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Dozens honor Capital Region families on Gold Star Family's Day

September 29, 2019 11:40 PM

ALBANY - Dozens of Gold Star Mothers and Families gathered in West Capitol Part in Albany on Sunday to honor their fallen service members.

One of the Gold Star Mothers NewsChannel 13 spoke with said she never wanted to be a part of this family, nevertheless she said being around other Gold Star Families makes it easier to carry on the memories of their children.

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“Days like today, it’s bittersweet, it’s bittersweet. It’s wonderful to remember them, but that also touches your heart when you see everybody that comes out to help us remember,” Dawn Martin said.

Martin lost her son Marine Sgt. Shawn Martin in Iraq 12 years ago.

In the year following Shawn’s death Martin was asked to volunteer with the Marines on the Toys for Tots train. She and her daughter decided to make blankets for kids in need.

Eleven years and 8,000 blankets later, “Uncle Shawn’s Hugs” is still going strong. Martin said she’s made sure each child knows where their inspiration came from.

“When we wrap one of those fleece blankets around the child we also have tagged those blankets and they say, 'You’ve been hugged by Uncle Shawn,' because he was a big guy with big arms and he hugged everybody,” Martin said.

Cindy Roberts is the President of the American Gold Star Mother’s Albany Chapter. Roberts' daughter Sgt. Kristie Roberts was a medic in the National Guard. She took her own life in 2012.

Though suicide prevention may be top of mind during the month of September and on Gold Star Family’s Day, Roberts said it’s something that needs to be talked about every day among everyone.

“Whether you just want to sit and listen or have a cup of coffee or a text, check in on people it is so important for us and we just feel like it’s important not just for our military but it’s everybody,” Roberts said.

You can find more information on how to help Gold Star Families here.

Credits

Emily Burkhard

Copyright 2019 WNYT-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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