As the Survivor Outreach Services (SOS) program continues to expand and touch the lives of those whose loved ones died in combat or with service related complications, it is targeting the surviving children for a ceremony in May.
"We're trying to reach out to families," said Suzanne Crosby, SOS support coordinator about a Gold Medal Remembrance ceremony, now in early planning.
Crosby is working to reach as many families who qualify for the designation as possible.
This ceremony will be specifically for those children whose parent or step-parent has died during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.
While Crosby knows of some children in the area, she is sure there are others she does not know about.
The surviving parent must provide documentation such as a birth certificate in the case of a birth parent, a marriage license of the child's parent to the service member indicating a legal step-parent relationship or an amended birth certificate in the case of an adopted child.
Once the relationship has been verified, the child will be invited to the ceremony, the date of which has not been finalized.
Children will receive the Gold Medal of Remembrance, which "was created by the Director of the White House Commission on Remembrance to recognize and honor children who have lost a mother or father in service to our country. The medal is the first of its kind to honor children. It serves as a reminder that casualties are found on the home front as well as the battlefield. While nothing can replace the loss of a parent, the Commission wants to recognize and honor children who have lost a parent in Operation Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. This medal is a salute to them," according to a fact sheet on the medal.
To learn more about the ceremony and medal, call Crosby at (706) 787-4767 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.