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BSF Weekly Round-Up for July 21, 2009

Blue Star Families, Blue Star VoicesBlue Star Families Weekly News Round-Up

All the Latest in Everything Blue Star Families

Welcome!   It’s been another busy week with Blue Star Families and we are proud to announce that Wanda Castellaw and Janet Breslin-Smith will be joining Sheila Casey on our Advisory Board.  We’re also incredibly proud of our own Chloe Karmarck and her Vouge.com article titled “Manhattan’s Army Wife”.  Check out the link and the ton of other news in this week’s roundup.

BSF-logo FINAL 71509We are working hard on the creation of our new Blue Star Families website and on-line community we expect to launch in early August.  Check out below how YOU can help make connecting together even easier and more exiting.

If you would like to subscribe to this weekly newsletter, just visit our Join Us page at http://www.BlueStarFam.org.  If you want BSF info and links to articles and events more than once a week with our Weekly News & Info Roundup, join us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and check out our Blue Star Families Blog

There’s a lot of excitement about Blue Star Families and the best way to make sure you are in the middle of it all is to join your local chapter.  Just shoot Vivian a note at members@bluestarfam.org and she’ll get you connected.

Enjoy! Heidi & the Blue Star Families Team

Attention Central Texas Blue Star Families ~ It’s House Party Time!

Mark your calendar and RSVP today!  The Central Texas chapter of Blue Star Families will be getting together Tuesday, July 28 from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm to meet new friends and talk about issues affecting military families and how we can serve as ambassadors within our communities, as well as make plans for some exciting events later this year.

To RSVP and for more info, shoot Andrea an email at texascentral@bluestarfam.org no later than July 26.

BSF Welcomes Wanda Castellaw and Janet Breslin-Smith to Our Advisory Board

BSF proudly welcomes Wanda Castellaw to our advisory board.  Mrs. Castellaw is a policy analyst for Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), where she has done critical work for the Army’s Strong Bonds marital retreat program.  She is the wife of Lt. Gen. John Castellaw, USMC (ret.)

We are also very happy to announce that Janet Breslin-Smith will be joining our advisory board.  Mrs. Breslin-Smith is an instructor at the National War College, has extensive congressional experience, and is currently consulting with the U.S. State Department.  She is the wife of Brig. Gen. James Smith, USAF (ret.)

BSF’s Own Chloe Karmarck Writes Terrific Article for VOUGE.Com

In her article, “Manhattan’s Army Wife”, Chloe writes about her journey from Park Avenue to military fiance and why military service is so important:

“One recent morning, as I rode the elevator up to my office, a colleague noticed the diamond ring on my finger and proceeded to excitedly ask all the standard wedding questions: When? Labor Day weekend. Where? Cape Cod. Who? An Army officer. Suddenly, it was as if a cartoon thought bubble popped into the air above her head that read, “#!?*” She shifted slightly on her four-inch heels, and someone in the back of the crowded elevator coughed….”

Check out our blog or to read the whole article, go to Vouge.com

Homecoming Photos Needed

We want to include YOUR homecoming photos in a BSF sideshow.  Send your favorites to stephanie@bluestarfam.org TODAY!

Talk to an Army Astronaut While He’s In Space

The Army is giving folks the chance to ask astronaut Col. Timothy Kopra questions during his six months as a flight engineer for Expedition 20.  For more info, check out the whole story here.

Tricare Beneficiary Podcasts & New Managed Care Support Contractors

For all the latest news about Tricare benefits, check out their Tricare Press Room It’s an easy way to keep up on what’s new, including Friday’s announcement of the selection of new managed care support contractors for the north, south and west regions in the US.  There’s also a library of back podcasts you can check out at any time.

Free Welcome Home Banner or Jumbo Card Offer from BuildASign.com

Check out this generous offer from the folks at Build A Sign.  They are planning to give away 20,000 banners and jumbo cards to military families this year!  For more details check out the site.

Discounted and Free Night at Hotels Across the Country for Volunteering (& 1/2 Price for Military!)

Sage Hospitality, one of the largest hotel development and management companies in the country, is saying thanks by offering 50% off the published room rate or maybe a complimentary night (limited availability) at one of their more than 50 hotels nation wide.  All you have to do is complete 8 hours of volunteer service to a registered 501(c)3 non profit organization to qualify.  For more info, check out their site.

Sage Hospitality also offers 1/2 price rates for active duty and retired military and first responders.  Check out the Half Price for Heroes page for more info.

Military Families Can Test Pilot Autism e-News at Two Naval Medical Centers

The Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, Va., and Naval Medical Center San Diego are pilot sites for a new e-mail-based communication service for military families that have a member with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). For more information, check out the full story here.

Job Placement Success Stories from MSCCN

There is a great organization called the Military Spouse Corporate Career Network that EVERYONE looking to change jobs or jump back into the paid and volunteer working world should know about.  MSCCN is a non-profit corporate direct hire program that provides a whole host of job opportunities and networking programs for military families.  Check out a few of their recent success stories and check out the rest of their site to get going on your job search if that’s the road you are headed down.

Yellow Ribbon Program Helps Reintegration

The Yellow Ribbon Reintegration program was established under the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act . The program’s goal is to prepare service members and their families for deployment, sustain the family and service member through deployment and help reintegrate them back into their civilian communities when they return.  Read more about this fantastic program on our blog.

EXCITING NEWS! New BSF Website and On-Line Community in the Works

We’ve been busy behind the scenes creating a new on-line community for BSF members and we expect to have it up August 1st.  But to build the best site we can, we need YOUR help!

VIDEOS: We want to hear AND see all our fantastic BSF members and give families with deployed service members a chance to shout out a special greeting to their loved one. Grab your video camera and record a 30 second max video and get it ready to upload to YouTube.  We really want to hear how BSF connects, supports and engages you as a military family.  For more details, email stephanie@bluestarfam.org.

PHOTOS: Send us 3 or 4 photos of you and your family at key military lifestyle points ~ weddings, deployments, homecomings etc…, and you might see them up on the new site.  High resolution is always best and no camera phone photos please (except iPhones).  Send your photos to stephanie@bluestarfam.org today!

BLOGGERS & WRITERS We’re going to be highlighting all the great stuff the BSF family does everyday, both as local chapters and as individuals.  Here’s your chance to jump in and help share these stories, both as a blogger and as an interviewer.  If you would like to be a guest blogger and can write from your own experience about the following lifestyles, please let Stephanie know by emailing her at stephanie@bluestarfam.org.

  • National Guard & Reserve
  • New to Military Life
  • Little Ones In Tow
  • In the Work Force
  • In For The Long Haul (military spouses of about 10 years or more)
  • When HE is the Spouse
  • Military Moms, Dads & Family
  • Veterans & Mentor Spouses
  • Civilians Who Support Us

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