2018-19 National President
Acceptance Speech-June 24, 2018
Today I have been entrusted with a great responsibility and one that I do not take lightly. I am truly honored to be your National President for the next year. With your help, I know that we will all have a successful year, fulfilling our Mission.
I have many people to thank for helping me along my walk as a Gold Star Mother. The confidence and support I have received has touched my heart and given me hope and encouraged me along the way.
First, I want to thank my fellow New Mexico Gold Star Mothers. Our Albuquerque Chapter is hardworking and supportive and has shown me what American Gold Star Mothers, Inc. was all about. There were four Vietnam Moms who were holding the chapter together. Florence Williams, Carmen Lopez, Hilde Casario and Mary Teater were examples to me that I could have a full life and continue to move forward, even though my heart was broken from the death of my son, Todd. Mary Teater served as National President from 1981 to 1982 and Florence Williams served as her Secretary.
I want to thank all the members of the Albuquerque Chapter, Department of New Mexico for their support-especially Pat Merville, Kay Coleman and Karen Alexander who are here today. Pat and I went to our first National Convention, together, in Wichita, Kansas, not really knowing what to expect but coming away with new friends, strength and hope.
I have been privileged to serve on the National Executive Board with the following Presidents: Norma Luther, Mary Byers, Barb Bernard, Jennifer Jackman, Cindy Kruger, Candy Martin and Sue Pollard. Thank you all for your leadership and friendship. I also want to thank Emogene Cupp, Terry Davis and Georgie Carter-Krell for your example and wisdom.
Sue, thank you and the California moms for a tremendous Convention. How special to hold our Memorial Service and Installation here at the Manor. Thank you Terry, Glen, Beth Ann and the members of the Manor and Home Board for all you have done for us and for this Convention.
I have served with many board members and I appreciate each of you. I especially want to thank the National Executive Board of this past year. Your positive commitment to our wonderful organization and your strong work ethic make me proud. It has been a great year full of joy, friendship, hard work, hope and grace.
I would never be able to stand before you in this position without my family and their support. My sons, Matt and Will and my daughter-in-laws Rachel and Erica help me in any way they can. My son-in-law, Keith cannot be thanked enough and my grandchildren, Jordan, Abigail and Todd inspire me. Thank you, also, Nancy Smith, Erica’s Mother. Brad, I want to especially thank you for always supporting me in all my endeavors. We are a Gold Star family and together we are strong as we remember Todd and all our Fallen, help Veterans and our active military. I also want to thank our close friends who are here, the Vowels and Bowmans. Tara and Justin Vowels served with Erica and Todd at Ft. Hood and they were very close friends, as they remain today. Tara’s parents, Steve and Caryl Bowman have also become close friends to us and they, along with the Vowels children, Colton Todd and Aubrey Hazel, are here with us. Another special guest that I have here is Jesse Mancini, who surprised us by being here today. Jesse also served with Todd at Ft. Hood.
Our Mission continues and there is much work to be done. I can assure you that this newly elected board is up for the work ahead. This National Executive Board is made up of some of the finest women I know. They work tirelessly and will continue to do so, I am sure. Last year Sue challenged us with the focus on Military Suicide Awareness. We will continue this mission this year, for as we all know, we are not through as long as there is one military suicide. We will again hold a Walk-A-Thon in September in Washington, D.C. on Gold Star Mothers Weekend to raise money for service dogs to help in this effort. I challenge each of you to organize or participate in a 2.2 mile walk at least once this next year. We must continue to remind our Nation of the sacrifice of our Military and their Families. We must remind our citizens to never forget our Veterans and our active military.
I am just one Mom, who comes from a small place in New Mexico but I know that I can make a difference. I also know that each of you can make a difference. I know you have made a difference and I hope you will continue to do so. We are Mothers on a Mission. We are a powerful force! So no matter where we live and no matter where we are from, we can make a difference, just like our beloved children did. Because of them, we continue the mission given to us by our founder and those first few members. Together, we are Mothers on a Mission-A Powerful Force!
I hope we will see all of you in Albuquerque, New Mexico for the 82nd National Convention of American Gold Star Mothers next June.
And now I would like to close with this special blessing.
“May the road rise up to meet you- May the wind be always at your back-May the sun shine warm upon your face, the rains fall soft upon the fields, and until we meet again, May God hold you in the hollow of His Hand.”