By Debby Schoeningh
Local veterans Jimm Mooney and Daren Spencer have
collaborated to offer “Blue Stars for a Safe Return” to show citizen support
for our troops overseas.
Mooney served 14 years in the Army and Navy and wanted to
show his support not only for his son, Sp. Marcus Mooney with the National
Guard who is leaving for Iraq Dec. 31, but for all of the soldiers serving our
Jimm gleaned the idea from an article he had read about a
World War II veteran whose mother had placed three stars in her window for her
sons at war.
“I thought it was a great tradition, but my pride in my
country, and my son’s dedication made me want to do a little more,” said Jimm,
and he began sketching his rendition of “Blue Stars for a Safe Return.”
He gave the sketch to Spencer, a professional photographer
and artist, who donated his time to transform the sketch into a work of art,
which is being used on magnets, laminated window displays and window stickers.
“I was in the
Navy from 1962-1966, 4 1/2 years, and served off the Vietnam Coast,” said
Spencer. “Being an ex-serviceman is one reason I decided to help with this
project. I think it helps to let the troops know that we are behind them.”
Jimm’s goal is to
have families and friends of those in the military overseas display Blue Stars
all over the country. However, he said it is not his intent to sell massive
quantities of these items at retail prices. He is encouraging military support
groups to purchase the items at wholesale and use them in their fund-raising
Jimm said he chose the Flag because he believes in our
country, and is proud of being an American; the Eagle because it represents
freedom, strength, and the ability to rise above adversity; the Branch is all of us here
at home, being lifted up and supported by the Eagle and the Flag, praying for a
safe return of a loved one; the Gold Ring, like a wedding ring, is our link to
a loved one, or friend in the military someplace around the world; and the Star
of course is that individual, or individuals, who are away but still in our
hearts and prayers every day.
“The idea is to
keep the profit margin as low as we can, and still be able to accomplish what
we want to with them,” said Jimm. “I want to get these out all across America,
but not at the expense of making them too commercialized.”
He said the Blue
Stars for a Safe Return are not meant to replace the existing Blue Star Banners
or undermine their importance, but are designed to offer another means of
showing support and prayers for our troops.
Along with the
Blue Stars, they are offering Gold Stars, which were also used in World War II
to let others know they had suffered a loss, inscribed with the words “Lost but
The items are
available online at http://www.bluestarsforsafereturn.com
thanks to Louise Shreffler, a local Web designer who donated her services to
“I think Jimm’s
idea is wonderful. Not only does it support our troops, but it also shows that
we appreciate them and we are praying for them,” said Louise.
The 8.5” x 11”
laminated window displays are $5.95, magnets are $4.25 and window stickers, $1
each or free with the purchase of a window display. The Blue Star window
display can also be traded in for a Gold Star display at no cost.
They hope to
expand the line of Blue Star products in the near future, as people make
requests, to include items like T-shirts and hats, and are looking into the
possibility of personalizing the window displays with the soldier’s name and
branch of service.
They recently sent special 11x14
editions of the Blue and Gold Stars along with an 8x10 edition of what the
design represents and a letter to President Bush.
“As commander in chief we felt like he should have a copy,”
said Jimm. “We sent both because unfortunately, there have already been casualties.”