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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 361986Birmingham, 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...
TABLE OF CONTENTS
66th Annual National GSW Convention ....... Page 8
Around The Country ........................... Page 13
Board Chairman’s Report ..................... Page 3
Color the Hill Gold ..............................Page 19
Convention Chair ................................. Page 7
Government Relations Report ................ Page 4
National Chaplan ................................Page 17
National Veteran’s Day in Birmingham, Al ..Page 10
Region Updates ................................. Page 14
Registration is Open for Snowball VI .........Page 22
Service Officer ..................................Page 11
VAVA 50th Anniversary of the
Spraying of Agent Orange ................... Page 5
VAVS Notes ...................................... Page 18
Wreaths Across America ......................... Page 6
PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE
What an honor it was to be
elected National President of
Gold Star Wives of America
at our National Convention in
St. Louis, Missouri. I have
been a member of Gold Star
Wives for many years, but
I will take this opportunity
to introduce myself to you
whom I have not met personally, and to those who would
like to know a little more about me. I was born and raised
in 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 Avoyelles
Parish School System and later graduated from Southern
University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana with a Bachelor’s
of Science degree in Music Education. I taught music in
Catahoula, Iberville and Avoyelles Parish school systems
in Louisiana, also in the Houston Independent School
District. I retired in 2005, as Administrative Assistant
for the Civil Service Commission in Denver, Colorado. I
currently live in Aurora, Colorado with my husband of six
years, Arthur Blakely. I am a volunteer with the Denver
Chapter of Alzheimer’s Association, actively involved in
music and other church ministries, and pianist at Sable
Care Nursing Center in Aurora.
My first teaching position was in the small town of
Jonesville, Louisiana where I met my husband, Howard
Lee Early in September 1961. Howard was home on leave
after a tour in Germany. We were married three months
PURPOSES
· To assist in upholding the Constitution and laws of
the United States of America, and to inculcate a sense
of individual obligation to the communitv, state, and
nation.
· To honor the memorv of those who made the supreme
sacrihce in the service of our countrv.
· To safeguard and transmit to posteritv the principles of
fustice, freedom, and democracv for which members of
our armed forces fought and died.
· To provide the benefits of a happv, healthful and
wholesome life to minor children of persons who died
in the service of our countrv.
· To promote activities and interests designed to foster
among its members the proper mental attitude to face
the future with courage.
· To aid when necessarv the spouses and children of
persons who died in the service of our countrv.
· To do anv and all things to carrv out the general
purposes and obfects of the organi:ation.
PAGE 2
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...continued from page 1...
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 Alonzo
reside in Houston, Texas, including sixteen grandchildren
and two great-grands. Our last months together as family
were during Howard’s assignment at Ft. Sam Houston in
San 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 in
military uniform delivered the dreadful message of their
mission…My husband had been killed that day on active
duty in Vietnam…my world stood still. I was blessed to
have been with my parents at that time. I was advised that
Howard spent the initial months of his tour in Vietnam
with the 82nd Airborne Division and later transferred
to Advisory duty. Howard was with a Mobile Advisory
Team aiming to repel a Viet Cong patrol when the team
was caught up in a fatal ambush by the Viet Cong.
On July 4, 2003, I was honored to meet one of Howard’s
comrades and very good friend, Retired MSG Murph
Jack Marrow. Murph Marrow initiated and coordinated
the erection of a SFC Howard Lee Early Memorial
and subsequently a Memorial Dedication Ceremony in
Jonesville, Louisiana. For an awesome, detailed article on
their relationship as Army comrades, please visit website:
ourheritagemagazine.com/sfc-howard-lee-early/
Shortly after Howard’s death, I received a letter informing
me about Gold Star Wives. A few months later, I sent
in application and attended my first GSW National
Convention in 1972, in Columbus, Georgia. I shall never
forget that convention, because it started a wonderful
healing and bonding with caring and lasting friendships,
including a memorable post-convention trip to the
Bahamas. I am grateful for the persistence of our members
who worked diligently until Congress approved legislation
in 2003, allowing survivors who remarried after age 57,
to retain their Dependency and Indemnity Compensation
(DIC). Passage oI that legislation was to my beneft and
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 united
in support of GSW legislation that impacts a fraction of
us as well, because there is strength and louder voice in
numbers. There are dire economic issues facing our nation
at this time, and we should be more vigilant than ever
concerning survivors benefts. We must keep our concerns
on the table and be persistent or they will be brushed aside
and 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 I
anticipated serving in this honorable position and for all
you’ve done to make the transition as smooth as possible.
I look forward to working with Vice President Harriet
Boyden. I commend her as recipient of the Special
Recognition Award. Harriet is a conscientious worker, and
I plan to keep in close communication with her as Kit did
so diligently with me.
A huge thank you to Convention Chair, Jamie Tomek and
members of the South Central Region for hosting our
66th National Convention, which was well-organized.
Besides successful business meetings, we had informative
workshops; a riverboat dinner cruise; entertainment by
Missouri Master Storyteller Gladys Coggswell; beautiful
music provided by pianist Steve Sanderson, and humorous
remarks by Ruth Miller, GSW from San Antonio, Texas.
Guest Speakers included Deborah Walker, Director/OIfce
of Survivor’s Assistance for the Dept. of Veterans Affairs;
Kevin Secor, VA Department Liaison for Veteran’s Service
Organizations.
Special thanks to the following sponsors who supported
our convention and contributed to its success: TriWest
Healthcare Alliance; Express Scripts; USAA; Spectrum
Healthcare Resources; Delta Dental; Department of
Veterans Affairs; Graphic Designer Jon Moran and
Photographer Shelley Anderson of Cage & Aquarium.
St. Louis has taken on a new meaning with fond memories
for me as the site of my election to GSW National President.
The newly elected National OIfcers Ior 2011-2012 are:
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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BOARD CHAIRMAN’S
REPORT
Congratulations to our newly elected Board members –
Judith Woodall, South East; Debra Kraus, South West;
Sandra Robertson, South East; Nancy Gunn, New
England; and Ruth Miller, South Central. Each member
is to be thanked for the giving of their time to serve and
represent you. I also want to thank the board members
who attended the St. Louis 66th National Convention
and met for almost 11 hours discussing the business of
Gold Star Wives.
Jamie Tomek, Convention Coordinator, her committee
and Willa Scott, South Central Region president,
are also to be thanked for hosting the 66th National
Convention. I enjoyed all aspects of the Convention
and 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 time
members in attendance and I hope they will continue to
go to future Conventions.
Audrey Easterling, Midwest Region president, extended
an 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 I
look forward to visiting there as well as seeing the
museum at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. There is a
memorial area for the 55th Wing in which my husband
served for 8 years and a friend placed a brick with his
name there. I know that many of our members have
placed bricks at various memorial sites for their spouses
so I know how meaningful it is to be able to visit and
see the brick or memorial.
I am looking forward to working with Jeanette Early
(South West), National President, and our new oIfcers:
Vice-president Harriet Boyden (South East), Secretary
Leta McNair (South East), Treasurer Betty Crawford
(South West), Parliamentarian Jaimey Steele (Middle
Atlantic), 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
your respective oIfce.
Midwest Region extended an invitation to host the 67th
GSW National Convention in Dayton, Ohio – July 11-15,
2012. Thank you Midwest Region.
Convention Attendees: 69 members; 43 guests; and 12
frst-time attendees. Jim Ranieri oI GSW Management
Company reported GSW membership is currently 8,652.
Our National Chaplain reported 253 deceased members
in the past year.
GSW is a unique organization of undesirable membership;
nevertheless, survivors who are unfortunately thrust into
eligibility will fnd that GSW is a unique body oI survivors
ready to embrace and support those who join. I am looking
forward to this new year with GSW’s as we work together
and stand united in our efforts. There is always something
each one of us can do to maintain the purposes of Gold
Star Wives. I encourage all of our members to continue
the great work you are doing in your communities and
states, getting involved, being visible, and sharing your
experiences as a Gold Star Wife. We represent GSW in
many different events and activities, and we must begin
to seriously “think local.” We must get to know as much
as we can about our local legislative candidates for whom
we are voting i.e., their views on major issues; and make
every effort for them to know who we are and our concerns
before they get on the Hill. And let us seek out their voting
records 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 as
many of you as possible. Thank you again for your support
and words of encouragement. I am a good listener, and
want to hear from you.
Jeanette B. Earlv
National President
20701 E. Dartmouth Dr.
Aurora, CO 80013-8446
Phone. 303-617-7937
Email. fbearlv-gsw¸q.com
PAGE 4
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Thanks to Vivianne Wersel and Kay Witt for their service
as co-chairs of the Government Relations Committee. As
we look Iorward to fnding new ways to work together
and make our efforts with the executive and legislative
branches as effective as possible we will explore past
methods and new ones as well.
My past experience helping open the Washington
D.C. oIfce in the 1990s and teaching 4-Her`s the art
of government as well as the textbook version in the
classroom will be of some help. I look forward to working
with committee members to enhance our expertise and
learn from their years of experience.
The Government Relations Committee is made up of
Chris Chojnicki, Michelle Fitzhenry, Suzanne Gerstner,
Rose Lee, Kathy Prout, Edith Smith, and Vivianne Wersel.
Also helping are Jody Nyalko, Washington Liaison/
Representative, and Charlotte Tsoucalus.
Our organization offers the Surviving Spouses Legislative
Issues yahoo board for those who are interested. If you
would like to learn about the issues we work with, please
contact Kay Witt, our IT coordinator and message board
person at gswmoderator@verizon.net to become a
member . When members are informed, we are a stronger
organization and can have more impact on the outcome
of the governmental process.
I look forward to working with you in the future.
Jamie Tomek
Government Relations Chair
ftomek¸nemonet.com
...continued from page 3...
GOVERNMENT RELATIONS
COMMITTEE REPORT
Chapter) and Historian Veronica Mora (Midwest). We
have an excellent slate oI oIfcers and I know you will
support their efforts for us.
The Board approved returning funds from the disbanded
Jacksonville, FL, Chapter to the South East Region. We
also approved insurance policies for the Directors and
OIfcers as well as Liability Insurance. Jody Nyalko
will continue as the Washington Representative for
2011-2012. Approval was also given for the cost of the
busses for the Memorial Services held at the Soldiers
Memorial in St. Louis as well as items above the
budgeted amount. One much needed item was new fag
poles Ior our fags at Arlington National Cemetery.
An In Memoriam column is now being placed in each
newsletter so that our members who are unable to
attend Convention will be able to read the names of our
members who have passed. It is with much sadness
to report the following members who passed after
May 31st: Eunice Farris, Supplies Chair (a very good
friend and wonderful supporter); Virginia Hurley, past
New England Region president and board member;
Marjorie Hubbard, South Central member who served
in many capacities; and Eula Ruth Harris, Little Rock
Convention Coordinator, who wore the Razorback
headgear and could really give their “holler.” We will
miss them.
If you have any questions or want to discuss any issue,
please call me. Thank you for allowing me to be your
Board Chairman for another year.
Martha M. Didamo
Board Chairman
Phone. (402) 292-2194
Email. mmdidamo¸cox.net
PAGE 5
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13 million gallons of dioxin-contaminated Agent Orange herbicide was sprayed over vast sections of land and
water during the Vietnam War, creating an ecocide that is extremely diIfcult to remediate. Millions oI Vietnamese
civilians, American forces, and thousands of allies were exposed. Veterans from all forces are now suffering from
cancers and illness. Dioxin has affected their children and grandchildren and many have been born with cancer
and birth defects. Thousands of family members have been lost over the past 50 years. This toxic legacy brought
together a delegation of friends from around the world to express their solidarity and support for those affected by
Agent Orange. As an Agent Orange widow and social activist, I went to show solidarity to the victims. We came
together to commemorate those we’ve lost and encourage those who have been effected.
While at the conference I met Heather Bowser, an America daughter of a GSW, who lost her father to Agent Or-
ange. Heather, 38-years old, was born with serious birth defects that were just like younger Vietnamese victims
attending the conference. She acknowledged their struggles and gave them hope for a better future. Rehabilita-
tion and integration into the community has begun for many. Global resources are being mobilized to aid victims
and their struggling families. The needs are great.
Congressman Bob Filner, 51st District of California and Ranking Democratic Member of the Committee on Vet-
erans Affairs, will champion the bill, Victims of Agent Orange Relief Act of 2011 – H.R. 2634. He is committed
to resolve the eIIects oI Agent Orange by fghting Ior the needs oI our Veterans, their children, and grandchildren,
the American-Vietnamese and Vietnamese who were hurt. I ask you to join in the effort and urge your Congress-
person to support this much needed bill. We must integrate our GSW purposes. We must help heal our world. We
must end this toxic legacy. It is the right thing to do.
Respectfullv submitted,
Debra Kraus
President, Golden State Chapter and Board Member
Gold Star Wives of America, Inc.
VAVA – 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE
SPRAYING OF AGENT ORANGE
2nd International Conference of Victims of Agent Orange
PAGE 6
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The American Legion Post 29 of Russellville, Kentucky
asked for our help in obtaining donations for the Wreaths
Across America, Inc. project. The wreaths were to be
placed on the graves at the Kentucky Veteran’s Cemetery
West in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. We started working
around October 1, 2010 and continued almost every day
until November 19, 2010. We were so grateful to be able
to participate in this project. Our special thanks to all of
the businesses as well as the individuals whose donations
made all of this possible. We were able to place over
1,100 wreaths at the cemetery on December 11, 2010.
Thank you also to the military members, both active and
retired, as well as the volunteers who placed the wreaths
and the people who care for the cemetery. We are so
very proud to have been able to be a part of all of this and
be able to give something back to our veterans. We are
looking forward to doing even better next year.
Gold Star Wives of America, Inc.
Eagles Chapter
Southeast Region
WREATHS ACROSS AMERICA
Are you ready to put the fun and
compassion in fall fashion?
Then celebrate Fashion’s Night Out (FNO) with Charming Charlie! (We’ve actually turned it into a week-
end long extravaganza) From September 8 -11, with your purchase of $40 or more, you will receive a
free tote with purchase and we will donate an accessory to Gold Star Wives of America, an organization of
military widows/widowers whose spouse died while on active duty or from service connected disabilities.
Hurray
PAGE 7
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Four of our Las Vegas Valley Chapter members
(Taunya, Nancy, Alberta and Janet) attended the GSW
2011 Convention in St. Louis. For three of us (Taunya,
Alberta and Janet), it was our first GSW Convention,
and it was a great learning experience, as well as fun,
to meet new friends, enjoying the camaraderie of sister
widows. The most emotional part was Friday, August
5th, when we took buses to the Memorial Service at
St. Louis Soldiers Memorial. We wore our yellow
jackets, caps and pins, and each recited our husbands’
names, rank and branch of service, mentioning if he
was killed in wartime or later due to service-connected
disabilities. On Saturday, August 6th, there was
a Memorial Service for deceased GSW members
during 2010 - 2011. Members from each region read
the names. Although we could not vote, we sat on
the sidelines of the Business Meetings and Board
Meetings, so we could learn how the organization
is run. The hotel was excellent: comfortable beds,
spacious rooms, delicious gourmet food, fitness room,
pool, good service. Jamie Tomek and her committee
did a fantastic job with all the arrangements. Saturday
evening was the Banquet and Installation.
These are newly elected National Officers for 2011 - 2012:
President: Jeanette Early (Aurora, CO)
Vice President: Harriet Boyden (Aiken, SC)
Secretary: Leta McNair (Phenix City, AL)
Treasurer: Betty Crawford (Chandler, AZ)
Parliamentarian: Jaimey Steele (Crompond, NY)
Historian: Veronica Mora (Perrysburg, OH)
Chaplain: Janet Snyder (Las Vegas, NV)
A huge honor - for all of us new members - was
to meet Marie Jordan Speer, the founder of Gold
Star Wives. At age 90, she is lovely, charming,
intelligent, with a glowing personality.
Next year the 67th National Convention will be held
in Dayton, Ohio (2012). Our chapter members (who
attended the convention) discussed having the Las
Vegas Valley Chapter hosting the 68th National
Convention in 2013 in Las Vegas. Will check into
some information, to present to our members at
our October business meeting.
Going to the annual GSW National Convention is
a wonderful experience, and opportunity to learn
more about our organization. I highly recommend
that all of you attend both your Region and National
Conventions each year.
NATIONAL CONVENTION IN ST. LOUIS, MO
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PAGE 8
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Sixty six members recently attended the 66th annual national convention of the Gold Star
Wives of America, Inc in St. Louis, Missouri. Members gathered to honor the memory of
their spouses at a memorial service at the St. Louis Soldiers Memorial., in downtown St
Louis near the Gateway Arch. “We were glad to welcome members of the organization
to the St. Louis community,” says Jamie Tomek, convention chair. “Activities included a
trip to the top of the Arch, and a riverboat dinner cruise.
In addition to the organization’s business meeting, speakers included Deborah Walker,
director, Office of Survivor’s Assistance for the Department of Veterans Affairs and Kevin
Secor who is VA Department Liaison for Veteran’s Service Organizations.
One role of the Gold Star Wives organization is to assist widows in obtaining benefits that they are entitled to
receive. Tomek says that these conventions offer a time to gather and not only honor the memory of deceased
spouses but also to share the struggles they have encountered and celebrate joys of overcoming difficulties
in receiving benefits or dealing with life as a widow. We had many opportunities to share the good times
and the harder ones says Marsha Bancroft Missouri member-at-large who helped plan the convention.
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66TH ANNUAL
NATIONAL GSW CONVENTION
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PAGE 9
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66TH ANNUAL
NATIONAL GSW CONVENTION
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Kit Frazier, President, of Altamont Springs, Florida presided over this year’s convention and was recognized
for her two years of service. Jeanette Early, newly elected president was installed August 6. Harriet Boyden
was elected and installed vice-president, Leta McNair secretary, Betty Crawford Treasurer, Veronica Morey
historian, Jaimey Steele parliamentarian and Janet Snyder chaplain.
Other activities and entertainment included storytelling by Gladys Coggswell, Missouri Master Storyteller,
pianist and Vietnam Marine, Steve Sanderson and humorous remarks by Ruth Miller, Gold Star Wives
member from San Antonio, Texas.
Express Scripts of St Louis and USAA were first time sponsors of the convention. TriWest Healthcare is a
continuing sponsor. Delta Dental and Spectrum Healthcare are also contributed to support the convention.
“These donors allow us to make the convention one that widows, especially widows on fixed income can
afford to attend,” says Tomek.
Jon Moran, a graphic artist working in Louisiana, Missouri at the Studio at Seventh has provided services
for the convention. Photography was provided by Shelley Anderson of Chicago. She is the photographer
for Cage and Aquarium.
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PAGE 10
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The Southeast Region and Birmingham Chapter extend an invitation for all Gold Star Wives to join us for the 63rd
Annual Veterans Day in Birmingham, Alabama November 10th & 11th, 2011. Raymond Weeks is responsible for
changing Armistice Day to Veterans Day. This is the largest Veterans Day Event outside of Washington, DC. The
National Organization of Gold Star Wives of America, Inc is a sponsoring organization of the event and is recog-
nized as part of the Coordinating Committee. Join us for a wonderful Patriotic Flag-Flying Event!!
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
Thursday November 10th, 2011
12 Noon, Southeast Region Luncheon ------------- $22.00
Honoring our National Vice President & Southeast Region President
5:45 PM Weeks Memorial Service at Lynn Park
6:00 PM Distinguished Guest Reception - Boutwell Auditorium
All members are invited, dress is formal - Long or Short
7:00 PM National Veterans Awards Dinner -------$25.00
Recipient of the National Veterans Award - Colonel Bill Voigt, Ret.
Speaker: Rear Admiral Thomas Stephens, (Ret) Former Navy Seal,
U.S. Special Operations Commander & Director of the Naval Anti-Terrorism

Friday November 11, 2011
9:00 AM Memorial Service - Cathedral Church of the Advent
Gold Star Mothers and Gold Star Wives are honored guests, wear yellow and your hat, if you have one.
11:00 AM World Peace Luncheon ------------------ $23.00
Boutwell Auditorium
Speaker: National Commander of the Disabled American Veterans
1:00 PM National Veterans Day Parade - We will have vehicles in the parade and you are welcome to ride.
Hotel Information: Historic Tutwiler Hampton Inn and Suites
2021 Park Place North, Birmingham, AL - this is in walking distance of all the events.
Complimentary Breakfast Served, also Complimentary Airport Service.
Rooms are: $103.44 per night. This includes tax.
I will make your room reservations for you, I do a rooming list. I just need to know your arrival and departure
dates and if you are sharing the room and with whom. You make arrangements for payment when you check in.
Just say you are on the GSW rooming list.
If you would like to attend only one of the events you will be welcome! If you are arriving on the 9th you are
invited to attend a special program by Patriots in Action in the evening.
DEADLINE FOR TICKETS IS OCTOBER 10, 2011. AFTER THAT DATE I HAVE TO TURN IN ALL UN-
SOLD TICKETS. MAKE YOUR CHECKS PAYABLE TO GOLD STAR WIVES, BIRMINGHAM CHAPTER.
Mail to:
Rachel Clinkscale 205.672.7848
PO Box 19 r.clinkscale@earthlink.net
Vincent, AL 35178-0019
National Veterans Day In Birmingham 2011
PAGE 11
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SERVICE OFFICER
“ICE” Your Cell Phone or “Set As Emergency”
on Your Cell Phone
When victims are unable to communicate, emergency
responders often check their cell phone directory, hop-
ing to fnd the number Ior a Iamily member or another
important point of contact. You can create a contact in
your telephone directory under the titles of “ICE” or
“Set As Emergency” followed by the person’s name and
telephone number. If you want, you can create more
than one “ICE” or “Emergency” contact. By doing this,
you can help emergency responders help you during the
emergency. Note that some cell phone directories say,
“ICE” and some say “Set As Emergency”. But both
acronyms serve the same purpose.
VA Creates Women Veterans Call Center Major
Outreach Effort Launched
The Department of Veterans Affairs has embarked on a
major initiative to reach out to women Veterans in order
to solicit their input on ways to enhance the health care
the VA provides to them.
The Health Resource Center representatives mak-
ing the calls, which started on June 1, are informing
women Veterans about the services VA offers. These in-
clude general primary care, osteoporosis management,
heart disease, mental health care, menopausal services
and obesity-related issues, such as diabetes. Preventive
screenings for breast and cervical cancer are also areas in
which VA excels. Soon, all VA facilities will offer com-
prehensive primary care for women from a single pro-
vider. For more information about services for women
Veterans, please visit: www.va.gov/womenvet and www.
publichealth.va.gov/womenshealth or call 1-877-222-
8387 to locate the nearest VA Medical Center for help
with women veterans VA Health care services.

ABANDONING PAPER CHECKS
BEGINNING TO USE DEBIT CARDS
The VA, through the Treasury Department, will soon be-
gin oIIering benefciaries without bank accounts an op-
tion to enroll in the Direct Express debit card program.
Federal benefts payments will be directly deposited
into a bank account and made accessible through a debit
card. Direct Express cardholders have 24/7 access to
their money at automated teller machines and can make
purchases online and at any retailer that accepts Mas-
terCard. This is a frst step in plans to eliminate check
payments in the future. If you have questions, call Direct
Express at 1-888-741-1115 or visit www.USDirectEx-
press.com
SOCIAL SECURITY has already begun using the
same Direct Express benefts payments program. Any-
one applying Ior benefts aIter May 1, 2011 will be re-
quired to receive their payments electronically. Those
already receiving paper checks will need to switch by
March 2013. If you don’t have a bank account, you can
get your benefts through the Direct Express debit Mas-
tercard.
You can switch from checks to electronic payments at
www.godirect.org . Or call the U.S. Treasury Processing
Center at 1-800-333-1795 or speak with a bank or credit
union representative or contact Social Security for help.
Paper Social Security checks will no longer be an option
after March 1, 2013.
WW II VETERANS FAMILIES TELL THEIR STO-
RIES
In January a new genealogical society for relatives of
World War II veterans began accepting applications to
help preserve stories oI sacrifce and achievement oI
America’s “Greatest Generation” - - the 16 million men
and women who served in the armed services during the
war.
The new group will be overseen by the Admiral Nim-
itz Foundation, which also runs the National Museum of
the Pacifc War. For more inIormation and application
materials call 1-830-997-8600 Ext. 204.
Pat Kellv, National Service Ofhcer
phxpatkellv¸aol.com
602-973-6744
PAGE 12
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Snowball VI
Dec. 9-13, 2011 ~ Dallas, Texas
http://www.snowballexpress.org/
of the cost of travel will be on the volunteer who
attends the event.
The Support Team is selected by the Co Chairs
and there are guidelines. Here are three very
important criteria:
a) be able to be patient, good listener, think on
your feet, love children, stamina for 5 days 24/7
busy and high energy
b) helpful if you have had some type of training
to be a Grief Facilitator it is easy to take a Hospice
Course on Grief, Children and Grief, or the Peer
Mentor Program for TAPS is helpful as well
c) have a computer and cell phone.
Nancy Gunn
Special Events GSW
Co Chair of SBE VI
207-865-4607 (home) EST
207-319-3459 (mobile) EST
santachips@aol.com
Kathy Upchurch
Co Chair of SBE VI
Gold Star Wives of America
602-246-0240 (home/fax call first) MST
602-799-0240 (mobile) MST
ksupchur@cox.net or ksupchur@mac.com
please put both emails in your address book
G o t o t h e
website above,
and pull down
the “fami l i es”
tab and click on
family registration. If you have previously
registered with Snowball Express, enter your
e-mail address and password, click on the small
arrow. When your data appears, click on your id
# and then on edit. In the “plan to attend box”,
click on Snowball VI and save. Please repeat the
process for each of your children.
If you are registering as a new family, instead of
clicking on the arrow, click on register a fallen
hero and follow the forms.
SBE is excited to see you in Dallas on December
9.
Families: please begin the sign up for SBE VI.
If you would like to volunteer with Gold Star Wives
you must be a member in good standing.
Contact – as soon as possible – one of the
Coordinators below if you wish to help “Family
Coordinate” (working directly with Falllen Hero
Families under SBE direction); or be a “Greeter”/
Point of Contact for one of the 28 American Airline
Chartered Cities, Help at Non Chartered Cities to
Greet a Family or two departing for SBE VI or be
a part of the Support Team that Travels to the 5
day Event (two days of travel, 3 days at the Event,
there are guidelines to follow for being a member
of the Support Team and with budget cuts some
R
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is
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n
N
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PAGE 13
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AROUND THE COUNTRY
PAGE 14
www.goldstarwives.org
REGION UPDATES
New England Region
The New England Region has begun this year with 4
members attending the 66th National Convention and
having a wonderful and productive time in St. Louis,
MO. It occurred to me at the Memorial Service that we
are once again called upon to support our newer widows
in more ways than we remember on a daily basis. My
heart was drawn back to those early days when it was so
diIfcult to move Iorward step by tiny step and everything
seemed like an effort. Our young members have a certain
“spunk” that I don’t remember having, and I hope it is, in
part, because we are here to help them and support them
in their times of need. I hope that as individuals, we will
continue to reach out to those new widows, whether from
the Agent Orange war or the War on Terror.
Our Region had its frst organizational meeting in New
Hampshire this past July. We had 3 Chapter Presidents,
our Region President, Secretary, Treasurer, Chaplain and
Parliamentarian in attendance. Also, 2 Members At Large,
one of whom missed us, but certainly made the attempt
to attend. The other has been a member for many years
and this was her frst meeting ever. We were all happy to
meet her. We had a great deal to talk about and agreed to
meet again in Freeport, Maine on September 10 in order
to participate in the 9/11 events there as a group. The
Freeport Flag Ladies have a whole weekend of events
planned and since they supported us at our last conference,
we hope to support them in their endeavors. They actually
brought in a piece of the metal from the Twin Towers
and will be dedicating that Memorial on Sunday 9/11/11.
www.Ireeportfagladies.com
At Convention it was decided that we are able to sell the
vases and scarves as fund raising events, so if anyone would
like either the folding vase or the gold Pasmina with the
Gold Star Wives Logo, please email Star7551@aol.com.
The vases are $5.oo and the scarf $30.oo. New England
Region also has a few noteworthy events coming up.
CT fallen Heroes Foundation is honoring GSW members
in a Tribute to 7 New England Fallen Heroes on Sept. 24th
at noon. Ronald William Cardona is one of the Honorees.
Ronald Howard will also be remembered at that event. All are
welcome to attend at no cost and lunch will also be free.
The Connecticut Trolley Museum in East Windsor is
sponsoring a Gold Star Wives Day on October 9, 2011. Gold
Star Wives and their children/grandchildren will be admitted
free to enjoy a trolley ride, the Pumpkin Patch event, face
painting and games, lunch and then another trolley ride.
Hopefully we will be eating in the dining car and there will
be a volunteer to take children on the trolley rides while the
mothers/grandmothers can sit together and chat if they so
desire. This is Columbus Day weekend, so you will have
an extra day to recuperate and travel home. We need RSVP
notes to the above email asap in order to provide an accurate
number for lunches. This is an all day event.
One of our goals for the New England Region is member
retention. We are hoping to be able to make more frequent
contact with our current members and hopefully increase
membership as a result of increased activity. If you are a
New England Region Member and have an email, please
send it to me at the above address. We would love to
contact you in your preferred manner.
Submitted bv Kat Blamire Cardona
New England Region President
Gold Star Wife and Gold Star Mother receive
black berets from the President of Charlie Rangers
Association. Rex Sherman and Ronald Cardona
served in the C75 Rangers in 1968 and 1969. Both
were killed in action and are honored each vear
at the Ranger Reunions. American Gold Star
Mother Ann Sherman Wolcott and Gold Star Wife
Kathleen Cardona are recruiting photos of those
whose names are on the Jietnam Memorial Wall in
Washington DC. The photos and a biographv will
be placed in the Education Center at The Wall.
PAGE 15
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...continued on page 20...
Southeast Region
Southwest Region
As the newly elected SW Region President I would like
to thank all the members from the region who went to the
National Convention in St. Louis. I understand they all
Las Jegas Installation
Southeast
Conference
Memorial Dav 2011, Gold Star Salute to the
Fallen. SE Region President Alice Phillips
and Rachel Clinkscale placing the wreath.
Memorial Dav 2011, Peggv Bourland and sons,
Chance, Andrew, Charlie placing a rose for Ken
Bourland at the Fallen Comrade Memorial.
Southeast Region, Birmingham Chapter, Flag
Placing for Memorial Dav. Peggv Bourland
and two of her sons, Andrew and Charlie.
Peggv Bourland and Judv Woodall, June 10, 2011
at Post 668 JFW Banquet.
Peggv had the photo board made of our photos
and we gave out information about GSW.
PAGE 16
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...continued from page 19...
had a wonderful time at the meetings as well as the City
Tour and Hannibal, MO.
Congratulations to the following SW members who were
elected National OIfcers: Jeanette Early, Pres; Betty
Crawford, Treasurer and Janet Snyder, Chaplain. Debra
Kraus was elected to the National Board and will be the
Public Relations and Historical Archivist. Chair.
SW would like to take a moment and remember the 77
members who died this year each were remembered at
Convention. Yet right after conference one of our very
active members who all of you know died end of June:
Eunice Farris, San Diego Treasurer and National Chair of
Supplies. There were 17 GSW members who attended
her service. Eunice will be missed by all of us who knew
her. The family asked if you would like to do an “In
Memory to her “to please send a donation to Bonnie Craig
President of San Diego Chapter. (See yellow directory for
address) A new supply oIfcer has been selected. Please
be patient and give Judith Woodall (Birmingham Chapter)
your cooperation, she will be up and running we hope by
end oI September. Your orders will be flled as soon as
possible.
On June 2, in Las Vegas, Nevada, Kit Frazer, Nat’l President
installed the new oIfcers oI the Las Vegas Valley Chapter.
Jeanette Early pinned the new oIfcers. Other SW Region
or National OIfcers in attendance were: Kathy Upchurch,
Outgoing SW President, Betty Crawford SW Region and
Nat’l Treasurer, Carol Ellinger SW Region Historian and
National Board Chapter/Region Liaison Chair and Ada
McArthur SW Parliamentarian. See the Picture below of
the new oIfcers. There were over 60 people who attended
the Installation Ceremony. They had an impressive array
oI recognition letters/certifcates Irom Senator Harry Reid,
Congressman Joe Heck, Congresswoman Shelly Berkley
and State Senator Steven Horsford. Congratulations, Las
Vegas Valley.
Six Gold Star Wives were invited to a MOAA luncheon
at the USMC Miramar OIfcer`s Club on July 9, 2011,
with special recognition to Kathy Upchurch, GSW and
also Tony Codero, President of the Sons and Daughter
in Touch, for their extensive efforts in supporting the
survivors of the fallen heroes.
Debra Kraus was invited present information on Agent
Orange in Vietnam during our Convention look for her
report in Region Newsletter.
Jenn Tullis (MAL North County) will be attending the
TAPS Alaska trip along with Salina Jimenez (Golden
State VP) end of August, the are both new TAPS Peer
Mentors. Both are runners and will be running in the
Marine Corps 10K in DC and just fnished the San Diego
Rock and Roll Marathon. Salina just returned from China
running a race to “Remembering our Fallen Heroes”. If
you are interested in Running with these ladies, please
contact Salina (salina005@yahoo.com)
Phoenix Chapter still is selling 10” GSW Patches for
Sweatshirts, Vests etc $15.00. Maize Polo Shirts w/logo
@$31.00 plus mailing; Purple Hooded Sweatshirts w/
logo $35.00 plus mailing. Contact Kathy Upchurch 602
799 0240, ksupchur@cox.net.
Respectfullv Lorna Kennev, SW Region President
1931-2011
Gold Star Wives Supplies Ofhcer
Eunice will be forever missed bv
her friends and the members she
served in Gold Star Wives.
Jenn Tullis
MOAA luncheon
PAGE 17
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NATIONAL CHAPLAIN
It is an honor to be elected as National Chaplain. My name is Janet Snyder. I am President and Historian
of the Las Vegas Valley Chapter of GSW, which is part of the South West Region. My husband, Thomas
Edison Snyder, US Army, passed away on October 23, 2010, due to effects of Agent Orange during
service in Vietnam (1969 - 1970). I joined GSW in December 2010. We had the frst meeting and
election oI oIfcers Ior the Las Vegas Valley Chapter on February 17, 2011. On June 2, 2011 we had
our Installation oI OIfcers Ceremony and charter presentation.
This is a photo of me. Several people have told me that I look similar to the Dalai Lama. What do you think? He
has taught us the importance of laughter, and living simply and sincerely. One of my favorite quotes: “This is my
simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is
our temple; the philosophy is kindness.” -- Dalai Lama
Although our beloved spouses and dear friends are no longer physically with us, their souls - the spirit that never dies
- remain with us, to inspire all of us, so that we may heal ourselves, to go forth and heal the world.
The following members passed away since May 31, 2011:
ALBANY: BETTYE L WHITE
AZALEA: DIANE BRIGGS
CASTLE: HENRIETTA CHAMPION
CHANNEL IS: PAULINE P OSKINS
FLAMINGO: BETTY W COMBEE
GREATER BOSTON: VIRGINIA M HURLEY
GREATER BOSTON: MARGARET T HYDER
HOLLYBUSH: MARY S CURRY
HOLLYBUSH: GERALDINE HARRISON
HOLLYBUSH: VIOLET K SMITH
LA PETITE ROCHE: MARJORIE R HUBBARD
MID ATLANTIC: EMILY W WILMOT
MID WEST: MILDRED L FONTANA
MID WEST: ILEAN WELCH
MINNEAPOLIS: CAROLYN E LINNER
NEW ENGLAND: VARGIE THOMPSON
NORTH CENTRAL: PAULINE MCKITTRICK
NORTH CENTRAL: OLGA A TIEMAN
NORTH WEST: HELEN V MCKILLIP
NORTH WEST: BARBARA MECCA
OMAHA: MARILYN M SLATTERY
PALMETTO: KATHLEEN R HOLBERT
PATRIOT: ANNA MCCARTHY
PHOENIX: MAE I BERTRAM
PHOENIX: MAE E ZYNDA
POTOMAC: MARY LACEY NOHRDEN
SAN DIEGO: PATRICIA A ALEXANDER
SAN DIEGO: EUNICE C FARRIS
SOUTH CENTRAL: ESTHER R BONNAR
SOUTH CENTRAL: SUSANNA J ENGLISH
SOUTH CENTRAL: CECELIA M HARVEY
SOUTH CENTRAL: BETTY J NORVELL
SOUTH CENTRAL: OPAL RUSSELL
SOUTH CENTRAL: LILLIAN H ZARWELL
SOUTH EAST: CLARA V DENNISON
SOUTH EAST: FLORENCE M GIBSON
SOUTH EAST: MARY J HUGHES
SOUTH EAST: JANE S LYON
SOUTH EAST: MILDRED E ROUSHIA
SOUTH EAST: MARJORIE A TRENT
SOUTH WEST: JEAN L CIRIACKS
SOUTH WEST: FLORENCE DE LA VALLIERE
SOUTH WEST: JOAN GOODNIGHT
SOUTH WEST: FLORA LEVAUGH
SOUTH WEST: LILLIAN A SARTOR
SOUTH WEST: JO ANNE WALTZ
SUNCOAST: CLEAVY D BRASS
SUNCOAST: ETHELANNA B NEUER
SUNCOAST: NANCY M TAYLOR
SUNCOAST: OLGA ZUKOWSKI
TUCSON: BEATRICE A ARCH
Janet Snvder
National Chaplain
(702) 227-6566
groundhog71¸gmail.com
PAGE 18
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Greetings ladies. I know those who went to St. Louis are
exhausted from a wonderful time at convention. Jamie
Tomek did an excellent job, and we all appreciate it.
One of the fastest growing services being developed
throughout the VA is the “Baby Shower” for women
veterans. The average age of veterans has dropped from
60 to 40. The 20 to 30 group is growing even faster. The
post menopausal retired women are no longer the average
veteran. Many of our veterans are in their reproductive
time of life. Some pregnant veterans are single or part of
a duel military couple, with the father stationed abroad.
These women are usually below the income level, if they
are coming to the VA to received services. Many times
these women are alone without Iamily support or fnancial
resources.
I was informed that the VA in Dayton, Ohio will be starting
their program this fall. There are 23 veterans that would
be eligible between June and January 2012. It would be
the veteran’s decision whether they would like someone
to contact them during their pregnancy. The items for
the shower, such as diapers, wipes, and other basics for a
new born are donated by different organizations.
VAVS NOTES
I would like to thank all of you for your reports, and
donating your time, money or goods. It is very important
that we continue our donations. This year we increased
our monetary value by $43,000. Great job!!
You can also contact your Voluntary Service at your VA
to see if you can assist them by making calls. You can
establish volunteer hours that way, without even leaving
your home.
Once again I thank all of vou for your efforts.
As we move forward, I leave you with this quote;
“We must scrupulously guard the civil rights and civil
liberties of all citizens, whatever their background. We
must remember that any oppression, any injustice, any
hatred, is a wedge designed to attack our civilization”
~Franklin D. Roosevelt
Audrev Easterling
JAJS National & Certifving Ofhcer
7000 Kinsev RD
Englewood, OH 45322
Phone 937-836-9005
Email Its4uaudrev¸vahoo.com
GSW SUPPLIES OFFICER
Judy Woodall is the new Supplies OIfcer Ior GSW.
Her phone number is (205) 523-GSWS or (205) 523-4797.
PAGE 19
www.goldstarwives.org
Name _________________________________________________
Address _______________________________________________
City, State and Zip _______________________________________
Phone_________________________________________________
Chapter or Member-at-Large ______________________________
Change of Address Form
If your address has changed, or will be changing soon, please fill
in your new address and send this entire page to:
Gold Star Wives of America, Inc.
PO Box 361986
Birmingham, AL 35236
Editor contact info:
Corinna Gibson-Ashmead
email: cgibsonashmead@yahoo.com
Please send newsletter submissions to Birmingham GSW oIfce.
The Gold Star Wives of America, Inc. Newsletter is published
each March, June, September, and December by Gold Star
Wives of America, Inc., P.O. Box 361986, Birmingham, AL
35236. Annual Dues are $25.
To submit articles or pictures: Information may be mailed
to the above address, emailed to info@goldstarwives.org,
or faxed to 205-823-2760. Articles may be edited and all
articles may not be used. Pictures will not be returned unless
a self-addressed and stamped envelope is included with your
picture and “Please Return” is written on the back of the
picture. Pictures should include a written (preferably typed)
caption. Please include names in order from left to right.
We ask that any article sent to us for publication be typed and
make sure the content is in proper form. It is not our policy
to correct grammar, spelling, sentence structure, etc. On oc-
casion, we may ask that you shorten your article as we only
have a certain amount oI space and we try to ft all pictures
and articles in that amount of space. If you are quoting from
another article please give credit to the original article.
GSW Email Groups
Information Group — Receive messages from GSW for issues that affect members or the organization. To join, email gswmoderator@verizon.net and
include your name (to verify membership). This board is gswinfo@yahoogroups.com
Post 9-11-2001 Group — “Message board” that GSW sponsors for those whose spouses died on or after 9-11-2001. To join, email gswmoderator@verizon.
net and include your name and the circumstances of your spouse’s death. This board is gswamerica@yahoogroups.com.
Members Group — “Message board” for all members. To join, email gswmoderator@verizon.net and include your name (to verify membership).
Notice to Family Members — Upon the death of a member, please send a notice to the address below or call 1-888-751-6350 or email info@goldstarwives.
org so that the chapter/region can be notified and the member can be included in GSW’s Memorial Service at the National Convention.
Raise money for Gold Star Wives of America, Inc. (Military Survivors) by searching the Internet via GoodSearch at www.goodsearch.com — powered by
Yahoo. Just enter Gold Star Wives in the “Who do you Search For” fieldbox.
COLOR THE HILL GOLD
PAGE 20
www.goldstarwives.org
Gold Star Wives of America, Inc.
PO Box 361986
Birmingham, AL 35236
Address Service Requested
NONPROFIT ORG.
U.S. POSTAGE
PAID
BIRMINGHAM, AL
PERMIT NO. 2438
GSW Thanks Our
2011 Convention Sponsors
SPECTRUM
HEALTHCARE RESOURCES
www.spectrumhealth.com
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