Fundraising underway for memorial to Gold Star Families

Fundraising underway for memorial to Gold Star Families


Mary K. Talbot

“When you lose a child, you lose a part of your heart,” says Regina Roberts.

Her daughter, Lance Cpl. Holly Charette, of Cranston, was the first female Marine killed in Iraq, in 2005. 

“No one knows what you go through,” Roberts says, with the exception of other families who have walked the same path.

When Holly died, Roberts became a Gold Star Mother. She feels the pain of losing her daughter every day. 

Roberts misses her daughter’s laugh, her smile, her companionship and her voice.

Holly loved to sing.

“Sitting in the car, listening to music. … If certain songs come on, I have to sing them out loud because I know she would be too,” Roberts says.

The deep yearning for loved ones lost in service to our country is an experience that many Rhode Islanders share. 

Immediate family members of fallen service members are called Gold Star Families. While it’s a designation that no mother, father, husband, wife or child wants, “There are a lot more Gold Star Families than people realize in Rhode Island,” says Roberts. 

Twice a year, Rhode Island Director of Veterans Affairs Kasim Yarn joins other veterans’ affairs directors from across the country to exchange ideas and discuss best practices.  At one of those pre-COVID gatherings, he met veteran Hershel “Woody” Williams, who is leading a national movement to recognize the continuing sacrifices made by Gold Star Families. 



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