Gold Star families to be honored this weekend

    The Gold Star Service Banner that hangs in Starla Owens' front window is a constant reminder of her family's sacrifice.

    "Two people come to your door, and they knock and when they show up in uniform, reality hits you," Owens said.

    For Starla, that reality was when her son, Specialist Joseph Lancour, was killed. He was in Afghanistan for only five months when his mission patrol was ambushed. He was only 21 years old.

    "I am a proud gold star mother and I hang that banner in the front window with pride," Owens said. "It shows my son gave his life."

    Chaplain Martinus goes along with a soldier to tell families that their loved ones have been killed.

    "It's probably the worst job you have to do but it's the most rewarding job because you get to represent the freedoms that their son or daughter fought for," he said.

    On Sunday, Martinus will be speaking at the first Gold Star Mothers and Families Day of Recognition, honoring those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

    Starla Owens will be there, with a photo of Joe in hand.

    "Every picture has a name and every name has a face," she said. "There will be a remembrance table for families to place pictures of their loved ones to put a face with the name and the name with the face."

    The day of recognition will be Sunday, September 27th at Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City from 2-4 p.m.

    "It's an honor to go and actually still serve the families that have sacrificed so much for our country," Martinus said.

    Gold star families are asked to bring a framed photo of their loved one to place on the remembrance table.

    There are nearly 200 gold star mothers in Michigan.

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