From their own service and the stories of those they support through the organization, members of Collegedale's American Legion Desmond T. Doss Post 257 know both first- and secondhand some of the struggles military families face. The post recently recognized seven local mothers whose children are currently on active duty.
"There is no better way to celebrate our ninth anniversary than to celebrate the families of those defending the Constitution against all enemies," said post member and former Cmdr. Jan Haluska. "The parents, spouses, children and others bound by love also share in their obligation and some of the sacrifices."
The group awarded six blue stars and one silver star to the following mothers: Sharon Erickson, mother of United States Air Force Staff Sgt. Jeff Erickson; Sarah Fisher, mother of United States Air Force Staff Sgt. Michael Fisher; Ruth Ann Glimore, mother of United States Army Pvt. Mitchell Gilmore; Barbara Granada, mother of United States Army Ranger Pfc. Zenaida Granada and ROTC cadet Jorge Granada; Janice Lyons, mother of United States Army 82nd Airborne Division Pfc. William D. Lyons; Laurie Minner, mother of United States Army Pfc. Caleb Minner; and Catherine Smith, mother of United States Army Specialist 4th in the 82nd Airborne Class Andrew Smith.
From lighthearted childhood stories to an emotional standing round of applause for the family of Andrew Smith, who was severely injured by a roadside bomb just two weeks after he deployed, the presentation at Garden Plaza was a reflection of the American Legion's mission.
The four pillars of that mission, as stated by American Legion 3rd District Cmdr. Dennis Smith, are to foster strong national security, mentor youth, take care of veterans and promote patriotism and honor.
"Post 257 hopes to eventually start a scholarship for veterans, wives of veterans or veteran children," he said.
With approximately 80 active members, the post meets the third Thursday of each month at Collegedale City Hall at 7 p.m. with a dinner at 6 p.m. For more information visit www.collegedale-americanlegion.org.