10 Year Anniversary of the R.I. Blue Star Moms: Letter from President Rhonda Ziehl

Hi Sisters

10 years ago this month 8 mom’s got together in a restaurant to provide love, friendship, a shoulder and support to each other as their children deployed.

Imagine where we would be today without these extraordinary 8 women who cared enough about each other to form the RI Blue Star Moms Chapter.

The original founders were Donna Ponte, Joyce Courtney, Sue Lavoie., Lisa Normandy, Marcia Buehner, Lynn Sampson, Mary Ellen Cimino & Rennie Simmons.

MaryEllen & Rennie continue to be active today and everyday for the past 10 years!

We all have our unique story of how we found out about the RI Blue Star Moms. I believe I would still be searching for comfort if a dear friend (Tom Poole) hadn’t clued me in to this wonderful Group!

Everyday I am thankful to our Endowing Eight for caring enough about each other to start the RI Chapter! They have helped us grow, provide guidance, laughter, comedy and most of all compassion as we all share our deepest
thoughts, feelings and emotions.

Thank you doesn’t convey the depth of my gratitude


– Check out our webpage for the story behind our founding written by Rennie Simmons:

Our History



A Blue Star Mom Shares Her Story


To All Blue Star Moms,

When I got this email asking to update my son’s address for a Christmas package it brought back such a good memory for me when last year held not much more than worry, anxiety and angst. Last year my boy was deployed and I never thought I would make it through the year…as a matter of fact sometimes I almost did not.

I reached out several times to the Blue Star moms for comfort and that is exactly what I got. To my surprise on the end of the phone line I found someone who knew and understood that the sight of coffee syrup on the grocery shelf was reducing me to tears. She knew that it is likely, acceptable and expected to wake up in the morning and burst into tears, just because the sun was shining or the snow was beautiful or there were left over lunch bags that might go used.

Then I got the email about packages for Christmas. I sent in my son’s deployment address. Shortly after that I received a call from my son. He was laughing and happy, a much different tone from that which I had become accustomed. He began to describe a scene at base camp of a soldier waking past him. As my son passed the solider he immediately noticed the coffee syrup under his arm. My son came to an abrupt stop and pointing to the coffee syrup asked the solider “where did you get that?” The solider said “over there Sir, there is a package with your name on it” My son rushed over and saw what he described to me as a large container of RI. He told about his excitement in discovering everything RI. He told his soldiers “you don’t understand this is how I grew up!!”

My son spent the next few minutes laughing with the soldiers and telling stories about RI and these things that were so special to him. He told them about the coffee syrup and how it is used (they thought it was a coffee additive) the Dels Lemonade mix, the Providence Journal, Paw Sox and Red Sox games and all of the other special items in the package.

This gift from the Blue Star moms made his Christmas and the resulting phone call from him lifted my deployment depression, if just for a little bit.

Thank you Blue Star Moms!!

Much love and gratitude

Rose Bottari


Letter to All Blue Star Moms

Dear Blue Star Moms – Past, Present and Future

We want to continue our growth as an organization.  Not only in membership but also in our combined experiences so we can continue to help each other through the ups and downs of our children’s honorable career choice.

We didn’t just send our children to college, or help them pack for their new apartment for a new job in a new city.

We helped our children prepare to serve our great Nation as a member of our honorable Military branches.

We have burst into tears in the grocery store because our child’s favorite snack is on sale, when a song comes on the radio, National News broadcasts and especially when the National Anthem is played.

Together we bow our heads and pray for the safety of all our military in foreign lands, we have shed tears for a fallen soldier we don’t know and for the Gold Star families left behind.

Together we have helped each other survive and celebrate the major milestones of our children’s lives. From leaving for basic training, deployments, how to handle the changes in our children when they come back from deployment, marriages, divorces, moves across the country and the world and births of grandchildren.  We understand the real definition of anxiety!!

We are lucky that we have a wide aray of membership.  We have Veterans, Active Duty, Guard, Reserve, Air Force, Marines, Army & Navy moms.

We are not here just for the deployments or bad times.  We are only as strong as the COMBINED experiences of our moms.  We continue to learn from each others viewpoints and experiences

We are a family.  We have our differences of opinion, personality and agendas but we are still a family!  We understand the feelings that sometimes can’t be spoken, we understand the power of a hug or a smile or a quick text.

If you can’t attend a meeting please contribute via email or we can have people phone in and use speakerphone.  Everyone has something to contribute

We need our past and present members to be active in the RI Blue Star Moms so we can continue to provide support for current and future moms!

We look forward to seeing you at our next meeting which will be at 6 pm on the 3rd Tuesday of the month at Beacon Mutual Insurance Company located at One Beacon Centre, Warwick


Cindy, Rennie, Rhonda, Ellen & Ann

2014-15 RI Blue Star Moms Officers