Tiffin U to honor military service as part of 9/11 anniversary events

Tiffin University will observe 9/11 by thanking military members past and present and their families.

The ceremony is to take place at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in Chisholm Auditorium in Franks Hall on the TU.

John Schupp, TU’s assistant professor of chemistry and student veteran advisor, is to host mothers from the Blue Star Mothers Association in Bellevue.

Barb Cook, president of the

Bellevue chapter, joined the organization when her son, Dustin Leck, enlisted in the Army.

Leck did not enlist right out of high school, Cook said. He enlisted after being laid off from his job.

“He told me that he wanted to enlist and that he was going to do this,” Cook said. “June 23 is a day that I will never forget. It was the day we took him to boot camp. We were all full of so many emotions. He was going off to boot camp and to serve our country. I was so proud of him, but inside I was scared.”

Leck has been deployed twice.

“What you need to remember as a mom is to be strong, they need you just as much. They are scared as much as you are if not more,” Cook said. “I am very fortunate to have Skype. I cherish the time I get to say ‘hi’ to him.”

The Blue Star Mothers Association began in 1943. During World War II, the mothers of this association across the country worked in hospitals, train stations, packed care packages and even worked for homeland security during times of war. It is a group of mothers of soldiers who volunteer civilian services and take pride in their connection to the armed forces.

“Mothers will share their stories of when their children decided to enlist in the military,” Schupp said. “We plan on having one from each era of this latest conflict.”

The goal of having one mother’s story from each era: close to 9/11, during the initial surge, and from 2010 or later, is to give different perspectives of dealing with a child declaring they want to defend the nation during a time of war.

Another goal is to show how veterans are viewed when they return home.

Dawn Woodings is a mother of four children, one of which, Justin Snider, enlisted in the Army in 2008.

“I cried. I was devastated, and scared beyond breathing most days,” Woodings said. “I was working when he called me to tell he had decided to join the Army.”

Woodings is the president of the Lorain County chapter of Home Front Moms. She is also serving as 1st Vice President for the Department of Ohio Blue Star Mothers of America acting as Protem President.

She holds monthly meetings, organizes fundraisers, attends public ceremonies, writes letters to corporations and companies requesting assistance for supplies to send to troops and presents gold stars to the parents or wives of a fallen hero.

“During the time that Justin enlisted, I had a grand-daughter of about 5 years old that waited at the Cleveland Clinic in ICU on a ventilator waiting for a heart transplant,” Woodings said. “I felt more than what I could ever bare.”

Woodings said that Justin enlisted due to a close friend who had died while deployed in Iraq.

“I believe he felt it was his duty to go and replace him,” Woodings said. “A lot of them will do this if they know someone personally.”

Woodings said that Justin has three years left of “inactive service” where he can be called back at any time.

“I knew when my son enlisted he was doing it for the right reasons,” Woodings said. “For that I am grateful. I am grateful for his bravery, his dedication, and his sacrifices. He opened my heart and my eyes to a world worth being in. The life of a military mom, a Blue Star Mom.