10th Year Anniversary
Ten years ago, after sharing the message that they will not be forgotten and in their backpack was a Star such as the one I was holding, WWII veterans and their guardians began their Honor Flight - a trip of a lifetime to Washington DC to see the memorials there.
Ten years ago, the motorcycle riders that escorted those honored guests humbly asked for a Star for themselves and a friend. It was the first time many of them had been thanked for their service and welcomed home from Vietnam. As they realized they could help, they became excited. Flags were offered to continue the project, information to contact a girl scout troop was received. My idea to only share Stars from the 4 flags I had was quickly changed. Stars for our Troops was born!
Our motto “Thanking Those that Served and are Serving” was created. We established a website, a Facebook page, and have been in the media since then. This statement doesn’t stop with our military or veterans. We were thanking first responders before it became a national call. When the pandemic struck, the medical staff on the front lines were given a Star to let them know we thank them for their sacrifice. We also thank the families of our heroes with a Star, so they can look at it and remember their loved one forever.
Recently, we realized we are sharing Stars within the timeline of our patriots. For those going through many Military Courtesy Rooms at airports across the country, they are given a Star to remember those at home that are thinking and praying for them. Those going to basic training informed us the Drill Instructors allow them to keep the Star with them, as they respect the message and the flag. Stars are mailed to our military in greeting cards, through our website with a message from home, and in care packages. Stars are shared with our returning military, those retiring from service and many veterans are given a Star while shopping, etc. We currently are working with “We Honor Veterans”, a national Hospice and VA Hospital Administration, making sure our veterans are given the best care as they prepare for their final days on earth and a Star to carry always.
What will the next 10 years be like? No one can tell, as we had no idea that we would be engaged in so many different aspects when this all came together. Currently, we have over 250 Star Makers across the country. Of those, 12 have been with us prior to Jan 2014. Many thanks for your continued support and encouragement over these years. Some have retired to become official distributors of Stars rather than create them. A few local Star Makers that have been with us since volunteering in November 2010. Their support saved us when the Reuters article appeared on the internet over Memorial Day weekend 2013, and we were flooded with requests for Stars, Star Maker Kits, questions and then the flags arrived from across the country.
The goal now is to get everything together in one space. Susan’s idea would be an area that has room for tables for Star Parties, an office area, and storage for supplies, etc. including a stack-able washer/dryer to clean the cantons. Included would be an area for a refrigerator, microwave, and coffee pot, so people can stop in to have a cup of coffee or tea and talk or work on the Stars, etc. It would be an ideal place for those needing community service time to help - update the website, fill orders, etc. Safe parking is needed for at least 10 cars. Easy access for those with wheelchairs and walkers to enter easily. In today’s world, a space with this brief description might be available alone or working with another organization or business where we complement each other and share expenses.
You know our history and our new goal, but we need your help to make this happen. A big celebration is not reasonable because of COVID-19, and where would we have a drive-thru fundraiser?
We are asking for your help in three ways:
1 ~ Would you be willing to donate $10 to help us establish our new home? Use the PayPal Anniversary Link. Checks are also appreciated. 2 ~ Our need for 3’ x 5’ flags with embroidered Stars has grown. We are now averaging 250 flags a month for Star orders and kits. In 2013, we averaged 150 flags a month. Can you help locate flags that we can use? Mailing information and handling of the canton is available at the side button.
3 ~ For our friends in the local community - We are doing a search for either a space for our organization to grow or with someone that has room for an organization to share in expenses and space. If they open early, we have our Star Parties from 6 to 8 PM, and our work can be done in the afternoon.
We promise after we find our new home, we will send you an invitation to our Open House.
We have been so lucky over the last few years to have a wonderful group of people locally and across the nation that are creating and sharing the Stars. When the pandemic hit, many new Star Makers were concerned as they couldn’t share Stars as they had. We always find a way to handle the situation, so Thank You cards were created with a pouched Star inside and these were given to the chaplains in hospitals and to activity directors at nursing homes. Other happy cards were also created for the nursing homes, so everyone received a card.
There is a private Star Maker page on Facebook that helps many connect. Someone gets a cache of cantons that they can share. Someone finds a new place to share Stars, and we appreciate the idea. Some Star Makers have reached out to others in their area and worked together. How wonderful to work with people that realize there is no competition in this project, only support for each other.
Thank you for being part of our 10th Anniversary. You participated as a recipient, a Star Maker, a supporter, or as a friend. Your encouragement, participation, and anticipation of what could be is appreciated and we can’t wait to see what will happen over the next 10 years!
Please sign our guest book - would love to hear your special story from receiving to sharing a Star.