GREAT LAKES, Ill. (NNS) -- The Gay, Lesbian and Supporting Sailors (GLASS), an organization that was recently formed at and officially recognized by Naval Station Great Lakes (NSGL), held its first official meeting Feb. 13.
The GLASS kick-off meeting was held at the United Services Organization in Bldg. 27 with a total of 75 people in attendance and featured guest speakers from around the community.
"From young sailors and civilians to the chain of command and visiting veterans, the support and efforts given by all was astounding," said Fire Controlman 3rd Class Ann Foster, GLASS president.
Meg and Fred Valentini spoke to the gathering about how they found the support from Parents Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) when their son came out to them at 16 years old, and how helpful the organization has been ever since.
They also spoke about the volunteer events they do for the Broadway youth shelter that helps young children and adults, ages 13 to 22, by collecting donated clothes as well as throwing a yearly party that helps the kids just be kids.
Tracy Katzmuhl, who is also a PFLAG member, spoke about how she volunteers at the Links North Shore Youth Health Service in Chicago. Links provides young people with medical care, counseling and support services for youth as well as sexual health education in schools and the community.
The second group of guest speakers were from the American Veterans for Equal Rights (AVER). Veteran Jim Darby spoke of how he had proudly served in the U.S. Navy for four years. After his enlistment, Darby went to college for five years using his Montgomery G.I. Bill and later met his partner of 48 years.
Another veteran who showed her support was Jean Albright. Albright was in the Air Force for 20 years before retiring and later joined AVER to support fellow veterans.
"The Sailors of GLASS would like to send a special thank you for the support here on base that was given by NSGL Executive Officer Cmdr. Robert Sullivan, and Command Master Chief Leon Walker, as well as guests Meg and Fred Valentini, Maureen Goldein, Denise and Tony Forte from Parents Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) for showing their support," Foster said. "We also want to thank Jean Albright, Jim Darby, Tracy Baim and Hal Baim from AVER. And last but not least, [we want to thank] Tracy Katzmuhl from the Links center in Northfield, Ill. for taking the time to support our Sailors here in Great Lakes."
For more information about GLASS, visit www.facebook.com/GLASSgreatlakes.
For more information, visit www.navy.mil, www.facebook.com/usnavy, or www.twitter.com/usnavy.
For more news from Commander, Navy Region Midwest/Naval Station Great Lakes, visit www.navy.mil/local/midwest/.