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  • 29 Oct 2020 10:14 AM | Membership Office (Administrator)
    It is open season for Delta Dental - a Gold Star Wives Silver level Sponsor.  Due to COVID, they have had to cut back on in person activities but asked us to share resources with you.  Below are several options for learning more about Delta Dental during this Open Season.
  • 5 Oct 2020 3:35 PM | GSW National Office (Administrator)

    Gold Star Wives of America, Inc. member Mrs. Ada McArthur and GSW Las Vegas Valley Chapter President attended the dedication of a Gold Star Families Memorial Garden in Henderson, NV.

    Ada has been a member of Gold Star Wives for approximately 51 years.  Her husband was killed in action in Vietnam over 52 years ago.   She was a 30 year old widow with 3 children ages 6, 8, and 9. 

    Ada started out as a Member at Large in Oregon for 22 years, in Colorado for 17 years, in Nevada from 2008 until 2011 when she became a Charter Member of the Las Vegas Valley Chapter in 2011. 

    Please click the link below to see Mrs. McArthur's interview that was  broadcast by the local Channel 13 News.

  • 1 Oct 2020 11:41 AM | GSW National Office (Administrator)


    During the 2020 Region Teleconference, members voted to make a generous monetary donation to the GSW National Treasury and in memory of Geraldine Chittick, affectionately known as "Jerry” who was a very active Midwest Region Member-at-Large.  The National President, Nancy Menagh, asked me to write an article about Jerry for members who did not know her.  When I joined GSW in 1985 Jerry was the Legislative Chairman, the Midwest Region Treasurer and Editor of the Region Newsletter.  After reading GSW newsletters for years, I finally met Jerry in 1999 when I attended my first region conference. If my memory serves me right, this was the only time that I was in her company because by then she had begun to have health problems.  So, I am sure many members reading this article knew her better than I, but with the assistance of old newsletters and the Internet I will tell you about a very dedicated GSW.

    Geraldine Beisel was born February 22, 1916 in Clinton County, Indiana and graduated from Frankfort High in 1933 as Valedictorian of her class.  After graduation, she attended Northwestern University and was a bookkeeper and store manager for the Community Schools of Frankfort for 31 years, retiring in December 1979.  In 1938, Jerry met James Chittick, a high school teacher and a Reserve Officer, and they were married on June 2, 1940.  James was called to active duty on January 21, 1942.  On June 15, 1944, Jerry gave birth to their son, Michael James Chittick.  On August 8, 1944, her husband James Chittick was killed in France during World War II.

    Jerry joined Gold Star Wives of America in 1946 and was a dedicated member as long as her health permitted.  She attended her first national convention in 1963 and was elected to the Board of Directors in 1964.  Her first appointment was to the Legislative Committee and in 1965 she was appointed National Legislative Chairman and later became Legislative Advisor.  As the National Legislative Chairman, Jerry successfully lobbied Congress for increases in Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) benefits and was instrumental in getting a Federal Charter granted to Gold Star Wives. 

    Jerry served as National Vice-President 1966-1967, and in 1968 was the first Member-at-Large to be elected as National President.  As National President, she took up the long fight for the GSW Federal Charter that other National Presidents had started.  In February 1969, Jerry and Edith Knowles, Legislative Chairman, visited Indiana Senator Birch Bayh to request sponsorship of the charter legislation.  On May 17, 1979 – Senate Bill 1179 was introduced by Senators Bayh, Morgan, Stewart and Thurmond.  On November 16, 1979 before the 96th Congress, Senate Bayh introduced Geraldine as a “forceful advocate” for Gold Star Wives of America and Jerry, Edith Knowles and Peggy Simonfy testified before Congress seeking support for Senate Bill 1179.  In addition, during the Women’s Forum March 25-28, 1980, 15 GSW members called on over 300 Congressional offices seeking co-sponsors.  Finally, on December 4, 1980 a Federal Charter, signed by President Carter, was granted to Gold Star Wives of America. 

    In addition to national positions, Jerry served as the Midwest Region President in 1972-1973, 1981-1982, 1993-1994 and 1997 and was the Region Treasurer over 20 years.  In 1975, she was the first recipient of the GSW Special Recognition Award.  This award is given to an active member in good standing who has worked at any level going above and beyond the normal requirements of the position held.  Jerry was the recipient of this award again in 1993.

    Jerry was also very active in her community:  A member of the First Presbyterian Church, where she edited the Scroll, life member of the Order of the Eastern Star Chapter No. 448 of Rossville, Illinois, charter member of the A. J. Foyt Fan Club of Richmond, Indiana, member Phi Beta Psi Sorority, Sigma Chapter, member of the National Association of Retired Teachers Association, and Friends of the Frankfort Public Library.

    In early 1991 Jerry had a stroke and after a short recovery period; she continued her dedication to Gold Star Wives serving on the Board of Directors and continuing as Region Treasurer and Newsletter Editor.  In the May 1991 Midwest Region newsletter, she wrote: “Regretfully, no member came forward to take these positions; so, I continue to do what I can get done under a great handicap that I hope and pray will not always be this way.  I am doing my best until other arrangements can be made.  Whatever arrangements are made for collection of next year’s dues, I ask each of you for your fullest cooperation in keeping our GSW membership at 100%.”   Jerry remained Region Treasurer until the 1999 Region Conference when Member-at-Large Ellen Pyle was elected and installed as Region Treasurer.  Sometime later Jerry was overtaken by other health problems and had to move to a nursing home. 

    Geraldine (Jerry) Chittick entered eternal rest on December 11, 2002 in Frankfort, Indiana and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia on December 30, 2002.  Her burial was attended by GSW members, Rose Lee, Potomac Chapter, Josephine Duncan, Midwest Member-at-Large, and John Brennan, GSW Washington Liaison.  A GSW wreath was placed at her grave site. 

    I am glad Nancy asked me to write this article because it gave me the opportunity to learn more about this remarkable person.  During my research, I also learned that Jerry’s son, Michael James Chittick, passed away in Manlius, New York on January 8, 2014.  He was survived by his wife Carol; his son James (Michele) and granddaughters, Sarah and Olivia.

    Madie Tillman 
    Midwest Region President

  • 29 Sep 2020 11:42 AM | GSW National Office (Administrator)

    Please click the link to read President Trump's Proclamation on Gold Star Mother's and Family's Day:

  • 25 Sep 2020 4:06 PM | GSW National Office (Administrator)

    Gold Star Wife, Kris Rystrom Emmert of Tennessee offers support to Gold Star Families through friendship and understanding. She is the author of Providing Promise: A Navy Widow's Journey to Hope. 

    ABC 6 in Knoxville recently did a feature on Mrs. Emmert. Please click here to read the article and/ or watch the piece.

    This Saturday, September 26th, 2020, from 2-5 P.M. EDT, Kris Rystrom Emmert is hosting her book launch and honoring Gold Star Mothers and Families. She will have signed copies of her publication available for purchase. The ABC 6 article link provides the RSVP details, location and address for tomorrow's event. 

  • 18 Sep 2020 3:41 PM | GSW National Office (Administrator)

    Please click the link below to read Mrs. Patricia Barbee's article in the Savannah Tribune. In her piece, she details how she met her late husband, USMC Sgt. John W. Barbee, and explains what it means to be a Gold Star Wife.

  • 28 Aug 2020 12:38 PM | Membership Office (Administrator)

    Raina Taylor, President of the Capitol View Chapter, participates in this patriotic video for Vietnam Veterans.

  • 5 Aug 2020 12:18 PM | GSW National Office (Administrator)

    The fate of Flying Tiger Line Flight 739 has been shrouded in mystery for almost sixty years. In the late winter of 1962, the U.S. Military airliner exploded over and disappeared in the Pacific Ocean. There were no survivors, and the servicemen’s families were not given the option of having their loved one’s names included on the Vietnam Memorial Wall. On board was Army Sergeant Ranger John Karibo of Ohio. His widow, Gold Star Wife Tonya Wagner, and daughter, Kimberly Steinman-Elmquist, continue to honor his memory and fight for the recognition of those on board. To read more about their efforts and a memorial planned for later this year, please click here: . 

  • 2 Aug 2020 5:02 PM | Nancy Menagh

    My name is Kim Brooks, and I am a K2 widow and advocate for the 11,000 servicemembers and contractors, their caretakers, and family members, whose lives were forever altered by their presence at “K2”, Karshi-Khanabad, Uzbekistan, an abandoned toxic Russian airbase, between October 2001 and March 2005.

    My husband, Lieutenant Colonel Timothy P. Brooks (USMA ’89), deployed to K2 in the fall of 2001 and died of an aggressive, stage three astrocytoma, Memorial Day weekend, May 29, 2004, just 26 months after returning home, leaving me and our beautiful children, family members, and friends devastated. Below is my memory of June 4, 2004, the day we laid Tim to rest.


    A haunting wail pierced the still June air of Arlington National Cemetery, first low and distant, but it only swelled and grew louder, almost insistent, in its clear and present anguish. My brain numbed and blanketed by trauma and grief, awakened to this sorrowful keening and wondered at its source as the crisply folded symbol of our nation was tenderly placed onto my shaking lap. My four disconsolate young children, unsure and unsettled at the unknown ahead of them, looked from the casket holding their father to my tear-stained face and closed-shut eyes as I took hold of the stitched red, white, and blue layers of fabric. The Old Guard colonel, handing me our nation’s symbol, felt our pain — he knew Tim and me and our family — worked with Tim, respected Tim, and yet, I could not process his words of sympathy, as that wail became all too present in the heavy and oppressive Virginia air. And still, I recognized all too well, the litany of words that he spoke to me in the stillness, the cookie-cutter condolences that I had heard through the years in my recurring nightmare as a military wife and mother.

    Brand new and with expertly tucked folds, the weight of the countless men and women who had fought and died in service for all, lay heavy in my lap. Brushing my fingertips over the thick, cottoned flag, I tried to comprehend this new truth — this raw and biting pain that encompassed me down to my core. And then, as if ripped from my numbness, the “blanket” was no longer there cocooning me from my reality — the haunting sound became fully realized. I opened my watery eyes and looked down at the weighty red, white, and blue triangle, now wet and salty with my tears, laying there in stark contrast to my black dress. My eyes lifted to Tim’s silver casket suspended over the soil that has honored the souls of more than 400,000 of our nation’s finest. My pain had been exposed and lay bare among the aged white tombstones. Seated on a plastic and metal chair, I had, in that moment, awakened to a new reality: I was a widow, my four children were fatherless, and that haunting wail, that sound that pierced these hallowed grounds, came from the depths of my being. No longer, could I hold it in.

    It has been sixteen years since we buried Tim, his burial only one day before our daughter’s 12th birthday. I can no longer be silent to this story of K2 and our 11,000 men and women who were asked to marinate in its toxic waste as they defended our nation. The suffering that has resulted is immeasurable and must be reconciled. The recurring nightmare of burying my husband became my family’s reality and the reality for far too many.

    How many is “too many?”

    My “too many” is 1.

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Gold Star Wives of America, Inc

Gold Star Wives of America, Inc.

Gold Star Wives is a Congressionally Chartered non-profit service organization that is capable of providing services to the active duty and service-connected military surviving spouses.

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Birmingham, Alabama Office
P.O. Box 361986
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Phone: 1-888-751-6350

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Gold Star Wives of America, Inc. is a non-profit 501(C)4 National Military Widow/Widowers Service Organization chartered by the United States Congress. Donations are not deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes but may be deductible as trade or business expenses. Copyright © 2021.

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