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Kearns expands S.A.L.U.T.E.S. program to include Gold Star families

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Fri, Sep 28th 2018 03:30 pm
Kearns creates new discount program honoring fallen through partnership with American Gold Star Mothers & local businesses
Erie County Clerk Mickey Kearns announced the creation of "Honoring the Fallen," the newest initiative in the Erie County Clerk's S.A.L.U.T.E.S. (Showing Appreciation, Loyalty, and Unity Towards Erie County Servicemembers) program. This initiative is designed to give discounts from local businesses to the mothers, fathers and spouses of Erie County soldiers who have been killed in action.
"It has been my privilege to partner with the American Gold Star Mothers to create 'Honoring the Fallen.' This new program is designed to provide support to local Gold Star Families, and I am proud of the business owners and leaders in our community who have reached out to join the program and give back," Kearns said. "It is vital that we as a community never forget the ultimate sacrifice our military men and women make to preserve our freedom."
Currently, more than 250 Erie County businesses have signed up to give discounts ranging from 10 to 25 percent to family members with the discount card. Business enrollment for "Honoring the Fallen" is open year-round, and local merchants are encouraged to sign up with the clerk's office. The card, issued by the office, displays the American Gold Star Mothers logo, an issue number, the family name, and a photograph of the fallen soldier.
"It is truly heartwarming that the participating local businesses recognize and are willing to extend a discount or service to our Gold Star Families for the sacrifice made in the loss of our children," said Holly Baker, president of the New York Chapter of American Gold Star Mothers. Baker's son, Brian, was killed in action during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004.
Kearns was joined by Baker; Dr. John Long, ambassador for the Buffalo and Erie County Military and Naval Park; and Terry McGuire, chairman of the board for Buffalo and Erie County Military Naval Park.
"No one can imagine the devastating shock when a soldier's mother is notified she has lost a son or daughter in the service of our country. Gold Star Mothers are very special, and County Clerk Kearns is to be commended for creating a special tribute to all Gold Star Families in Erie County," Long said.
"I appreciate the dedication of Ms. Baker and Dr. Long," Kearns said. "Without their input and guidance, we would not be here today. It is crucial for our community to recognize the sacrifice of our military families. I hope this new initiative reminds us that freedom is not free."
In Erie County, there are 36 Gold Star Families.
Families will receive their discount cards and participating merchant booklets at the Buffalo and Erie County Military and Naval Park's Gold Star Families Event on Sunday, Sept. 30.
Gold Star Mothers' Day is the last Sunday in September.

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