Local Moms Ask for Community's Help in Reaching MC Soldiers

Friday, July 7, 2006

Devoted mothers Barbara Blackmore and Sandy Wakham have been struggling to develop a way for the families of local servicemen and women to be able to come together to put forth much needed group support for the nation's soldiers as well as a support group for each other.

When Wakham's son Christopher was stationed in Oklahoma to complete his combat retraining before going overseas for the second time since the commencement of the war, he had told her about an organization called the Blue Star Mothers.

The Blue Star Mothers is a national organization that is made up of many different chapters. The goal for the Stars is much like the one that Blackmore and Wakham have in mind, to form an outlet for mothers with sons and daughters in the military to express their concerns and overall support.

According to an article published by the United States Department of Defense, the Blue Star Mothers have been successful in their quests since the organization's formation in 1942. Ironically, BSM was not founded by a mother, but by an Army Captain by the name of George H. Maines. His concern for mothers of servicemen, led him to have an article published in a Flint, Michigan newspaper. He requested information about all of the children in that area who were serving in the United States armed forces. To his amazement 'more than 1,000 mothers responded'.

Some of the first chapters included states such as, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Oregon, Iowa, Washington, Hawaii, Pennsylvania and New York.

Nationwide membership averages are currently at an all time low. Today, there are only 1,200 BSM members nationwide. During World War II, BSM national membership was respectively at 30,000.

Blackmore and Wakham are interested in raising that number by starting a Marshall County, Tennessee chapter of BSM. They are now working on all of the preliminary procedures.

"It takes a lot of time and effort to get a chapter started, and we don't know if we will be able to accomplish that goal, but we are interested in trying," said Wakham.

The two mothers are following in the footsteps of predecessor, Captain Maines, by gaining the help of the Marshall County Tribune to formally request that any Marshall County mothers or fathers who are interested in sharing their children's stories of their military lives and hardships to come forward and consider helping to bring the support and power of a nationwide organization such as the Blue Star Mothers to Marshall County.

"We need to be here for each other during this time. I know I would be willing to give support to any fellow parent in the community. I have been through the agony of having a child go over seas to fight more than once now, and I am learning how to cope," said Wakham.

The following list of Marshall County sons and daughters, who are currently serving in the United States armed forces, was compiled by Blackmore and Wakham. For those who are interested in adding names to the list and joining the cause, please contact Barbara Blackmore at 359-2135 or email mrsbakemore@yahoo.com or Sandy Wakham at 359-1845 or email wakhamj@bellsouth.net.