Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


St. Thomas’ Blue Star Supports Soldiers, Families

Published November 26, 2009

This is one of the many projects taken on by the active group since it was founded by Father Gregory Goolsby, pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas, in 2006. Blue Star’s purpose is to provide comfort and support to military personnel and their families in the community. Most, if not all, members have family serving in the armed forces, making this ministry particularly dear. The group meets on the first Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. at the church.

The homemade Christmas stockings, which the group began filling at the beginning of November, include requested items such as special food, toiletries, phone cards, videos, iTunes cards, books, and more. Each stocking will be individually packed and sent both deployed and stateside solders serving the country.

Blue Star raises funds for its various projects throughout the year with activities such as raffles and card signing with donation canisters. They also collect items to send to the soldiers, based on lists provided by the soldiers’ families or the commander of the unit sponsored by the group.

They send deployment and transitioning home packages to servicemen, as well as care packages throughout the year. For the past two years, the members worked through to send packages for Christmas. More recently, they are sponsoring A CO. 1-121 st IN (L), a unit out of Lawrenceville, as well as 50 servicemen from St. Thomas Aquinas.

On Oct. 31, they visited the family readiness group of the Lawrenceville unit at the Armory in that city and helped the families celebrate Halloween with their children. The group manned the tables and tickets while the families had fun. They also brought Christmas gifts for the military children and a large box of stuffed animals with cards donated by third-graders from Queen of Angels School, Roswell.

In another project Blue Star supported the Community Clinic at Camp Clark in Afghanistan, sending specific items to support the free medical care and humanitarian assistance needed to local Khowst citizens. St. Thomas Aquinas children made 15 blankets to send to the clinic, along with toiletries and medical items needed by the clinic.

Blue Star volunteers its services to the United Service Organization at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta twice a year. Volunteers spend the day (6:45 a.m. to 3 p.m.) greeting, feeding and supporting 200-300 soldiers. On that day, the group provides the lunch and snacks, with generous donations from local merchants such as Walmart, Kroger, Publix, Walgreens, Sam’s Club, and others.

Other groups such as the Boy/Girl Scouts, local school children from Queen of Angels School and art students at Boston Elementary School in Woodstock, seniors, small faith groups, and Sunday school classes have also contributed items and donations to the cause.

Card-signing events are held three times a year to allow parishioners and children to sign cards for the soldiers. Blue Star encourages people to do this monthly, as they can provide those wishing to write with the military address upon request. The group wants to make sure that people realize what these young men and women are doing for the country and the sacrifice and hardship on their families.

To assure that St. Thomas Aquinas parishioners remember the servicemen and their families in their prayers, the Blue Star Support Group maintains a permanent Soldier’s Prayer List, framed and visible for all to see at the church.

For more information about the Blue Star Support Group, contact co-chair Suzanne Huseman at