WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Members of the Navy Gold Star Program at Naval District Washington partnered with USO Bethesda to hold a luncheon for Gold Star spouses and children in honor of Gold Star Wives Day at Naval Support Activity Bethesda, April 2.
Navy Gold Star is the Navy's official program for providing long-term support to surviving families of Sailors who pass while on active duty.
The event was held three days prior to the official Gold Star Wives Day on April 5 to accommodate members' availability and to allow for more participants to attend.
"Our survivors prefer events on the weekends, particularly if they bring their children, said Regional Navy Gold Star Coordinator Pamela Valliere.
The event was on the 2nd versus the 5th in order for more spouses and children to attend. A total of 18 survivors, including 10 from the Navy, two Marine Corps, and six Army attended the luncheon for a total of 23 guests present including children, friends and staff.
"The event included a welcome from USO Manager Pauline Sumner, with our own Installation Goldstar Coordinator Patsy Jackson and myself giving a history of Gold Star recognition," said Valliere.
The luncheon provided an avenue for Gold Star spouses to have active discussions and share their experiences with one another.
"This is an opportunity to observe Gold Star Wives Day, to gather survivors together and honor their loss," said Valliere. "The USO also was able to educate the survivors on what the USO has to offer them."
After the luncheon the newest and the most senior survivor participated in a cake cutting culminating with a tour of the USO facility as well. Guests also received a copy of the poem, a yellow rose and a yellow tulip for each Gold Star Child as well as a mug with candy, Gold Star bookmark and pen.
Valliere added, Naval District Washington's support for the program has been superb.
"NDW has been wonderful in their support of Gold Star Families," said Valliere. "Rear Adm. Lindsey and his wife hosted an observance last September and the Installations in NDW have been very supportive of the Gold Star Program. As the Regional Navy Gold Star Coordinator for the program and a Gold Star Mother, I truly appreciate the support given to our program."
She described the event as a success with the participation and the feedback she got from the guests.
"We had survivors thank us for the opportunity to get together and meet each other," said Valliere. "They also appreciated the support from the USO and the Navy as well."
For more information about the Gold Star program visit http://www.navygoldstar.com/
For more news and information about NDW visit http://www.cnic.navy.mil/regions/ndw.html
For more news from Naval District Washington, visit www.navy.mil/local/ndw/.