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Local Gold Star mother leads regional fundraising effort for statue

February 23, 2017 GMT

Gold Star Mother Starla Owens is leading a fundraising drive to honor northern Michigan’s Gold Star Mothers with a life-sized sculpture in Traverse City.

“We are excited about this project because it is to represent all the Gold Star Mothers and families of northern Michigan — from Clare to the upper parts of the Upper Peninsula,” said Owens, who is president of the Northern Michigan Blue to Gold Star Mothers and the mother of Army Spc. Joe Lancour of Ludington, who was killed in Afghanistan in November 2007. “We want to educate people on the gold stars.”

Owens, who lives in Bear Lake, said the program began during World War I when the mothers of men serving in America’s military were given flags to hang in their windows that carried blue stars for each serviceman in the family, up to five.

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“And if one was killed they put a gold star over the blue star,” Owens said.

The statue is planned as a way to honor the families in northern Michigan who have lost family members to war. “You are a Blue Star Mother before you are a Gold Star Mother.

“I understand your tears. I understand your grief,” Owens said about members of those families.

Her son, Army Spc. Joe Lancour was wounded during an ambush Nov. 9, 2007 and died of his wounds Nov. 10, 2007 while serving his country in Afghanistan. His actions that day earned Pfc. Joseph Lancour a promotion to Army specialist, a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart.

“In northern Michigan, we have approximately 30 Gold Star Mothers,” she said. “In the Traverse City area alone I know of five right off the top of my head.”

Read the full story in Thursday’s Ludington Daily News print and eEditions.