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Blue Star Mothers pack bags for those wounded in military

SOUTH BEND — The St. Joe Valley Blue Star Mothers of Indiana Chapter No. 6 is hoping to bring goodie bags to wounded soldiers at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., in April.

The hundreds of care packages put together in Sandra Boldt’s barn will be hand -delivered Thursday to U.S. troops at Walter Reed by the group.

St. Joe Valley Blue Star Mothers Indiana Chapter No. 6 is a group of military moms actively supporting those in active duty, veterans and wounded warriors and their families.

There was hardly room inside the barn as 10 volunteers with the Blue Star Mothers chapter gathered to pack goodie bags recently. Volunteers help pack bags made by Busy Hands of South Bend. Items for the bags were donated or bought through fundraising.

“This is our third year of ‘Operation Care Packages’ in remembering our troops,” said Boldt, president of the chapter.

“We will driving two cargo vans to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., and delivering the bags to the wounded soldiers and their families. It is our way to show support for military families.”

Countless goodies, including toiletries, snacks and other necessities, filled the bags. Their goal is to let troops know“We honor those who served,” Boldt said.

The chapter had fundraisers and received donations from local businesses in helping it achieve its mission.

“My husband is deployed now in Afghanistan and these ladies sent his company goodies right before Thanksgiving,” said Shawn Bootten, a volunteer from Bremen. “These women are wonderful and I just want to give back. I’m here because I want to help them.”

Their mission is to give support to the mothers, families and friends whose loved ones are serving or have served in the military and to support all of troops past and present.

For one mother, it’s a labor of love. “Both my husband and I were in the Navy, so we know how important something from home is to those who will receive these bags,” said Laura Undem, of South Bend. “Two of our sons were in the military and life can get pretty rough at times. We just want to give these soldiers a touch of love.”

Betty Keranen said she was in the Marines and was wounded.

“I have been where these soldiers are, so I know what it is like to be a wounded person,” she said. “Although I’m not on active duty, I want to give back, and that’s why I can to lead a helping hand today.”

Blue Star Mothers holds packing events a couple of times each year.

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