Gold Star Mothers Day is the last Sunday in September every year. It is the day mothers who have lost children while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces are honored.

Sunday evening a candlelight ceremony was hosted by the Lake Havasu Military Moms to honor Gold Star Mothers everywhere.

The Colors were presented by the Marine Corps League Honor Guard. Sisto Sandoval, chaplain for the Vietnam Veterans of American Chapter 975, offered a prayer.

The ceremony was emceed by Bud Watts, Commander of the Disabled American Veterans of Lake Havasu. Mayor Mark Nexsen read a proclamation honoring Gold Star Mothers. Arizona State Rep. Sonny Borrelli, Arizona State Sen. Kelli Ward, and Marine Corps League Detachment 757 Commandant Frank Blain each offered words of comfort to the Gold Star Mothers present. The main speaker was Lake Havasu U.S. Navy Recruiter Rich Crayne.

 Gold Star Mothers Janet Meehan, Mona Hester, Karen Tillery, and Lori Deysie. Photo Ron Silva

Gold Star Mothers Janet Meehan, Mona Hester, Karen Tillery, and Lori Deysie. Photo Ron Silva

Lori Deysie lost her son, Army PFC Tyler Deysie on May 9, 2008. Tyler was 18 years old when he was killed in a grenade attack in Afghanistan’s Paktia Province. Military Mom Kim Nier lit a candle in honor of Tyler.

Mona Hester lost a son and a daughter, as well as a son-in-law, while all three were serving in the Air Force. Staff Sgt. Jamie Hester was killed while disarming a bomb during exercises in April 1985. Tech Sgt. Evelyn Hester-Swigert died in September 2000 of leukemia contracted while living on a refueling base. Mona’s son-in-law, Sgt. Hector Jimenez, died when his jet was shot down while refueling in Kuwait in May 1999. Sisto Sandoval lit a candle in honor of the three.

Janet Mahan lost her son-in-law, Army Staff Sgt. Carl Eric Hammar, on July 14, 2012. He was 24 when he was killed by enemy small arms fire in Khost Province, Afghanistan. Sen. Ward lit a candle in honor of Eric.

Nancy Sausto lost her son, Army Pvt. Anthony J. Sausto, on May 10, 2007. He was 22 when he was killed by enemy fire in Baghdad, Iraq. Rich Crayne, CPO US Navy, lit a candle in honor of Anthony.

Karen Tillery lost her daughter, Airman Kristin Michelle Zettelmier, on July 28, 2000. Kristin was assigned to the 729th Air Control Squadron of Hill Air Force Base, Utah. Kristin passed away in Glendale, Ariz., on a six-week special assignment at Luke Air Force base at the age of 21. Karen’s sister, Cindy Keasey, lit a candle in her honor.

Debbie Tinnell lost her son, Army Pvt. First Class Patrick A. Tinnell, on April 19, 2006, in Siniyah, Iraq. He was 25 when an IED detonated during a dismounted combat patrol. Mayor Mark Nexsen lit a candle in his honor.

The quiet and solemn ceremony ended with the Marine Corps League’s rifle salute, followed by Taps, and the extinguishing of the candles.


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