Sending Christmas cheer to troops overseas

By Joni Averill,
Posted Nov. 11, 2010, at 6:05 p.m.

Every day, we should all pause and think of those who serve their country at home and abroad, but the fall and winter holidays, which are so family-centered, give us even more cause to remember our troops.

That is why I was so pleased to hear from members of Blue Star Mothers Chapter 1 of Bangor who have a special event planned that asks nothing more of you than your thoughtful signature.

Roxanne Byron of Milford, secretary of the local Blue Star Mothers chapter, reports the group will hold a Christmas card signing event from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 13, at Macy’s in the Bangor Mall.

The members will have a table set up near the shoe department and are encouraging “everyone to stop by and sign a card,” which will be provided for you, “for a soldier stationed overseas for the holidays,” Roxanne wrote.

If anyone has a family member or friend serving in the military, she said, you are encouraged to bring the address of that soldier so that they can send a card directly to him or her.

Since 2002, I have been writing about this Blue Star Mothers chapter and, in recent years, have addressed my questions about the organization to its president, Lanta Hachey of Old Town, as I did this week.

Lanta told me that the holiday cards you will sign on Saturday came from donations made by Hallmark Cards, Macy’s and its employees.

Lanta’s boss at Macy’s asked each person working at the store to bring in a card, which the store would match, Lanta explained, “and those are the cards we will use.”

She is hopeful they will have them all mailed before Thanksgiving.

“We’ll meet at my house and get them out, because sometimes it takes up to three weeks for the troops to get the cards,” she said.

Officers for this chapter with Lanta and Roxanne are vice president Ellen Celli of Brewer and treasurer Sheila Merrill of Hermon.

The group meets at 7 p.m. the second Monday of each month at the Maine Veterans Home in Bangor, and new members are always welcome.

“We support those who protect us,” Roxanne wrote.

“We are involved in local parades and military events, and the card signing for the holidays is one of our outreach events to have the public get involved.”

Lanta told me that the group would love to have more people participate.

Fathers are welcome and so are individuals who have members of the military who are no longer on active duty, such as Lanta.

Her son, Mo Pollard, recently retired after 32 years in the U.S. Navy, and opened a bed-and-breakfast in Pittsfield.

Lanta believes it is important to keep the group going and doing what it can for people from this area who are serving abroad.

“We send out boxes every month,” she said of gifts that include “pillowcases, helmet liners, toiletries and, this time of year, holiday candy.”

Lanta said the group “is lucky to have a friend, Bev Nadeau, who has been doing a lot of fundraising for us to [help] build up our kitty to get our boxes sent out” because, as Lanta noted, even those sending mail to the military “don’t get a discount.”

Anyone who would like more information about Blue Star Mothers is welcome to ask questions during the card signing Saturday at the mall, or you can call Lanta Hachey at 827-3336 or write her at 10 Stillwater Ave., Old Town, 04468.

Of course, any and all financial donations to this nonprofit organization would be appreciated. You can make out a check to Blue Star Mothers and mail it to Lanta at the address above.

All contributions are greatly appreciated and put to good use for the troops, Lanta said.

“Anybody who helps us is a boost to us.”

Joni Averill, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402; javerill@bangordailynews.com; 990-8288.

http://bangordailynews.com/2010/11/11/news/sending-christmas-cheer-to-troops-overseas/ printed on July 31, 2014