The local chapter of a military support organization held a fundraiser Saturday to send condolence packages to the families of the 18 total service members killed around the world in the last week.
The Military Mamas Network regularly sends care packages to soldiers deployed overseas, but local Chapter Leader Kandace McFarland said some young people involved with the organization first had this idea.
“We originally were going to do it to send care packages overseas to troops, which we do all the time,” McFarland said. “But then, in light of the tragedy in Mississippi, they decided that they wanted to send condolence packages for the service members that were lost this week.”
McFarland referred to an incident in Mississippi that occurred July 10, in which a KC-130 aircraft crashed in Mississippi while en route from North Carolina, resulting in the death of 15 Marines and one Navy service member. The additional two deaths occurred overseas.
“There were 18 we lost this week,” McFarland said. “We don’t want to forget the two that we lost overseas. We’re including everybody. So we’re trying to raise enough money to send 18 condolence packages to the families of service members who have lost their lives in the line of duty.”
McFarland said the condolence packages will contain cards signed by members of the local community and additional memorial items, depending on the amount of money raised.
“It’s to let the family know that there’s still people out there that care about the military,” she said. “And we’re here for them no matter what. They might not know us and we might not ever meet them, but we’re still here for them.”
McFarland said the efforts are a way of paying it forward, because she has a child who is currently serving in the military. She said the thought that there are other groups around the nation who might send her son a care package is comforting.
Members of the organization were up late Friday night and back at early Saturday morning to get the goods baked that would be sold at the Farmer’s Market area in Park Hills. McFarland said the efforts that started with kids of the organization are also good for those same kids, in keeping them involved in patriotic support.
“We try to keep our kids and grandkids involved in all sorts of patriotic things,” McFarland said. “We’re also members of the VFW and Patriot Guard. With the VFW we go to schools and teach kids the Pledge of Allegiance or how to fold flags.”
McFarland added that the education and awareness work done by Military Mamas isn’t just for kids, but also for adults who aren’t exposed to the realities of being in a military family.
“A lot of people don’t know what a blue star, silver star or gold star means,” McFarland said. “To be a blue star family means you have a loved one actively serving. Silver star means your loved one has been injured and gold star means that the loved one has passed in the line of duty.”
For those who missed the bake sale, donations are always accepted by the Military Mamas organization.
“There’s always a need for donations because there’s always a need for care packages to be sent overseas,” McFarland said.
For more information about Military Mamas or to make a donation, contact McFarland at 573-915-6015 or co-leader Teresa Barnhouse at 573-366-6186.