Thursday, April 26, 2012

I, too, support the resolution crafted by Edie, Rose and Siobhan! 

A New Resolution for Gold Star Wives

I am pleased to add my support to a resolution Potomac Chapter members Rose Lee and Edie Smith plan to introduce at the Gold Star Wives Middle Atlantic Region Conference coming up this weekend (text below).

Speaking for myself, new media will be an important aspect of the future success of Gold Star Wives. We must fully embrace it, or our organization will fade. The old, static model has come and went. We must be willing to grow, and we must have the freedom to exercise our good judgement in doing so.

I think the proposal below is an excellent start, and I'm proud to stand behind it.

Gold Star Wives of America
 Middle Atlantic Region Conference
April 28, 2012



Submitted by Rose Lee, Edie Smith, Siobhan Esposito

WHEREAS, Gold Star Wives Standing Rule #1, states: 
1.   A Chapter Assistance Packet will be sent to prospective chapters by the Chapter/Region Liaison Chair.  This packet contains policies, procedures, and necessary information concerning report forms and required filing dates.  Region Presidents and new chapters are to review the Chapter Assistance Packet for detailed instructions and current forms to be followed in forming a new chapter. (2003, 2011)
WHEREAS,  Gold Star Wives information is not widely distributed.  GSW policies, procedures, and necessary information concerning report forms and required filing dates should be posted on GSW National website, to include GSW most recent Constitution, Bylaws, and Standing Rules and other policies. 
WHEREAS,  Gold Star Wives policies need to incorporate a GSW formal technology plan that would take into account both GSW’s need to protect its brand with its decentralized, chapter-based structure.  That is to say, there should be common-sense guidelines established, for example guidelines for logo use, no vulgarity, no stand on political elections, no stand on issues unrelated to GSW’s declared mission.  Beyond that, chapters should otherwise be left free to implement their own technology solutions and left free to use and adapt new technology as their independent judgment demands.   
WHEREAS,  These are documents crucial to our organization and they should be freely disseminated; further, will help cost effectiveness, rather than paying for stationery and postage, except where it’s necessary to mail to those without access to computers. 
a)   A Chapter Assistance Packet shall be posted on GSW National website, as well as be made easily available for those who do not have access to computers.  The Chapter Assistance Packet shall contain all of GSW’s policies, procedures, and necessary information concerning report forms and required filing dates relevant for GWS chapters.   
b)   A Chapter Assistance Packet for New Chapters shall be posted on GSW National website as well as be made easily available for those who do not have access to computers.    The Chapter Assistance Packet for New Chapters shall contain all policies, instructions and current forms to be followed in forming a new chapter, and Region Presidents and new chapter leaders shall be provided the Chapter Assistance Packet as necessary to facilitate the creation of new GSW chapters.
c)   GSW’s Constitution, Bylaws, and Standing Rules shall be posted on GSW National website, as well as be made available at a nominal charge for those who do not have access to computers. The charge for paper copies of these documents may include the reasonable cost of reproduction and postage for mailing, but shall not include any additional surcharge.
d)   GSW shall adopt a formal Internet technology plan and publish this plan on GSW National website, to include guidelines for the use of GSW’s logo and other intellectual properties, a prohibition against vulgarity, a prohibition against public stands on political elections, and a prohibition against public stands on issues unrelated to GSW’s declared mission.  Beyond the guideposts illustrated above, chapters shall be left free to implement their own technology solutions as they deem necessary and left free to use and adapt new technology as the independent judgment of their officers’ demand.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

An open letter to the eligible members of the Gold Star Wives of America

To the men and women who have lost a spouse in the service of our nation, or from a service-related cause:

First and foremost, I wish to express my sincere condolences for the loss of your loved one. I have suffered a similar loss in my own life. I wish you strength in your grief and speed in your recovery. And I wish to invite you to be a member in our organization.

You may wonder if you are a good fit with us. I am here to assure you that you are. The members of our organization come from all walks of life. They are united in that they know the special pain that comes from losing their spouses. But I also think that they are united in something more: a desire to keep living in the face of their loss.

And I know that desire—to keep living—is often difficult to find. In my case, my late husband was murdered in 2005 by a subordinate in a needless and preventable death. For me, the world felt so evil, it was hard to bear it.

But I am also a mother, and I found purpose in that. I have dedicated myself to finding justice for my husband by working to protect members of our armed forces from the criminals in their ranks. I have found new love in my life, and I celebrate the liberation that comes with it.

Yet it is still not easy for me, and I expect that it is not easy for you either.

And that’s where I think the Gold Star Wives of America can help. We are an organization dedicated to serving our members—to stand with them in the face of their adversity, because it is an adversity that we know all too well.

It’s really that simple. We know the road you travel, because we travel it ourselves. So please, if you haven’t already, sign up to become a member. Come to one of our chapter meetings.

We will greet you with the love, appreciation and support that you deserve.


Siobhan Esposito
Vice President
Potomac Chapter of the Gold Star Wives of America, Inc. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

New Message Board for the Potomac Chapter

The Potomac Chapter is creating a new message board for its members at Yahoo Groups.

To keep yourself up-to-date on chapter activities, share stories, and have a generally good time, please visit:


On that page, there is a blue "Join this group!" button; click that, follow the instructions, and you will be signed up.


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Gold Star Wives of America President Jeanette Early on Fox News

Yesterday, Gold Star Wives of America National President Jeanette Early appeared with actor and musician Keven Costner and American Gold Star Mothers President Norma Luther on Fox News to talk about Costner's tribute song "The Angels came down."

Costner and his band Modern West's song has been unofficially adopted as a tribute to America's fallen service members. 

Link to the Fox News report here.

The Face of the Affected

‎Kristen Fenty and I have been passing out this sheet to members of Congress to help educate them on the unfair Survival Benefit Plan offset issue. It features a picture of Kristen's daughter Lauren, who was 28 days old when her father, Lieutenant Colonel Joseph J. Fenty, was killed in Afghanistan.

In one powerful image, it captures the reality of Lauren's life: that this precious child will never be able to know her father as she so richly deserved.

I encourage all our friends and fellow citizens to be outspoken in defense of surviving military families and to support HR178 & S260, much needed legislation that eliminates the unfair offset levied upon the earned benefits of our fallen heroes. 

I see it as a small, yet powerful gesture that we as the citizens of a grateful nation can make in support of the thousands of surviving military families that are affected by this issue.

Please follow this link to contact your elected representatives today.

The Meaning of the Gold Star Bond

Dear Potomac Chapter Members,

I am new to the Gold Star Wives of America. As I go about my learning so that I may become a more effective advocate and activist on behalf of this organization and its members, I have noticed a reoccurring theme that I find deeply troubling—an alleged “generation gap” between older and younger Gold Star Wives.

Let me lay my cards upon the table. I am a post-9/11 widow. My husband Phillip was murdered in Iraq by a subordinate that he was trying to relieve for cause in 2005. His killer was subsequently acquitted by military court-martial. In my husband’s case, there has been no justice, no lessons learned. I believe that left unchecked, the failures here will go on to claim more lives and derail justice for others who deserve it.

There is a part of me that has felt very alone in my struggle. The fact that my husband was murdered and the fact that there was no justice often leads me to feel disconnected from other widows whose husbands died in furtherance of a cause. But I came to realize that I needed to broaden my horizons. Aspects of my case are singularly unique, but other aspects are plainly held in common with other Gold Star wives—and, with increasing frequency, Gold Star husbands. Hence the need for an organization that is home for all of us.

After all, some of our members are able to navigate the various bureaucracies that one must navigate in order to claim earned benefits. Some of our members, being further along in the grief process, can provide guidance and mentoring for those of us who are still confronted with the more raw aspects of our grief. Some of our members have expertise and experience helping children navigate their grief, and can offer insight in raising the children of our fallen loves ones to be proud, productive and happy spirits equal to the challenges life puts their way. Some of us have competency with computers, new media, or other technical or practical skills that can expand the reach of our advocacy; others possess the institutional memory of what has worked well in the past, and how it may be applied to the future.

And lastly, some of us have real needs, be they dealing with our grief, rebuilding our lives in the face of losing our husbands, raising children, or, as is the case with so many of our WWII-era members, facing the real challenges of living in the twilight of our lives.

Here, it makes absolutely no sense to put post-9/11 widows into one self-enforced ghetto and WWII, Korea, and Vietnam-era widows into another. In terms of essentials, we are all in this together.

Yet all this said, I think that there is great wisdom in the maxim “tread lightly.” For example, I often wonder if seeing a younger widow such as myself is easy for some of our older members. For some, it could very well open up old wounds that might not have fully healed, and if it did, it would certainly be an understandable reaction. We must strive to be sensitive, understanding, and always compassionate toward each other, because at root, we are all people who have suffered dearly, and I doubt that any of us would wish to add to each other’s burdens.

Because when you think about it, this is not an organization that anyone actively seeks to be a member. On a personal level, I deeply wish that I did not have to know any of you, or that you had to know me, but given the reality of our lives, I consider it an honor and privilege to know each and every one of you.

In this, I hope to both discover our common bonds, and respect our unique perspectives and special interests.

From my perspective, any talk of a “generation gap” is just a distraction from the substantive and substantial fact that each of us has lost someone precious in the service of our nation and that this singular tie binds us like no other. There should be no factions or cliques in Gold Star Wives. There should be no divided interests. “United we stand to win, divided we fall, and are forgotten” holds true, for yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

I recognize that others may have their own insight upon the matter. I welcome the opportunity to hear it. Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

About the Potomac Chapter of the Gold Star Wives of America

The Potomac Chapter is the greater Washington, DC area chapter of Gold Star Wives of America, Inc., a national service organization for widows and widowers whose spouses died while serving in the armed forces, or as the result of a service-connected cause. 

First and foremost, our chapter exists to provide service, support, and friendship to widows and widowers—men and women who know the personal hardship of losing a spouse in military service or for service-related reasons and who seek the camaraderie of others who personally understand and appreciate this life-altering experience.

Be it friendly advice, help with obtaining earned benefits, or something as simple as a shoulder to cry upon, our chapter’s members are personally dedicated to help those who have paid a painful price in defense of our great nation, its form of government, and our cherished rights.

The Gold Star Wives of America was organized by the widows of the Second World War and its first meeting was on April 5, 1945, when four young widows met in founder Marie Jordan's apartment on West 20th Street in New York City. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt was one of the early members of the Gold Star Wives, and one of the members who signed the original New York state incorporation papers. 

Today the Gold Star Wives of America is a congressionally chartered, non-profit organization incorporated in the State of New York and exempt from tax under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code. The Gold Star Wives has approximately 10,000 members and is organized into 8 regions and 49 chapters in 26 states. Our National Convention is held annually, and each region typically hosts its own annual conference to prepare for the National Convention. The Potomac Chapter typically meets monthly and for special events and activities.

One realm where Gold Star Wives of America has both served its members and earned the respect of the nation’s leaders is in its legislative advocacy programs. Gold Star Wives of America members are renowned for bringing attention to the issues that impact surviving spouses and their families, and have worked to successfully pass legislation in critical areas such as survivor benefits, military healthcare, and education.

The Potomac Chapter of the Gold Star Wives also works to support deserving military-related charities, and our members can often be found visiting military hospitals, volunteering in patriotic and commemorative-themed events, and assisting in other areas where our unique and hard-won experience can help to improve the lives of service members and their families.

The Gold Star Wives of America and our chapter are not organizations that anyone truly wishes to join, for our eligibility criteria comes at a terrible price. But we are comprised of people who refuse to yield in the face of loss and adversity. We come from all walks of life, and yet we share an unbreakable common bond.

If you have lost your loved one by virtue of their military service, please accept our sincere condolences for your loss, and know that we are ready and willing to stand with you in your grief.

The Constitution and Bylaws of the Gold Star Wives of America, Inc.



Sec. 1. The name of this organization shall be gold Star Wives of America, Inc.
Sec. 2. The organization shall have a Seal, which shall be in the following form: A Gold Star superimposed with a Purple Bar bearing the words, "Gold Star Wives of America."
Sec. 3. The organization shall have an official flower. The Pansy, which shall have the two upper petals in purple and the three lower petals in yellow with a gold streamer.

Sec. 1. The purposes of this corporation shall be as follows:
(1) To assist in upholding the constitution and laws of the United States of America, and to inculcate a sense of individual obligation to the community, state, and nation.
(2) To honor the memory of those who made the supreme sacrifice in the service of our country.
(3) To safeguard and transmit to posterity the principles of justice, freedom, and democracy for which members of our armed services fought and died.
(4) To provide the benefits of a happy, healthful and wholesome life to minor children of persons who died in the service of our country.
(5) To promote activities and interests designed to foster among its members the proper mental attitude to face the future with courage.
(6) To aid when necessary the widows and children of persons who died in the service of our country.
(7) To do any and all things necessary and incidental to carry out the general purposes and objects of this organization.

Legislative Department
Sec. 1. The legislative power shall be vested in the National organization of Gold Star Wives of America, Inc., which shall consist of:
(1) Its past national presidents in good standing in this organization.
(2) Its officers, committee chairmen, and members of the Board of Directors.
(3) All regional presidents and chapter presidents of this corporation or, in their absence, the regional and chapter immediate past presidents who are in good standing.
(4) Delegates for chapters and members-at-large.
Article Four

Sec. 1. Any citizen or national of the United States who is a widow of any person who died while a member of the armed forces of our country, or who died subsequent to such service as a result of an injury or disability incurred during such service, shall be eligible for membership in the chapters of the Gold Star Wives of America, Inc., if there is a chapter in the area within which the person resides; however, where there is no chapter organized within the place where such qualified member resides, such qualified person may become a member-at-large. Proof of eligibility shall be submitted with application.
Sec. 2. Membership charters shall be granted by the National organization at such time or times as a local membership group shall be established, consisting of at least five (5) members. Such chapters shall be subject to all rules and regulations of the national organization.
Sec. 3. To remove a member from this organization, three written statements outlining complaints against a member are to be read at an open meeting of the chapter. Membership of the chapter will vote on the removal. Offending member must be given written notice that she will be granted an opportunity to appear to hear charges against her and to be allowed to testify in her own defense. Membership of chapter shall be notified that the entire case must be presented by the president of the chapter in writing for final approval of the national Board of Directors.
Sec. 4. Should any region not hold a Regional conference within a given year, it shall be deemed inactive and no refund of member-at-large dues will be returned from the National Treasury to the Regional Treasurer. These members-at-large shall then be considered members of the National organization instead of Regional members.
Sec. 5. Upon written request stating reasons to the Board of Directors, the Board may approve the membership dues being paid directly to the National Treasurer and the member being a member-at-large on a National basis only.

Sec. 1. The annual meeting of Gold Star Wives of America, Inc. shall be held once a year at some time during the middle of the calendar year at a time and place, and on a date to be fixed by the majority vote of the members of the convention. Minutes of the annual convention shall be received by the chapters within ninety (90) days after the close of the meeting, subject to approval at the next annual meeting.
Sec. 2. The members of the Board of Directors shall meet while the annual convention is in session each year, at a time and place to be fixed by the Chairman of the Board of Directors. Special meetings may be held from time to time when considered necessary.
Sec. 3. The presence of not less than 25 members of the National organization shall constitute a quorum at the annual meeting, and the presence of not less than five (5) members of the Board of Directors shall constitute a quorum at meetings of the Board of Directors. But a lesser number may adjourn the meeting for a period of not more than thirty (30) days.
Sec. 4. Special Meetings of this organization may be called by a majority vote of the Board of Directors from time to time; and special meetings of the Board of Directors may be called by the Chairman of the Board of Directors, the National President, or by not less than five (5) members of the Board of Directors, after due notification to all Board members.
Sec. 5. The secretary or President of each chapter shall provide credentials to their duly elected and authorized delegates representing their chapter at the annual convention which can be presented to the National Secretary upon request.
Sec. 6. Resolutions from regions, chapters, or individual members must be in the possession of the National Parliamentarian thirty (30) days prior to the annual national Convention for compilation purposes. This does not exclude resolutions that may be offered from the assembly floor as a direct result of proper business discussion conducted thereon.
Sec. 7. No other person but the presiding officer of the National Convention will be allowed to change the meeting time at a National Convention.
Sec. 8. All National Convention mailing must be in the mail at least six (6) weeks prior to the Convention date.
Sec. 9. All resolutions submitted at the National Convention shall be those pertaining directly to Gold Star Wives and Gold Star sons and Daughters.
Sec. 10. No member may be nominated from the assembly floor unless present at the National Convention; or through communication, such person has indicated her willingness to serve in the event she is elected.

Sec. 1. At all annual meetings, only members of the legislative department shall be entitled to vote. In the event an acting national officer must be appointed in order for the business of the General Assembly to be properly conducted, the appointed officer shall be entitled to vote. Members of the legislative department shall have only one personal vote regardless of the number of positions held.
Sec. 2. Each chapter shall be entitled to one delegate to the National Convention for every five to ten (5-10) paid-up members whose names appear on the records of the Membership Chairman on June first (1) of each year preceding the annual meeting.
Sec. 3. If more than one-tenth (1/10th) of the total members-at-large from any one region are not present, one vote shall be given to each member-at-large from that Region who is present. If more than one-tenth (1/10) are present from any one Region, then such members-at-large shall be entitled to vote on the same basis as the chapter.
Sec. 4. A widow who may attend a National Convention and first join the organization at that time, with the approval of the General Assembly, will be entitled to a vote at the National Convention.
Sec. 5. Each chapter may vote on any question coming before the National Convention in accordance with the number of delegates which the said chapter is entitled to regardless of the number of delegates who actually attend the National convention.
Sec. 6. No ballots shall be destroyed until six (6) months after installation of the National Officers, and these ballots shall remain in possession on the Nominating Committee Chairman.

Order of Business
Sec. 1. The suggested order of business of this organization shall be as follows:

            (1) Registration of members
            (2) Reading of minutes of the preceding meeting
            (3) Reports of committees
            (4) Reports of officers
            (5) Old and unfinished business
            (6) New business
            (7) Election
            (8) Memorial Services
            (9) Installation
          (10) Adjournment

Board of Directors
Sec. 1. The business of this organization shall be managed by:

            a] A Board of Directors consisting of fifteen (15) elected members.
            b] The National President of Gold Star Wives.
            c] The President of each active Region of Gold Star Wives.

Sec. 2. The Directors shall be elected by the National organization at the annual meeting each year, to hold office for three (3) consecutive years. Each year five (5) members of the Board of Directors are to be elected.
       Not more than three (3) elected members from any Region shall be on the Board simultaneously, and each active region shall have at least one elected Board member.
       Active Region is defined as a Region holding an annual conference, sending a written report to the National convention and having representation at the National Convention.
       The National President shall be an ex-officio member of the Board of directors.
       Each Region President, by virtue of election to that office, shall be an Associate member of the Board of Directors with voting privileges and with no Board assignment during her tenure unless a duly elected or appointed Board Member.
Sec. 3. Any Director who fails to attend three (3) consecutive meetings of the Board of Directors without written, acceptable excuse shall be considered to have vacated her office.
Sec. 4. The members of the Board of Directors shall elect among themselves a Chairman of the Board of Directors and a Secretary to the Board of Directors to serve for the term of (1) year.
Sec. 5. The Board of Directors may recommend Rules and Regulations covering its meetings and covering the management of the Chapters as it may in its discretion determine from time to time.
Sec. 6. Vacancies in the said Board of Directors shall be filled by vote of the majority of the remaining members of the Board of Directors to serve until the next National Convention.

Sec. 1. The officers of this organization shall be as follows:
         (1) National President
         (2) National Vice President
         (3) Recording Secretary
         (4) National Treasurer
         (5) Chaplain
         (6) National Parliamentarian
         (7) Historian
         (8) The Regional Presidents
Sec. 2. All National Officers, including members of the Board of Directors, (excluding Region Presidents) shall be elected by written ballot, forms to be provided and names of choice of Officers and Board members written in.
Sec. 3. All members, officers and employees responsible for disbursing organizational funds shall be bonded.
Sec. 4. Corresponding Secretary shall be appointed by the National President.
Sec. 5. The National Treasurer's report shall be presented at the National Convention; if the Treasurer is unable to attend, the report must be in the hands of the presiding officer at the National Convention.
Sec. 6. The National Parliamentarian shall have final authority in deciding the answer to all questions concerning Parliamentary procedure sent in by individual members or chapters.
Sec. 7. National Headquarters shall be established in the locality of the current national President and the bank account shall be established at the convenience of the National Treasurer.
Sec. 8. In the event the office of the National President becomes vacant, such office shall be filled by the vice President until such time as a general election may be held. In the event both offices of the National President and Vice President become vacant, the Board of Directors shall appoint a person to fill the office of President until such time as a general election may be held. In the event a vacancy occurs in any of the other National offices of the organization, such office shall be filled by appointment of the President with the consent of the Board of Directors to serve until such time as a general election may be held.
Sec. 9. The National Officers of this organization, except for the Regional Presidents, shall be nominated, elected, and installed at the National Convention.
Sec. 10. No member except the National Treasurer and the National Parliamentarian shall retain any one particular national office longer than two (2) years. The National Treasurer and National Parliamentarian, with their written approval, may be re-elected for as many terms as meets with the approval of the Assembly.
Sec. 11. The national Officers charged with the obligation of carrying out the mandates of the Convention assembled shall be required to report to the Board of Directors if such duties are not completed.

Sec. 1. The Executive Committee shall be composed of the National President, Vice President, Recording Secretary, Treasurer, and Chairman of the Board of Directors. This committee shall meet at the discretion of the National President, to plan procedures on projects approved by the Board of Directors and/or the General Assembly, and to handle urgent business when it is impossible for the Board of Directors to meet. The Executive Committee is directly responsible to the Board of Directors.
Sec. 2. The National committee Chairman shall be appointed by the Board of Directors and shall be responsible tot he Board of Directors for their specific duties.

Sec. 1. Each member shall pay dues to the National organization in an amount as is fixed from time to time at the National Convention and upon payment, a membership card will be issued to her.

Sec. 1. Upon disbanding of a Chapter or Region, all properties, records, and assets shall be turned over to the National organization.
Sec. 2. The custodian of records and property shall be designated by the Board of directors and any member shall be granted access to all records for the purposes of Gold Star Wives' business matters.
Sec. 3. All current National records, complete as of National convention or expiration of duties pertaining to term of office, are to be turned over to the incoming officer at National convention if feasible, but no later than thirty (30) days following convention. When it is impractical to transfer records at national Convention because of time, volume and/or mode of transportation, the records shall be shipped via the best insured method with incurred costs to be reimbursed by the National Treasury upon presentation of paid receipt.
Sec. 4. Each officer shall have with her the officer pin to turn over to the new officer, or pay for the pin if she does not have it to turn over.

Sec. 1. These By-Laws may be altered, amended or repealed by an affirmative vote of two-thirds (2/3) of the members of the Legislative Department at a National Convention, providing such amendment has been submitted to the General Assembly at the previous National Convention.

Regional Divisions
Sec. 1. The United State is divided into separate areas headed by a Regional President. Under the supervision of the Regional President, a Conference is held each year, at least sixty (60) days prior to the National Convention. Voting at these Conferences is on the same basis as voting at the National Convention.
Sec. 2. The Regions are as follows:
  1. NEW ENGLAND: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode island, Connecticut
  2. MIDDLE ATLANTIC: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, district of Columbia, Virginia
  3. SOUTH EAST: North Carolina, south Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi
  4. MIDWEST: Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, West Virginia, Michigan
  5. NORTH CENTRAL: Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin
  6. SOUTH CENTRAL: Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas
  7. SOUTH WEST: California, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, Colorado, Hawaii
  8. NORTH WEST: Oregon, Washington, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Alaska
        Revised National Convention 1963
        Amended National Conventions 1970;1971;1974;1987;1993;1996
1. Checks written by the National Treasurer which have not been presented for payment shall be declared void 180 days from the date issued, and the money from such checks shall be returned to the National Treasury. The Treasurer shall notify the bank to issue a "Stop Payment" for such check and shall be authorized to pay the fee charged by the bank. The Treasurer shall notify the payee, in writing, of such action. In the event the check was not received by the payee, the Treasurer is authorized to issue a replacement check. (1986)
2. The Stay-At-Home Tea is a National fund raising project inviting all members to participate. local chapter members may choose to participate as a Chapter. If so, the check should be forwarded to the Fund Raising Chairman along with a list of names and addresses of members in order to have an accurate member participation percentage. (1997)
3. If the local Chapter wishes to make a donation, the check should be sent directly to the National Treasurer.
4. No individual member may solicit funds in the name of Gold Star Wives.
5. Money to be used for the Welfare Project to be presented by the Chapter hosting the national Convention and presented at the time of the Convention was set at the amount of $500.00, said amount to come from the national fund Raising Project, with the balance to be made up from the National Treasury if needed. (1969) Increased to $1,000.00 (1985)
6. The National President is authorized to make donations not to exceed $500.00 annually in the name of Gold Star Wives of America when requests and/or opportunities are received which would enable gold Star Wives to gain further recognition as a service organization. (1992)
7. The National Treasurer shall be present at the Board of Directors meetings as a voting member and shall serve in the capacity of financial adviser and shall be assigned to chair the budget committee. (1992)
8. Money collected from the fund raising for a designated memorial or future monies given for an expressed purpose will be placed in a separate savings account until such time as it is needed. (1963)
9. A budget will be presented by the Budget Committee and voted upon by the Assembly at the National Convention. (1996)
10. Each officer and board member receiving monies advanced by the National Treasurer will make an up to date account of expenditures to the Board at the last meeting of the year. Any funds left over are to be returned to the National Treasurer. Those officers having large working funds who anticipate a sizable surplus of unused funds should keep an estimated amount for operating expenses and return balance to Treasurer by May 31. (1967;1989)
11. The Potomac Area Chapter is encouraged to represent Gold Star Wives of America at every opportunity and this sometimes is in the laying of a wreath at ceremonies. The Potomac Area Chapter will present the bill for flowers to the national Treasurer. (1976)
12. Gold Star Wives of America, Inc. is an associate member of Veterans Administration volunteer Service (VAVS) National committee. The VAVS Chairman and/or Deputy Representative will attend the VAVS Annual National committee meeting. The amount of allowance for each representative is to be determined each year by the Board of Directors. (1987)
13. The National President's gift to be presented at National Convention will be paid from the National Treasury in an amount no to exceed $75.00. (1981;1987)
14. $3500.00 will be authorized annually to be spent to send GSW representatives to Washington, DC to continue to build support for our legislative agenda. (1998)
15. The Finance committee made up of the National Treasurer and two members of the Board of Directors shall be able to invest funds in accordance with the organization's investment policy. Signature cards will be signed by the National President and the National Treasurer. (1986;1998)
16. When a new chapter is formed, Region officers will furnish a list of the members-at-large in the immediate area who will be considered members of the chapter, to those organizing the chapter, the National Newsletter Editor, and National Treasurer. Upon receipt of list, the national treasurer will send $2.00 per member to the new chapter from the National Treasury. (1982;1995)
17. At the next meeting of the Board of Directors following disbanding of a chapter, the National Treasurer shall report monies received. If the Board of directors agrees that a Region is active and has incurred expenses due to the formation of the chapter which became inactive, disposition of the financial assets becomes the prerogative of the Board of Directors. (1989)
18. The National Treasury shall pay reasonable costs of convention Invitations, Convention Programs, Name Tags, Supplies, General Assembly expenses (typewriter, microphones, VCR, etc. - see Convention Guidelines), and meeting rooms for conducting the business of the convention, and any transportation costs necessitated by the location of the Memorial Service, subject to Board approval. Delegate Registration Fee shall be limited to actual meal and entertainment function costs. (1992;1995)
19. A National officer or Board Member incurring expenditures for the legitimate conduct of her office above and beyond her working fund will employ the following procedure:
  1. Itemized expenditures to date PLUS anticipated additional expenses shall be submitted to the National President and Board Chairman for approval. In the event an additional allotment is needed by the National President, the request will be approved by the National Vice President and the Board Chairman. If needed by the Board Chairman, the request shall be submitted to the National President and the Board Secretary will handle the memo;
  2. Providing funds are available in the "Reserve Account" in the Budget, tentative approval may be granted;
  3. The Board Chairman shall prepare and mail a "Memo" to the members of the Board of Directors advising of the purpose and amount of the request. Upon receipt of at least five (5) affirmative votes, the National Treasurer shall be advised to forward the funds requested. (1986)
20. The Chairman of the Board's working fund is to include transportation and hotel accommodations for annual attendance at National Veterans Day Ceremonies in Birmingham, AL. (1986)
21. Gold Star Wives of America is now listed as a "Participating (sponsoring) Organization" of National Veterans Day in Birmingham, AL. A $2,000.00 donation will be an item in the annual budget. An amount will also be included in the budget to be contributed to National Veterans Day Committee for ceremonies at Arlington Cemetery as a "Recognized" organization. (1987) (1996)
22. Ten percent (10%) of the annual fund raising income should be budgeted for annual welfare projects, to include Convention Hostess Chapter Welfare Gift and National President's special Welfare Fund. (1991)
23. Banking records should be kept for five (5) years (National/Region/Chapter). (1989)
24. $1000.00 will be authorized in the budget each year for the Gold Star Wives and Gold Star Mothers Reception held annually in Washington, DC. (1992;1996;1998)
25. The National Treasurer is authorized to issue and sign working fund checks not to exceed the largest budget approved working fund. (1993)
1. No invitations will be extended for National convention in cities having a local chapter unless a duly authorized invitation is made by the would-be hostess chapter. (1963)
2. Because there are certain basic expenses involved in Convention functions and there are certain financial and other advantages to registering under the auspices of gold Star Wives of America, there will be a basic registration fee charged whether or not any functions are attended. (1975)
3. A time will be set aside at National Convention to honor the memory of our deceased members. (1964)
4. The Candlelight Installation Ceremony will be used to install new officers following the convention Banquet.
5. Prior to National Convention, all Board members, National Officers, and Region Presidents are to prepare a written report, including a financial report if working funds have been advanced. These reports will be prepared in quantity specified by the Board Chairman (using assigned report number) and mailed to the delegated member of the Convention Hostess Chapter by the date directed. cost of duplicating reports will be paid from National Treasury and the Hostess Chapter will be responsible for having al reports duplicated in sufficient quantity as needed to prepare Convention packets for registered delegates. Packets for Board members will be made available prior to scheduled board meeting. (1980;1987;1993)
6. Adequate time to review contents of reports prior to opening of general Assembly will eliminate reading or summarizing reports. as the reports are called for on the convention agenda the person responsible will take the floor to make recommendations, entertain any questions or discussion arising, and make presentation of the report to the National Secretary. (1980)
7. Membership cards will be shown at time of registration at National Conventions to insure delegates are members in good standing of Gold Star Wives of America. (1980)
8. Resolutions submitted from the floor to the Assembly pertaining to money allocations or future work of the organization may not be voted on at that session, but must wait an interval of time (after a recess or the following session) and be submitted in proper written form for consideration. (1981)
9. The Registration Fee for National Convention delegates shall be limited to actual meal and entertainment functions cost. See Item #18 under RELATING TO NATIONAL TREASURY. (1983)
10. When children are brought to Convention by delegates, they need to have the opportunity to get acquainted with each other as soon as possible after arrival. When sufficient number of children have been registered, the National Convention Committee will make arrangements for such a function. (1983)
11. Gold Star Wives supplies used for conduction National Convention (such as Past national President's pin, decals, stickers) are to be reimbursed at cost by the National Treasury upon presentation of a bill from the Supplies Chairman. (1985)
12. The following guidelines for dispensing fund raising items at National conventin were adopted:
  1. Chapters or regions other than the Hostess group will not actively promote and/or sell fund raising items on the general assembly floor at National convention.
  2. Sales may be promoted through Chapter and Region newsletter only. National newsletter will promote National supply items.
  3. Through sharing of chapter and region newsletters, members may be made aware of items which may be of interest and editors may include notice of available items heir chapter or region has for sale.
  4. Chapters/Regions may bring samples of items to National convention for display in personal rooms and may take orders for such items or dispense previously ordered items. (1989)
13. Expenses of Board of Directors meetings before and after general assembly will be considered as a Convention expense and will be included in the budget (this could include charges for room, microphone, refreshments, etc.) (1989)
14. Registration refunds may be made only when possible and at the discretion of the hostess chapter based on the contracts they have with hotels and travel agency. (1996)
1. The National Treasurer shall be responsible for the official membership count which is used to establish voting strength at national convention. The report shall be based on dues mailed (postmarked) by Chapter and Region Treasurers No later than May 15 and received by the National Treasurer no later than May 31. (1986;1993)
2. The fiscal year will be June 1 to May 31. (1969)
3. Membership dues will be collected on a calendar year basis and are due January first (1) of current year regardless of date first joined or payment in previous year. (1956)
4. Membership dues received by National Treasurer later than may 31 will not be included in the voting strength count for Convention purposes. applications for NEW membership dated after June 30 shall be credited with dues paid for the remainder of that calendar year plus the following calendar year. members renewing at any time throughout the year will be credited for that calendar year. (1969;1994)
5. Mrs. Pauline Bartsch is an appointed member of the Board of Directors for an indefinite period and will chair the Membership Records position. (1963;1980;1988;1993)
6. Annual dues were raised to $15.00 per year. $10.00 to be sent to the National Treasury; $5.00 to remain in the Chapter/Region Treasury. (1992;1999)
7. Chapter members will pay dues to the Chapter Treasurer, Members-At-Large will pay dues to the Region Treasurer or in the event there is no Region Treasurer, to the Region President. Immediately upon receipt of a member's dues, a membership card will be prepared and mailed. At least monthly, or more frequently if necessary, the Treasurer will forward a check for $5.00 per paid member to the National Treasurer along with the appropriate copy of the Membership Report Form. At the same time, other copies of the Membership Report Form will be forwarded to the appropriate person as indicated on the MR form. (1966 with required updates)
8. The standard APPLICATION FOR MEMBERSHIP FORM will be printed on two-part action paper, with the original to go to Membership Records chair and the second copy retained by the Chapter/Region. The date of the applicant's check will be the date used on the Membership Report form. (1970)
9. Membership cards will carry the expiration date of December 31. (1971)
10. When a member-at-large moves permanently to a different Region, the Region Treasurer from which the member is moving will prepare a CHANGE OF ADDRESS FORM transferring the member. If no part of the calendar year has elapsed, the $5.00 Region portion of dues will be forwarded to the new Region (1992)
11. Procedure was established for the formation of New Chapters. See relating to treasury (16).
12. To assist the Membership Chairman in efforts to restore delinquent members to the rolls of GSW, Region/Chapter Treasurers shall notify the Chairman of delinquent members to be contacted.
         It is recommended that the names and addresses of delinquent members as of the end of the calendar year be typed on labels and forwarded to the Membership Chairman as soon as possible after December 31. REMINDER - Chapter and Region Treasurers are responsible for sending dues notifications to members, with at least one follow-up during the year when dues remain unpaid.
13. Standard dues renewal notice forms will be provided by the supplies Chairman and used by Chapter/Region Treasurers. Such notices to be mailed in October.
14. A non-refundable Life membership will be offered and a distinctive Membership Card will be issued. The Life Membership will be prorated as follows:
Under 40 years (of age)
- $300.00
41 to 55 years
- $250.00
56 to 69 years
- $200.00

 The Chapter or Region will keep 50% and 50% sent to National, effective with dues of 1996. (1989;1994)
1. A Chapter Assistance Packet will be sent to newly formed Chapters by the Chapter/Region Liaison Chairman. This packet contains necessary information concerning report forms and required filing dates.
2. A definite date for reporting the election of chapter officers duly elected will be before Regional Conference, which is usually held in April. Chapter Reports to Region and National will be the responsibility of the outgoing President. (1988)
3. Chapter Presidents are required to caucus with the delegates of her chapter who are present at National Convention, thus insuring that chapter votes are voted according to the majority - except in cases where the chapter has previously made its voting wishes known. (1971)
4. Newly organized chapters (or reactivated chapters whose treasury has been turned over to the National Treasurer upon disbanding) shall have assistance in establishing a beginning treasury under guidelines set forth in Item #16 under RELATING TO TREASURY. (1982)
5. A duplicate charter may be issued by the National President providing copies of original records including date, officers, and charter members can be provided. In the event no printed or written records are available, the above information will be accepted in the form of a written statement from a charter member or early member recalled to the best of her ability. (1986)
6. The procedure to be followed for requesting a Chapter Name Change shall be:
  1. The minutes of an existing Chapter requesting a change of name shall duly record complete proceedings leading to the decision to request a change of name;
  2. A copy of such minutes are to be presented to the National President;
  3. The National President will prepare a CERTIFICATE OF CHAPTER NAME CHANGE, using the date of her signature. That date will be the official date the Chapter assumes the new name;
  4. The National President will include any Chapter Name Changes in her Annual Report to the Board of directors and General Assembly. National Officers and Board Members whose assignment involves Chapters are to be notified as soon as possible after action has been taken. (1986)
7. The membership records of a disbanded chapter should be sent to the Region Treasurer, who will become responsible for assuming dues renewal notices and mailing of Region newsletter. A list of members should be sent to the Region President, National Treasurer, Newsletter Editor and Membership Records Chairman.
1. Copies of correspondence or notices of Regional Conference shall be sent to the National President and National Newsletter Editor so they will be informed of activities pertaining to Regional Conferences.
2. Because of difficulties experienced by the organization in the past which could be traced to unofficial and unauthorized statements, no form letter or other literature may be circulated except by direction of the properly elected officers.
3. An appropriate uniform (cape) is approved for use by members of the Potomac Area chapter who carry the colors of Gold Star Wives of America for official functions at Arlington National Cemetery. (Required if the organization is to be permitted to participate) (1975)
4. An attractive paperweight embellished with the Gold Star Wives emblem or other appropriate gift is to be used by officials to present when appropriate. (1978;1994)
5. The Board of Directors established the position on the Board to be known as President Emeritus, which will be filled by the most recent retiring National President, and to act as an honorary advisor to the Board of Directors. (1978)
6. Initials denoting Gold Star Wives of America in abbreviated form shall be "GSW" only, otherwise, the full name must be used (because GSAW could cause confusion as indicative of an auxiliary organization). (1980)
7. A national supply item may not be duplicated as a fund raising item by a Chapter or Region. (1986)
8. The Gold Star Wives of America Logo will be registered to protect the organization against duplication for unauthorized purposes. (1986) 9. Marie Speer (Marie Jordan) National Founder of Gold Star Wives of America, Inc., was granted a non-dues paying, Honorary Life member status by the Board of Directors January 17, 1948.
10. Chapter and Region members may retain any one particular office longer than two (2) consecutive years. (1997)