News: Fort Hood celebrates Gold Star Wives Day
Story by Sgt. Juana Nesbitt
FORT HOOD, Texas - The Fort Hood Survivor Outreach Services hosted a day of pampering to honor Gold Star wives at the SOS Building Friday.
The Gold Star program is designed to help families build relationships with others who understand the experience of losing a loved one in combat and together find strength, said James Elzie, the SOS program manager.
“This is a time for us to bring all of our wives together within the Fort Hood community,” he said. “It’s a time to show them that we haven’t forgotten about them or the service their loved ones have rendered to the military or of the ultimate sacrifice they have made.”
More than 20 Gold Star wives took part in the event.
“We sent out invitations to all our Gold Star wives within our area of responsibility,” Elzie said. “We told them we were offering food, massages, hairstylists, makeup and facials [to Gold Star wives].”
Throughout the SOS building, sounds of chatter broken by bursts of laughter echoed through the hallway as wives shared stories of their loved ones with one another.
“He was a great guy, good husband and friend. He always looked out for his friends,” said Rochelle Goldberg-Madore, whose husband, Cpl. Ronnie Madore Jr., 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, gave his life, Feb. 14, 2007, in an improvised explosive devise attack during his deployment to Iraq.
Goldberg-Madore had her hair and makeup done by Blonde Salon and Spa, who volunteered time and resources to help SOS celebrate Gold Star Wives Day.
“We just wanted to give back and help these women that have been through so much,” said Amber Beronio, salon owner.
Since 2009, SOS has helped keep Family members connected to the military after a loved one has died while on active duty, Elzie said.
“Programs like Survivor Outreach Services are vital,” said Leslie Love, a senior spouse adviser with SOS. “Any one of the family members on this installation at any given moment can become a Gold Star family.”
Love talked about her own husband’s experiences in combat.
“I was so blessed to have my husband come home,” Love said. “For whatever reason, these ladies’ husbands didn’t, so it’s an honor to be here and let them tell me about their husbands.”
As the celebration came to an end, smiles and laughs continued as the women walked to their vehicles, and Goldberg-Madore smiled with her new look.
“This is my first Gold Star Wives Day,” she said, “and I think it’s a great thing they did here.”