Service members recognized by Blue Star Mothers

Photo by Jordan W. Patterson The Blue Star Mothers Chapter 4 held its annual Gold Star Memorial Remembrance on Saturday. Members of the armed service from Chautauqua County who lost their live during service were honored at the annual memorial. Eighteen local armed service members and their families were honored during the Gold Star Service Memorial Remembrance.

JAMESTOWN — The fallen were lifted up and honored during the sixth annual Gold Star Memorial Remembrance on Saturday at Veterans Memorial Park in Jamestown.

“They went with songs to the battle, they were young,” words that were recited during the ceremony from a poem, “For The Fallen,” by Laurence Binyon.

Eighteen soldiers who lost their lives during armed service who were originally from Chautauqua County were honored.

Private Kenneth John Nelson, Captain Gordon Hess, Specialist Thomas G. Stone, Airman First Class Michael Emory, Sergeant Phillip M. Freligh, Sergeant Philip L. Witkowski, Sergeant James C. Matteson, Private Charles S. Cooper, Sergeant David W. Textor, Private First Class Patrick W. May, Lance Corporal Aaron M. Swanson, Sergeant Kevin W. White, Sergeant Jonathan A. Gollnitz, Lance Corporal Mason Vanderwork, Sergeant First Class Timothy D. Michalak, Staff Sergeant Michael A. Klose, Sergeant Jacqueline Goodwin Anderson and Staff Sergeant Joshua Thomas all served and lost their lives during modern combat.

Moder Warfare is classified as armed service from 1985 and on.

The event is organized by the Blue Star Mothers Chapter 4, which was founded in 2007 by mothers of active duty soldiers.

Their names, rank and families were honored during an official balloon released during the service followed by a 21-gun salute performed by local veterans organizations, which also provided Color Guard.

In attendance were Assemblyman Andy Goodell; Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi; and County Executive George Borrello. Eighteen local armed service members and their families were honored during the Gold Star Service Memorial Remembrance.

The local officials and representatives gave speeches reflecting Memorial Day and honored the sacrifice that the 18 local Gold Star Families have made. Many of them had family members who served and related their experiences to those gathered to honor the local veterans.

A speech given by the keynote speaker Gary A. Chillcott, retired colonel of theU.S. Air Force who served for 28 years, emphasized that all the local soldiers who died all “had a family and a dream.”

“For The Fallen,” was recited and referenced during the ceremony that read “at the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.” Something Susan Rowley, president of the Blue Star Mothers Chapter 4, emphasized.

“This is such an important day and weekend for the Gold Star families,” she said. “To know that it’s not just a weekend to (start) summer. It’s not just a weekend for sales and for picnics, but it’s a weekend to remember the sacrifices their children and (the families) have made … and all their sacrifices they have made for each one of us. It’s just important that they realize that they realize we are never ever going to forget.”

The day featured vocal, violin tributes, as well as a bagpipe benediction. The local Patriot Guard were presented holding flags throughout the ceremony on the perimeter of the service.

Also on Saturday, and announced during the ceremony, a new website honoring the 18 lives was launched. The website,, was created to honor the veterans who lost their lives year-round, instead of just during the Memorial Day weekend. The website and the memorial service was organized by Rowley and the Blue Star Mothers Chapter 4, Barb Cessna, from The Fenton History Center; Cindy Reidy, of the Dwyer Program; Greg Carlsons, of Veterans Services; and Dan Lombardozzi, web designer and Desert Storm Veteran.

Rowley said it was Cessna’s vision that ensured the creation of the website.

With the ceremony and the website, members from the Blue Star Mothers Chapter 4 and all the veterans organizations ensured that the fallen would be remembered.