Normally we would be showing another interview as part of our “Veterans Voices” series this Tuesday, but this story is a little different.
7News is trying to solve a mystery, and we’re hoping you can help.
One of our employees recently found a card for the “American War Mothers” outside of our studios on 16th street in Wheeling. It’s an organization we weren’t familiar with, so we did some digging, called everyone we could think of, and now we want to find its owner.
It’s about the size of a credit card and bears the logo of “American War Mothers”.
What appears to be a membership card to this organization isn’t filled out, but the back lists its objectives. Some of which include to “further any patriotic work; assist men and women who served, were wounded or incapacitated; and to foster friendship between America and its Allies”.
So, who are the American War Mothers?
“Women were very focused on the war effort and what they could do to help,” said Laura Slattery, President of the Maryland Star Spangled Chapter of the American War Mothers.
Her chapter was the closest we could find to the Ohio Valley, so we asked, who is this group?
American War Mothers was founded in 1917 and is just as the name suggests, women with children who served in the military at a time of war.
“We are the only Congressional chartered group of this kind in the United States,” Slattery continued.
It’s also similar to the Blue Star Mothers, which provides support for mothers with a child in the military at any time. .
“Blue Star Mothers was an off shoot of the American War Mothers,” explained Slattery. “Being a Silver Star is someone who has a child missing in action. Then a Gold Star Mother has a child that was killed in action.”
Slattery said older chapters did work with veterans, but each was different.
“We focused on sending care packages,” she said of her Maryland chapter. “We’d contact chaplains at bases of deployed service members and we would ask them for the names of people that didn’t get a lot of mail, but when we sent them a package we sent them enough that they could share with their whole unit.”
Slattery said that as far as she knew, there hadn’t been a West Virginia chapter, but that since the organization is about 100 years old, there could have been at some point.
Unfortunately Slattery told 7News the national organization of the American War Mothers has disbanded recently and the Maryland chapter had to as well. She believes there are very few chapters still active.
“When we had to disband, I don’t think any of our children were active military anymore, but we felt like as long as there were men and women out there still protecting out freedom we wanted to maybe put a little joy in their lives,” Slattery added.
It’s a group she said offered so much support, especially when her son joined the Air Force, and she’s sad to see that it’s no more.
“Nobody really understands, fully understands what it’s like unless they go through it,” Slattery explained. “I just figured if I could find some other women, they would understand completely how I felt. Actually the group of women that ended up sticking with the Maryland chapter, we all started with the Blue Star Mothers and that chapter disbanded, but we didn’t want to stop. We didn’t want to give up.”
As we said, we want this card to be returned to it’s rightful owner.
If you are the owner, please call our newsroom at 304-232-6332.
To claim the card, all you have to do is tell us the year that was on the card, which we hid in the video.