmusic and other church ministries, and pianist at SableCare Nursing Center in Aurora.My first teaching position was in the small town of Jonesville, Louisiana where I met my husband, HowardLee Early in September 1961. Howard was home on leaveafter a tour in Germany. We were married three months
URPOSES 

nation.
    
 
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
later, on December 24, 1961. We were at Ft. Campbell,Kentucky for four years during which my three sons were born. My sons, Fabian, and twins Alphonso and Alonzoreside in Houston, Texas, including sixteen grandchildrenand two great-grands. Our last months together as familywere during Howard’s assignment at Ft. Sam Houston inSan Antonio, Texas where he received orders for Vietnam.In late summer of 1968, Howard boarded a bus out of Alexandria, Louisiana bound for his site of deployment.On February 19, 1969, about 9pm, two gentlemen inmilitary uniform delivered the dreadful message of their mission…My husband had been killed that day on activeduty in Vietnam…my world stood still. I was blessed tohave been with my parents at that time. I was advised thatHoward spent the initial months of his tour in Vietnamwith the 82nd Airborne Division and later transferredto Advisory duty. Howard was with a Mobile AdvisoryTeam aiming to repel a Viet Cong patrol when the teamwas caught up in a fatal ambush by the Viet Cong.On July 4, 2003, I was honored to meet one of Howard’scomrades and very good friend, Retired MSG MurphJack Marrow. Murph Marrow initiated and coordinatedthe erection of a SFC Howard Lee Early Memorialand subsequently a Memorial Dedication Ceremony inJonesville, Louisiana. For an awesome, detailed article ontheir relationship as Army comrades, please visit website:ourheritagemagazine.com/sfc-howard-lee-early/Shortly after Howard’s death, I received a letter informingme about Gold Star Wives. A few months later, I sentin application and attended my first GSW NationalConvention in 1972, in Columbus, Georgia. I shall never forget that convention, because it started a wonderfulhealing and bonding with caring and lasting friendships,including a memorable post-convention trip to theBahamas. I am grateful for the persistence of our memberswho worked diligently until Congress approved legislationin 2003, allowing survivors who remarried after age 57,to retain their Dependency and Indemnity Compensation

other GSW’s as well. Again I say, thank you.Each issue of concern within the organization may not pertain to all of us personally, but we must stand unitedin support of GSW legislation that impacts a fraction of us as well, because there is strength and louder voice innumbers. There are dire economic issues facing our nationat this time, and we should be more vigilant than ever 

on the table and be persistent or they will be brushed asideand forgotten. Much of my appreciation and respect for the organization has come through my involvement and participation in the following segments: National Chair for Community Service; Denver Chapter Secretary;Denver Chapter Vice President; Denver Chapter President;coordinator of SW Region Conference in Denver, 2007;and President of Southwest Region, 2008-2009.I wish to thank President Emeritus Katherine “Kit” Frazer,for a job well done on behalf of Gold Star Wives. Thank you Kit, for mentoring and always encouraging me as Ianticipated serving in this honorable position and for allyou’ve done to make the transition as smooth as possible.I look forward to working with Vice President HarrietBoyden. I commend her as recipient of the SpecialRecognition Award. Harriet is a conscientious worker, andI plan to keep in close communication with her as Kit didso diligently with me.A huge thank you to Convention Chair, Jamie Tomek andmembers of the South Central Region for hosting our 66th National Convention, which was well-organized.Besides successful business meetings, we had informativeworkshops; a riverboat dinner cruise; entertainment byMissouri Master Storyteller Gladys Coggswell; beautifulmusic provided by pianist Steve Sanderson, and humorousremarks by Ruth Miller, GSW from San Antonio, Texas.

of Survivor’s Assistance for the Dept. of Veterans Affairs;Kevin Secor, VA Department Liaison for Veteran’s ServiceOrganizations.Special thanks to the following sponsors who supportedour convention and contributed to its success: TriWestHealthcare Alliance; Express Scripts; USAA; SpectrumHealthcare Resources; Delta Dental; Department of Veterans Affairs; Graphic Designer Jon Moran andPhotographer Shelley Anderson of Cage & Aquarium.St. Louis has taken on a new meaning with fond memoriesfor me as the site of my election to GSW National President.

President, Jeanette Early (Aurora, CO); Vice President,Harriet Boyden (Aiken SC); Secretary, Leta McNair (Phenix City, AL); Treasurer, Betty Crawford (Chandler,
 
PAGE 3 
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OARD 
HAIRMAN 
’ 
 R  
EPORT 
Congratulations to our newly elected Board members – Judith Woodall, South East; Debra Kraus, South West;Sandra Robertson, South East; Nancy Gunn, NewEngland; and Ruth Miller, South Central. Each member is to be thanked for the giving of their time to serve andrepresent you. I also want to thank the board memberswho attended the St. Louis 66th National Conventionand met for almost 11 hours discussing the business of Gold Star Wives.Jamie Tomek, Convention Coordinator, her committeeand Willa Scott, South Central Region president,are also to be thanked for hosting the 66th NationalConvention. I enjoyed all aspects of the Conventionand the guests representing the sponsors and donors(Express Scripts, TriWest Healthcare Alliance,Spectrum Healthcare Resources, USAA, Delta Dental,and Cage Aquarium) who so graciously gave to our organization. There were many new and 1st timemembers in attendance and I hope they will continue togo to future Conventions.Audrey Easterling, Midwest Region president, extendedan invitation for the Midwest Region to host the National Convention in Dayton, OH, during the week of July 11 – 15, 2012 (put this date on your calendar).The invitation was accepted by the Assembly and Ilook forward to visiting there as well as seeing themuseum at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. There is amemorial area for the 55th Wing in which my husbandserved for 8 years and a friend placed a brick with hisname there. I know that many of our members have placed bricks at various memorial sites for their spousesso I know how meaningful it is to be able to visit andsee the brick or memorial.I am looking forward to working with Jeanette Early

Vice-president Harriet Boyden (South East), SecretaryLeta McNair (South East), Treasurer Betty Crawford(South West), Parliamentarian Jaimey Steele (MiddleAtlantic), Chaplain Janet Snyder (South West and president of the newly formed Las Vegas Valley
...continued on page 4...
AZ); Parliamentarian, Jaimey Steele (Crompond, NY);Historian, Veronica Mora (Perrysburg, OH); Chaplain,Janet Snyder (Las Vegas, NV). Congratulations to all of you, and thank you for taking on the responsibilities of 

Midwest Region extended an invitation to host the 67thGSW National Convention in Dayton, Ohio – July 11-15,2012. Thank you Midwest Region.Convention Attendees: 69 members; 43 guests; and 12

Company reported GSW membership is currently 8,652.Our National Chaplain reported 253 deceased membersin the past year.GSW is a unique organization of undesirable membership;nevertheless, survivors who are unfortunately thrust into

ready to embrace and support those who join. I am lookingforward to this new year with GSW’s as we work together and stand united in our efforts. There is always somethingeach one of us can do to maintain the purposes of GoldStar Wives. I encourage all of our members to continuethe great work you are doing in your communities andstates, getting involved, being visible, and sharing your experiences as a Gold Star Wife. We represent GSW inmany different events and activities, and we must beginto seriously “think local.” We must get to know as muchas we can about our local legislative candidates for whomwe are voting i.e., their views on major issues; and makeevery effort for them to know who we are and our concerns before they get on the Hill. And let us seek out their votingrecords after they reach the Hill – so we will know what bills they are supporting and which they are opposing.Our voice also works through our votes.I look forward to meeting and communicating with asmany of you as possible. Thank you again for your supportand words of encouragement. I am a good listener, andwant to hear from you.
 
 
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