OSCEOLA COUNTY — Mothers with children in the military will have a new source of local support through the formation of a Blue Star Mothers chapter for Mecosta and Osceola counties.

Blue Star Mothers of America Inc. is a national network of mothers with sons or daughters in the military. Kathy Barnes, a Six Lakes resident who is a member of the Blue Star Mothers chapter for Kent, Ionia and Montcalm counties, has been trying to garner interest in starting local chapters.

This month, a Meceola chapter and Greater Newaygo Area Woods and Waters chapter appointed their boards and now are waiting for official charter through the national


“I think it’s going to be wonderful,” Barnes said. “Not only will it help the moms, it will help their children and the veterans groups.”

Only mothers can be voting members of the group, but fathers, spouses, siblings and friends of soldiers can join as associate members. Most chapters organize fundraisers to purchase items for care packages for the troops and support other events put on by veterans groups.

Julie Saum, who was appointed as financial secretary of the Meceola Blue Star Mothers, is looking forward to having a greater impact with the group’s help.

“To be able to do fundraisers is important. You can do it only on a small scale when you’re doing it just for your three kids,” said Saum, who has one son and two stepsons who currently serve in the Army. “When you have that support group, you can reach people who may not have any (care packages) coming to them.”

Anyone interested in joining either the Meceola or Newaygo County group can attend one of their meetings. The Meceola Blue Star Mothers will meet at 6 p.m. on the second Monday of each month at the AMVETS building, located at 320 S. Fourth Ave. in Big Rapids. The Greater Newaygo Area Woods and Waters Blue Star Mothers will meet at 6 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month at the Newaygo VFW post, located at 9075 Mason Drive in Newaygo.

“The AMVETS and VFW are very supportive of this group,” Barnes said. “The possibilities are endless.”

Barnes also is available to answer questions about Blue Star Mothers. Contact her at (989) 814-0650.