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Gold Star mom and Memorial Day: The loved ones left behind

Karen Farris
Karen Farris

Gold Star Mom. It’s not a distinction you’d hope for, but for Betsy Schultz, she’s committing her life to being an amazing one, in honor of her son, Captain Joseph Schultz, killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan.

Ever since I met Betsy, I’ve seen Memorial Day for what it is meant to be — honoring those who’ve lost their lives in service to our nation. It was in 2011, when she was returning from a Memorial service that she saw the unmistakable military vehicle parked in front of her home. She knew what it meant and the life-changing news they’d deliver.

Joseph was Betsy’s only child. And as a single mom, the two shared a unique bond. Whenever he’d been home from military duty, he’d help her manage her bed and breakfast, housed in an 1910-era home. They shared the top floor of the massive home, and would joke how one day Betsy’s grandkids would love running up and down the broad staircases. Now, there would never be grandkids.

At Dover Air Force Base, Betsy sat quietly for hours next to her son’s remains. It was there that the idea came to her. She envisioned her bed and breakfast becoming a place of healing for Gold Star Moms and families. She’d experienced the horrible loss and grief, and even though it was all so new to her, many others had lost sons, daughters, husbands, wives, brothers and sisters. Betsy touched the sheet covering her son, and sensed Joseph would approve.

With the help of hundreds of volunteers and thousands of dollars in donations, Betsy’s Captain Joseph House is nearing its renovation completion. Gold Star families will soon be able to come and have a week’s stay in the place Joseph once called home. Stories will be shared, tears will undoubtedly be shed, and love will be generously served.

Memorial Day is one day, but when you’ve lost someone you love, it’s memorialized forever in your heart and mind. I’m thankful Betsy came into my world to remind me.

Click Here for more info on the Captain Joseph House.

Karen Farris saw the need to help underserved kids while serving in a youth ministry that gave her the opportunity to visit rural schools on the Olympic Peninsula. She now volunteers her time grant writing to bring resources to kids in need. She also shares stories of faith in action for those needing a dose of hope on her weekly blog, Friday

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