Weekly Feature

2018-10-10 / Local News

Gold Star families join S.A.L.U.T.E.S program

Erie County Clerk Michael Kearns recently announced the creation of “Honoring the Fallen,” the newest initiative in the Showing Appreciation, Loyalty, and Unity Towards Erie County Servicemembers (S.A.L.U.T.E.S.) Program.

This initiative is designed to give discounts from local businesses to the mothers, fathers and spouses of Erie County soldiers who have been killed in action.

More than 250 businesses have signed up to give discounts, ranging from 10 to 25 percent, to family members with the discount card. Business enrollment for Honoring the Fallen is open year round. The card, issued by the County Clerk’s Office, displays the American Gold Star Mothers’ logo, an issue number, the family name and a photograph of the fallen soldier.

“It is truly heartwarming that the participating local businesses recognize and are willing to extend a discount or service to our Gold Star Families for the sacrifice made in the loss of our children,” said Holly Baker, president of the New York Chapter of American Gold Star Mothers, Inc. Baker’s son, Brian, was killed in action during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004.

Kearns was joined by Baker; John Long, ambassador for the Buffalo and Erie County Military and Naval Park; and Terry McGuire, chairman of the board for Buffalo and Erie County military Naval Park at the Gold Star Memorial at the Buffalo and Erie County Military and Naval Park.

“No one can imagine the devastating shock when a soldier’s mother is notified she has lost a son or daughter in the service of our country. Gold Star Mothers are very special, and County Clerk Kearns is to be commended for creating a special tribute to all Gold Star Families in Erie County,” said Long.

In Erie County, there are 36 Gold Star Families.

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