The local chapter of The Blue Star Mothers organization has recently moved from Sweetwater to Athens in hopes of expanding its base.

The Blue Star Mothers is a non-profit organization made up of women who have family that has served in or is currently serving in the military.

Through the use of several different fundraisers, the organization raises money to send necessities and supporting gifts to soldiers as care packages.

Other activities of the organization include volunteering for Veterans Affairs hospitals and a Blue to Gold program for women who have lost a loved one during their time of service.

The origins of the Blue Star Mothers organization goes back to Jan. 22, 1942 when the Flint News Advertiser printed a coupon requesting mothers of servicemen to return the coupon.

The decision to form a permanent organization was made after they received 1,000 responses back.

On Feb. 6, 1942, the organization was recorded in the Congressional record, where many chapters, or groups, started to form in Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, New York, Pennsylvania, Oregon, California, Iowa and Washington.

The organization was officially chartered by Congress in June of 1960.

Tina Moses, the president of the local chapter for the Blue Star Mothers, said that her chapter covers a few surrounding counties.

“We cover Monroe, Loudon, McMinn and Meigs counties,” said Moses.

She stated that the decision to move the chapter from Monroe County to McMinn County was due to the population difference between the two.

“We were meeting in Sweetwater at the Veterans of Foreign Wars office, but we decided to get into a more populated area so we moved to McMinn County,” she explained.

“We needed more exposure,” added Anna McKeehan, financial secretary of the local Blue Star Mothers chapter. “The public needed to see what we do to support not only ourselves, but to support the families of those in active duty and guard units.”

Moses extended an invitation to mothers in the area who have family operating within the military to help support them.

“Any female that raised a child that joined the military service, we welcome you to join us,” said Moses. “The more we have the more work we can do.”

“McMinn County is a very patriotic county, they get out there and they do support our veterans and they support veteran organizations,” added McKeehan. “We would like to be a part of that.”

Moses stated the organization is a good way for mothers of veterans and active duty members of the military to help support each other.

“A military momma doesn’t know anybody better than another military momma,” said Moses. “We know what they go through … We’re here for the other moms.”

The chapter usually holds about five or six large fundraisers a year to help obtain the items necessary for the care packages they create, however they will continuously send care packages as often as possible.

The organization hopes to partner with the schools in fundraisers to help broaden their ability to receive community support.

The Blue Star Mothers plan to attend Pumpkintown this year as a way to help reach out to the community.

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