Blue Star Moms

Brenda Searle-Sung, president of Blue Star Moms of the Southwest, holds up an example banner during a meeting at the Banner Olive Branch Senior Center earlier this week. Each blue star represents a family member deployed in the United States military.

Dave Martinez/Daily News-Sun

For military mothers Brenda Searle-Sung and Theresa Koontz, every member of the military, either past or present, is one of their children.

As part of the organization Blue Star Moms of the Southwest Valley, the women send up to 60 care packages to overseas troops containing much-needed supplies and items with a more personal motherly touch like knitted hats.

Searle-Sung and Koontz spoke to members of the Banner Olive Branch Senior Center on Tuesday not only about their work with Blue Star Moms, but also about their own children serving in Afghanistan. Searle-Sung’s son is a Marine, while Koontz’s daughter is an Army combat medic.

The Blue Star Moms organization, which has chapters nationwide, is represented by a red banner with a white square and blue star in the center, with the red symbolizing pride, and the blue representing hope, Searle-Sung said.

“If you see this hanging, you know that someone has a dear one far, far from home,” she said.

The Southwest Valley chapter represents mothers from local cities like Surprise, Litchfield Park and Peoria, but also stretches from Ajo, to Buckeye and Phoenix.

“A lot of the things we do, we try to reach out into the community,” Koontz said, adding the organization also assists families of service men and women. “We’re constantly, constantly doing events and assisting our veterans.”

One of the most important aspects of Blue Star Moms, the women said, is making sure American troops do not feel like the people at home have forgotten about them. With government cutbacks, Searle-Sung said some units are not getting the supplies they need.

“That’s where us moms come in,” she said.

The women said they are always looking for protein, like peanut butter, chicken, or tuna, to fill the boxes, as well as personal care items like toilet paper and eye drops.

For more information about the Blue Star Moms, visit BlueStarMomsoftheSWValley.org. Donations to the 5013c organization are tax-deductible.

In two examples, Searle-Sung said one unit had requested a box of nuts and bolts to fix their vehicles, while another asked for sheets to hang in the triage unit to offer privacy for the wounded — the moms went one step beyond that by decorating the sheets with the American flag and messages of thanks.

“We will step up to the plate if something needs to be done.” Koontz added.

Searle-Sung and Koontz left a box at Olive Branch to fill with items for the troops.

The women said they are always looking for protein, like peanut butter, chicken, or tuna, to fill the boxes, as well as personal care items like toilet paper and eye drops.

“They say it takes a village, but it’s going to take a country to make sure these troops are not forgotten,” Searle-Sung said.

“I hope you appreciate what the Blue Star Moms are doing today,” said Olive Branch director Ivy Shirley. “Also, don’t forget the holidays are coming up, this is a great way to give back.”

For more information about the Blue Star Moms, visit BlueStarMomsoftheSWValley.org. Donations to the 5013c organization are tax-deductible.

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