Salute to Women honors two Gold Star Mothers

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – All week, News 18 has profiled women in our community who have been selected as YWCA’s Salute to Women honorees.

On Saturday, News 18′s Krista Henery brought you the story of Pam Mow and Dana Vann.

Both women lost their sons while they were fighting for our country. However, these two Gold Star Mothers have kept their sons’ spirits alive by giving back to our community.

Vann lost her son John in 2002. Mow’s son Cody was killed in 2007.

“You know, that is a life-altering event,” Mow explained. “I knew my life would never be the same. A life without your child is just a tragic event.”

“I’ll never forget when he graduated from his training and we went to his graduation,” Vann said. “Just seeing him in his uniform and how proud he was to be in the Air Force. He would just light up when he would talk about it.”

Mow and Vann never knew each other before their sons’ lives were cut short. Their paths would cross, though, and a special friendship would begin when both women got involved with the Lafayette Gold Star Mothers organization.

“From there it just kind of blossomed into what can we do now to stop just kind of the support part and be active in our community and possibly come up with a service project that would honor our sons,” Vann said.

In 2012, Vann and Mow led Lafayette’s first Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. Since then, hundreds of veterans have visited our nation’s capitol thanks to their service project.

Mow and Vann said whether it be at a fundraising event for Honor Flight, or on a flight itself, they’re able to keep their sons’ memory alive, while touching the lives of other veterans in our community.

“I know John would be so proud,” Vann explained. “He loved the military and I just kind of feel like when I’m around other veterans it’s a connection to him.”

“I take him with me,” Mow said. “I wear his dog tags and I have a picture of him on it. There is always a piece of him with us, but I can’t even tell you the blessings I feel.”

The women are currently planning Honor Flight number seven which is scheduled for May.

Two more flights are also being planned for this year.

Vann also serves as an ambassador for Wreaths Across America.

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