Around the same time, though, Thacker discovered Blue Star Mothers of America, an organization that provides support to mothers with children in the military. She attended a meeting at a chapter in Sweetwater, Tennessee, and soon decided to start one closer to home.
With five members already in place, the new local chapter, called Blue Star Moms of the Tri-Cities, is off to a good start. Thacker, president and one of the founders of the local chapter, is now inviting new members to join, with an opportunity to do so coming up on Tuesday.
“If I had had the chapter here when he (my son) left, I think I would’ve been a whole lot better, because I would’ve had that support system here,” Thacker said. “So that’s one of the biggest things that I have been pushing for is putting one here. … This area really needed it, not just for me but for the other moms in the area.”
Though the Tri-Cities chapter is new, the national organization began in 1942 as the result of a newspaper ad for mothers of troops.
“After getting 1,000 responses to the ad, they decided to form a permanent organization; that was in Flint, Michigan,” Thacker said. “In June of 1960, the organization was chartered by Congress, so this has been around for years.”
What will the group do?
Thacker said the chapter will not only act as a support system for the mothers, but also for current and former military members. The group will send care packages to deployed troops and will support local veterans, including those at the VA Medical Center in Johnson City.
“That’s our main goal is to support the military,” Thacker said, “whether it’s the troops overseas or the people at home.”
How can you join?
The local chapter will be officially chartered at a ceremony on Tuesday, March 10, at 6 p.m. at The Fort Church, located at 2012 Fort Robinson Drive in Kingsport. The past national president of the organization is coming to establish group members and board members, Thacker said, and Maj. Steven Bickford of Volunteer High School’s Navy JROTC will present the colors.
Thacker said that meeting would be a good opportunity for prospective members to join. Membership dues are $30 a year, with those funds being divided between the local chapter and the national organization.
Those who aren’t able to attend Tuesday’s meeting can still join by contacting Thacker at (423) 707-8436. After this month, meetings will be held every first Tuesday of the month at 5:30 p.m. at The Fort Church.
Those who aren’t mothers can still be part of the organization as an associate, meaning they don’t have to pay dues but are not able to vote on chapter matters, Thacker added.
“This group was more of a calling for me,” Thacker said, “because it was something that I felt like I needed, and I know I’m not the only person that needs that.”
More information about the local chapter, including upcoming fundraisers, can be found on the group’s Facebook page, @BluestarmomsoftheTriCitiesTN6. Messages can be sent to m.me/BluestarmomsoftheTriCitiesTN6. To learn more, visit www.bluestarmothers.org.