‘People need us when their kids are deployed,’ says Blue Star Mother

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – On Memorial Day we honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice serving our country.

News13 also wanted to honor the Blue Star Mothers of Coastal Carolina, a group of women whose children serve or have served in the United States Armed Forces.

“I was surprised at how many other mothers who were walking in the same shoes I was,” said Blue Star Mother, Carol Dion. She was a founding member of the Coastal Carolina chapter and currently serves as the Vice President.

“People need us when their kids are deployed,” said Dion, whose daughter served in the U.S. Army for 22 years.

“It’s nice to have somebody to talk to, nice to have somebody who knows how I felt,” said Dion. “The anxiety, the fear of leaving the phone, you know, just in case she might call.”

Dion’s daughter, retired Army Staff Sergeant Melissa Dion, was deployed twice to Iraq and served as a medic.

“Sometimes we were on the battlefield and you were the only one with an entire platoon or an entire company and there was only one medic on the convoy,” said Melissa Dion. “You just did as much as you could with the supplies you had and the help that you had.”

Dion joined the Blue Star Mothers organization as an associate member and said it’s a great group of women.

“Without them, life was different for me. Being a soldier and mom being paranoid and not having anyone to talk to,” she added. “Then she found them and it was like she was a different person. They understood what she was going through and she understood what they were going through.”

The group holds several events throughout the year. They pack hero boxes for troops overseas before major holidays, organize Operation Welcome Home and put out wreaths each December at the Florence National Cemetery.

“There are over 12,000 veterans buried there and last year we barely had 5,000 wreaths,” said Carol Dion. “It’s very difficult to walk out on to a cemetery with an armful of wreaths and you have to decide who gets one and who doesn’t.”

The Blue Star Mothers raise money throughout the year to purchase the wreaths and hope to purchase more this year.

As mother and daughter reflect on the meaning of Memorial Day, they agree it isn’t “happy.”

“Remembering those who paid the ultimate sacrifice,” said Melissa Dion. “They went over, they did their job but unfortunately they didn’t make it back like some of us did. It is sad to think about all we have lost and to remember them for what they did for us and for this country.”

The next event for the Blue Star Mothers of Coastal Carolina is June 24. They will be packing hero boxes to send to the troops overseas for July 4th. You can read more about the event by clicking here