• Gold Star family members sit with soldiers at a luncheon a ceremony hosted by 3rd Infantry Division, at Club Stewart, Fort Stewart, Ga., April 11, 2014.  Gold Star family members are surviving spouses, parents and immediate family members of service members who died while on active duty. (U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. Joshua Laidacker, 4th IBCT, 3rd ID, Public Affairs)

    3rd ID recognizes Gold Star family members

    Gold Star family members sit with soldiers at a luncheon a ceremony hosted by 3rd Infantry Division, at Club Stewart, Fort Stewart, Ga., April 11, 2014. Gold Star family members are surviving spouses, parents and immediate family members of service...

  • Maj. Gen. John M. Murray speaks briefly with a Gold Star family member during the recognition part of a ceremony for Gold Star family members hosted by 3rd Infantry Division, at Club Stewart, Fort Stewart, Ga., April 11, 2014. Gold Star family members are surviving spouses, parents and immediate family members of service members who died while on active duty. (U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. Joshua Laidacker, 4th IBCT, 3rd ID, Public Affairs)

    3rd ID recognizes Gold Star family members

    Maj. Gen. John M. Murray speaks briefly with a Gold Star family member during the recognition part of a ceremony for Gold Star family members hosted by 3rd Infantry Division, at Club Stewart, Fort Stewart, Ga., April 11, 2014. Gold Star family members...

FORT STEWART, Ga. - Gold Star family members were recognized in a luncheon and ceremony, facilitated by the Survivor Outreach Services, at Club Stewart, Fort Stewart, Ga., April 11, 2014.

Gold Star family members are surviving spouses, parents and immediate family members of service members from any branch who died while on active duty.

"The basic message that I really want to convey today is that you're still part of our family," said Maj. Gen. John M. Murray, commanding general of the 3rd Infantry Division. "I can assure you, there is no greater cause than to support the families of our heroes who have died while serving this great nation."

In the ceremony, Murray and Command Sgt. Maj. Christopher Gilpin, the senior noncommissioned officer of 3rd ID, presented surviving spouses with Survivor Outreach Services coins and surviving family members with a Gold Star pin.

"This makes me feel that we're not forgotten," said Carol Lumpkin, wife of Sgt. Johnny Lumpkin, a 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team soldier who died in Iraq in 2010.

In the ceremony, soldiers ushered Gold Star family members to the front to be recognized. Lumpkin asked that Spc. Robert Cousins, a field artillery surveyor and meteorological crewmember with 1st Battalion, 41st Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd ID, be her usher.

"I'm his momma," said Lumpkin, who calls Cousins her son.

"I feel like family to them," said Cousins, a native of Danforth, Maine, of the Lumpkin family. "Her husband was in my unit."

"He's like a bad cold that won't go away, so we just let him stay," joked Lumpkin.

Although there were 21 Gold Star family members recognized at the event, they only represent a fraction of the more than 2,000 families the Fort Stewart Survivor Outreach Service program provides assistance to.

"We will stop at nothing to provide you the support and the continuity that you so much deserve," said Murray in his address to the family members.

Cousins' attitude about how Gold Star family members should be supported mirrored Murray's words.

"Even though that spouse may be gone, we're still here for them," Cousins said.

"Thank you for the service your family members devoted to this great nation," Murray concluded. "It is truly my honor to be with you today."

Page last updated Mon April 14th, 2014 at 00:00