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Blue Star Mothers invite public to hear soldier who served in Afghanistan

By Joni Averill

Although they are few in number, they are very active, determined and always looking for other individuals who are in their situation to join them.

Lanta Hashey of Old Town is president of the Blue Star Mothers Chapter 1 of Bangor, which is part of a national organization of mothers who have, or had, sons and/or daughters serving honorably in U.S. military forces.

Last year, for the first time, this Blue Star Mothers chapter opened one of its meetings to the public, with great success, and it is offering that opportunity once again.

A presentation Lanta called “Personal Experiences by our Military Heroes” is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, April 14, at Maine Veterans Home, 44 Hogan Road in Bangor.

Everyone is invited to attend.

The guest speaker will be Spc. Joshua Tilton of Bangor, who recently returned to the United States with fellow members of the Maine Army National Guard’s 1136th Transportation Company after a tour of duty in Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Lanta told me that Tilton is a 2006 graduate of Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln, and that he is currently  pursuing a dual degree in criminal justice and psychology at Husson University in Bangor.

The group is looking forward to this second public presentation, which also will feature remarks by representatives of other organizations related to the military.

The event will include a question-and-answer session as well, and light refreshments will be served.

One of the main purposes of these public meetings, Lanta told me, is “to honor our veterans” and recognize their service.

Lanta also said that Blue Star Mothers in Maine, which includes Chapter 2 serving southern Maine, are trying to recruit new members, and she stressed that fathers are as welcome to join as mothers.

“We’ve gained a few new members during the year,” she said, “and we’re still packing boxes (to be mailed to troops serving at home or abroad) so if anyone had any addresses, they can always call me with that.”

Lanta said this Blue Star Mothers chapter meets regularly and puts together care packages for members of the military for whom they have addresses.

“We can accommodate more,” Lanta said of the group’s willingness to add new names to its current list.

The care packages usually include much-needed personal items.

“We send everything from socks to pillowcases, soap, powder, writing materials” and other items that could be difficult, or nearly impossible to find, especially for troops serving in far-off lands.

Lanta also told me that membership in Blue Star Mothers has been increasing, statewide, thanks to a cooperative effort between her organization and members of local American Legion posts throughout the state.

“The American Legion posts in the area are trying to band together with us and, if that continues, I think we will continue to grow,” she added.

And while Lanta does not currently have an email address, she is most willing to have you call her, at any time, and leave a message if she is not available.

Her phone number is 827-3336 or write to her at 10 Stillwater Ave., Old Town 04468 and she would be happy to discuss the work of Blue Star Mothers not only in Maine, but throughout the United States.

For information about the national organization, visit http://www.bluestarmothers.org.

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

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