They are often the forgotten ones in the war, not the constantly updated number of those killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, or even the men and women serving there, but the wounded, who come home forever changed. One Tulsa mother has vowed to make a difference by visiting injured troops in military hospitals, and The News On 6â€™s Heather Lewin reports she has an unusual method to bring some cheer.
"There are kids out there that don't get letters and packages from home, and I just can't imagine being wounded in one of these hospitals and not getting mail on some kind of regular basis," Blue Star Mother Lynne Mushenski said.
So the Tulsa Blue Star Mom started sending packages, but felt it still wasn't enough, so she decided to visit in person. Thatâ€™s when she and dozens of other moms made a plan to take the troops from the rough and tumble world of combat to tea time.
"It was an old fashioned English tea party, we served about 550 wounded," Mushenski said.
With donated china and three types of tea, they headed for Fort Sam Houston's burn center, and while some might think soldiers and tea parties don't go togetherâ€¦
"It's surprising the number of them who knew exactly what was going on. And they were checking the tea cups to see if it was this manufacturer or that one, they knew what kind of tea they wanted it was unbelievable," said Mushenski.
Mushenski says the event was such a change in their routines that it took the soldiersâ€™ minds off their injuries for a little while. It was the same reaction at Walter Reed hospital, where Mushenski got the local Outback Steakhouse to donate 350 meals for a family cookout. She remembers one soldier who just kept thanking her over and over.
"He says it was such an absolute treasure for them to be able to be outside spending quality time in a fun, family environment," Mushenski said.
Mushenski's own son is about to retire from the Navy. She says she'll continue being a Blue Star Mom because it's so important to give something back.
"The amputees and the burn victims, they're never gonna be the same, and they need to know that they're loved and accepted and their sacrifices are definitely appreciated," she said.
The idea for the soldiers' tea party started in New York.
If you'd like to send letters of support, or needed items to hospitalized servicemen and women contact Blue Star Moms at 918-834-7777, or visit their website, www.okbluestarmothers.org