74th Annual Gold Star Wives of America National Convention


By: Megan Way | Photos by Su Phelps & Lawrence Oravetz
Through July 11th to 13th, more gold star wives than ever, all with their signature white caps and yellow jackets, from around the nation flew to Las Vegas. Why? On these days the 74th Annual Gold Star Wives of America National Convention took place at the Luxor Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip and gold star wives from different areas of USA came to the occasion. Almost 100 GSW members attended the convention This convention has been done annually since the organization was founded in 1945. At the conventions Gold Star Wives whose husbands have died to service-related issue, mingle and listen to presentations by a few keynote speakers. Although it isn’t just fun and games, during these conventions, the board members, National President and Chaplain attend a business meeting, exchange their annual reports, discuss future conventions and swear in people for new officers and board positions.
The New National Officers: Chaplain Minnie Keys, Historian Sun Benjamin, Parliamentarian Tracy Koehlmoos, Treasurer Betty Crawford, Secretary Judi VanCleve, Vice Pres. Linda Cafferty, President Nancy Menagh. Newly elect National GSW President Nancy Menagh says she hopes the new generation of officers exceed her expectations for this new year.
At the convention, numerous representatives of Congresspeople, Senators and State officials presented National President of GSW and the heart of the convention Crystal Wenum certificates of recognition and greeting letters. Including; Representatives of Governor Steve Sisolak (who gave a greeting letter that was read by Su Phelps), U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, U.S. Senator Jackie Rosen, Congresswoman Dina Titus, Congresswoman Susie Lee.
Rev. Fogg VFW Chapter 36 Commander led everyone in opening prayer on Friday before GSW members participated in a Red Rose Ceremony, where every member holds a rose and remembers their spouses. Color Guard from Post 76 presented the colors for the whole convention. Later in the convention on Saturday, members participated in a Yellow Rose Ceremony, this time, in memory of their fellow members.
Crystal Wenum says “Gold Star Widows/Widowers have been survivors but with this organization we are never alone. We have families that have been surrounded by grief and torn apart in ways that only another survivor can know. We have found friends and strangers who have helped us in our journey to deal and live with the many new ways that our lives have changed.; Our membership is very diverse in age, race, creed, religion, and in the many areas we live in. The one thing we have in common is the loss of our spouse while serving our country or as a result of service-connected illnesses or disabilities.”
To close the meeting Myra Tolo, brought in hula dancers for everyone to enjoy before they left.
Interested in joining Gold Star Wives or have a question to ask? Go to goldstarwives.org to look into memberships, contacts and current GSW news.