MARLBORO TWP.: Judy Dorsey points to a photo of her son Matthew “Matt” Dorsey on a wall in her home and talks about how her life has changed since he joined the Marines.
“If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be a Blue Star Mom,” said Dorsey, now second in command of the Blue Star Mothers of America Inc., a national group made up of mothers of service members and veterans.
Dorsey, who is married to Mike Dorsey, is the mother of three sons, including one Marine veteran, and a grandmother of two.
The Stark County woman has been first vice president of the group since last summer, and someday she would like to be president, she said.
“It is a way of giving back,” she said.
She joined after her youngest son, Matt Dorsey, joined the Marine Corps in 2005.
Matt Dorsey, now 26, served in the Marines until 2008. He was deployed to Okinawa during his enlistment. The 2005 graduate of Lake High School is now a student in graphic design and photography at Stark State College.
The national group was founded in January 1942 and works on causes related to members of the military and veterans. It has 13,500 members nationally.
The name comes from the blue-star banners flown in the windows of the homes of people who have a loved one serving in the Armed Services. Gold-star banners are flown in the homes of those who have lost loved ones in war.
Dorsey, a native of Nicholas County, Ky., worked with Gold Star families while third vice president.
The Canton-Akron Chapter No. 2 raised $3,000 to sponsor a room in the still-under-construction Valor Home, a homeless shelter for veterans in Akron that is expected to be opened this spring.
“We all have sons and daughters who have stood in line ready to take a bullet,” said Dorsey, who worked for Kmart for nearly a decade.
“In this day and age, our sons and daughters don’t have to serve. You have to sign up. It’s voluntary.”
She said her father and her husband’s father served in the Army during World War II. Her father, the late Walter Huddleson of Kentucky, fought in the Battle of the Bulge, and her father-in-law, Aaron Dorsey served during the war, as well.
Matt Dorsey said it is great what his mother is doing with the group.
“She has always been a big part of everything I’ve ever done,” he said.
And he said, his mother is always thankful to him for giving her a chance to get involved in the Blue Star Mothers group.
He said when his mother worked at Kmart, she helped gather 40 pounds of items from co-workers to send to him in Japan.
Judy Dorsey said it is good to have a group made up of military mothers.
“I found that no one understands what it is like unless you are another military mom,” she said. “We are a tight-knit group. We stand up for each other. We support each other. We love each other. We are sisters.”
Along with aid to Valor Home, the group helps veterans in many other ways. When the USO of Northern Ohio’s Stark County facility was open, volunteers from the 70-member group assisted there.
The group’s big fundraiser of the year — Wacky Bowling — will be at 9 p.m. March 2 at Park Center Lanes in Jackson Township. Tickets are $40 per couple.
Associate memberships in the group are available for Blue Star fathers and others.
Dues are $20 a year. The group meets at 6:30 p.m. the first Tuesday of the month at the DeHoff Building at 821 S. Main St. in North Canton.
For more information, go to the local chapter’s website www.bluestarmothers.net or the national website www.bluestarmothers.org. To contact someone at the Canton-Akron Chapter, call 330-312-3655 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jim Carney can be reached at 330-996-3576 or at email@example.com.