LAKEVIEW — The Blue Star Mothers, Chapter MI-188, has performed many important public service activities throughout the years. Many are geared toward providing aid for soldiers serving overseas; other provide support for veterans close to home.
The chapter hosts clothing drives, produces activities at the veteran’s facility in Grand Rapids, and puts together care packages for active military personnel. Just as importantly, the group provides support to mothers whose sons and daughters are performing military service far from home.
On Saturday, March 29, the Blue Star Mothers are hosting an event to help fund their yearlong activities. From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Lakeview VFW Hough-Pontius Post No. 3701, the club presents its First Annual Lakeview Area Spring Fling.
According to club Vice President Kathy Barnes, who helped organize the event, the club decided to add the “first annual” connotation because of the overwhelmingly positive response the event has thus far garnered.
“(All the vendors) we’ve contacted said we could contact them again,” Barnes said. “We have sent out about 35 registrations and a good number of those have already come back.”
Vendor feedback has been so good, in fact, that the club plans to host a second, similar event on April 19 at the Greenville American Legion Post.
“We will have different vendors and crafters come in and sell their wares,” Barnes said. “We’re also doing a silent auction with all proceeds going to the mission of the Blue Star Mothers.”
Club President Deann Oliver understand the importance of the group’s mission. When her son, Mitchell, joined the U.S. Army, Oliver felt she had no one in her life who truly understood the angst she was feeling over Mitchell’s departure.
“I wasn’t military, so I didn’t know how to handle it,” Oliver said. “I didn’t know what to do. I was kind of torn. I wanted to give him 110 percent support; it breaks your heart and at the same time you’re proud. I can’t help but have a quiet pride for what he’s doing.”
Finding the Blue Star Mothers was a true boon for Oliver. Finally, there were others with whom she could commiserate, new friends who truly understood exactly what she was going through.
Oliver’s story is one that is repeated thousands of times each year, which is why the Blue Star Mother’s mission is so critical, and why fundraisers like the Spring Fling are so important.
Many area businesses have donated items to the silent auction. Admission to the event is free, however the club requests that those attending bring a donation of a bag of Easter candy. The candy will be put in plastic eggs and sent to troops serving in Afghanistan. All who donate a bag of candy will receive a ticket for a door prize drawing to be held at 2:30 p.m.
For more information, contact Barnes at (989) 814-0650.