A Salute to Gold Star Families
It’s a job that no one wants, being a surviving family member to those who sacrificed their lives serving our nation’s military. Today, the Ocean Springs Lions Club hosted a Salute to Gold Star Families.
“Dallas was my oldest son. He’s my only son. He is my favorite son. He was a wonderful child and he went into the military. He wasn’t really sure what he wanted to do. I know that he wanted to be a chemist only because he came out of the bathroom one day going ‘hey mom, guess what? Lysol is flammable.’” That’s how Stacey Wheatley remembers her late son, Dallas. Dallas was 31-years-old when he died in a motorcycle crash. He was an active member of the Air Force and his death left his mother with the title of Gold Star Family Member. “The Gold Stars are the club that you don’t want to be in and that is when an immediate family member has died in the military. They have so graciously recently opened it up so it is not just people who were killed in action, but it also includes anyone who was active in the military, but also the ones who commit suicide.”
Having the support of other Gold Star families has helped Stacey cope with the loss of her only son which is something she says has been extremely difficult. “The Gold Star families have been very helpful, have been my backbone and my strength. They have been there for me when no one else really understood.”
Although Dallas is gone, his memory will live on through those who knew him best. “He was a very giving and loving man. He was spectacular. Everyone who met him loved him. He had a great sense of humor. He was the jokester. He was just kind to everyone.”