By Robert Barron, Staff Writer
Enid News & Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
A group of Enid women with children and grandchildren serving in the military overseas are trying to make this Christmas special for those service personnel.
The Blue Star Mothers is a group of mothers of military personnel who send care packages and gifts to service members overseas. They currently are taking donations to send to Enid service members for Christmas.
“Our goal is to send a care package to any military people who are deployed to Afghanistan or Iraq. They must be in a war zone to get a package,” said Brenda Bingham, member of Blue Star Mothers.
Bingham has been active in the organization since 2005, when she first started sending packages to her son. The group takes donations of items to send and cash donations to help cover postage or purchase supplies if it is short.
On Dec. 1, all packages will be sent, filled with homemade goodies like cookies, some hand-held toys and card games. The group is mailing about 50 boxes for Christmas and will add another 115 names in January. Bingham said they are members of the Oklahoma National Guard who are preparing to deploy.
The Blue Star Mothers have an office in Oakwood Mall, near Dillard’s, and she said someone will be in the office through Christmas Eve, then they will return to their normal Thursday and Friday operation.
The mothers normally send packages the fourth Thursday of each month. They also feature blue stars the parents of those serving overseas can place in their windows as a remembrance. They are available for a donation to the organization.
Bingham’s son is now out of the military because of an injury received in Afghanistan. But she said she still feels the need to serve, because her son was there and someone else’s son or daughter still is fighting for our freedom.
“I feel the need to make sure they are all taken care of as much as I can, as most mothers do,” she said. “We know what those mothers are going through.”
Bingham said the support of the other mothers is important.
“I was lost. I didn’t know what to do. My baby was overseas fighting a war I didn’t understand, or why he had to go do it. I joined it for the support of other mothers who go through the same thing,” Bingham said.
The group holds a business meeting the second Thursday of each month, while members respond to each other anytime there is a need. She said they are all there for anyone who needs support. Bingham said when her son was deployed, she had a hard time with his being away, even though he was career military.
“He is my only son, and Christmas, with him overseas, I was so proud. I’m so proud of all of them for what they do and miss all of the holidays. I missed being able to have that time,” she said.
One year while he was deployed, he was expected home for Christmas. Bingham bought Christmas gifts and put them under the tree, but his deployment was extended, so she didn’t want to take down the tree. Eventually, she did take it down when he did not come home.
“He was in 12 years, I kind of got used to that. I told myself I had gotten used to it, but you never really get used to it. You always have that fear you might not see them again,” Bingham said.
Jolene Taylor misses her grandson, whom she raised. He also is career military and a member of the United States Army. He is preparing to leave on his third deployment, going to Afghanistan for nine months. Taylor is uneasy about this deployment, because he recently married and has a family and a new home in El Paso, Texas.
He was home two weeks ago, and the family had its Thanksgiving dinner Nov. 11 so he could have one before he left.
“It’s harder to see him leave this time because of his new wife and his family, and he has a daughter from a previous marriage here, and they have a new home,” Taylor said.
Taylor has been a member of the Blue Star Mothers for five years. She joined when her husband told her his mother was a member during World War II and wrapped bandages for the troops.