Blue Star mom

Leanne Robertson, left, looks up at the television screen at Tucson International Airport, eagerly awaiting the arrival of her son who has been serving in Afghanistan for the last six months. As a member of the Blue Star Moms of America, Robertson says she receives support by talking to other mothers of soldiers.

Thelma Grimes/The Explorer

A mother’s love is unconditional, and a mother’s tendency to worry is endless, especially when she has a son or daughter serving in a combat zone.

For Marana mom Leanne Robertson, the wait last week was excruciating as she anticipated her son’s arrival after being in Afghanistan for the last six months.

Her son, a 39-year-old member of the U.S. Army, came home on Friday for a mid-tour leave. He will return for the remaining six months of his yearlong tour after spending time with his mother and fiancé, Kristy Pottratz.

On Wednesday, Robertson said she was going crazy thinking about where he was, and wondering when he would return to the United States.

On Friday, Robertson said it was worse as she was growing increasingly impatient and nervous as she awaited the phone call telling her when he would be leaving Dallas in a plane destined for Tucson.

Sitting at the Tucson International Airport just after 5 p.m., Robertson watched as every plane arrived. At last, her wait ended that night when her son stepped off the plane for their long-awaited reunion.

Robertson said one of the only things helping her get through the days leading up to his arrival was having her future daughter-in-law there with her.

With her son serving multiple tours in Iraq, South Korea and Afghanistan during his 14-year career, Robertson said she is thankful for the support she has received by being a member of the Blue Star Moms of America group.

Robertson said Blue Star Moms is about getting support from other moms of soldiers. Any mother who has a son or daughter in the military is welcome to join, it’s not just about soldiers overseas, she said.

“This group gives you someone who understands what you are going through,” she said. “When a soldier has a wife, the mother kind of becomes secondary.”

The Blue Star Moms do not endorse any particular candidate or party platform at any level of government. When it comes to politics, the only thing the group will support is bi-partisan legislation that improves the welfare of active-duty troops, veterans and their families.

Robertson is a member of the Arizona Blue Star Moms Chapter 2. She spends a lot of time focusing on making sure troops serving tours overseas are taken care of.

A reality of the military is that 18 percent of those enlisting are coming out of the foster care system, which means few of them have families. Robertson said it is these soldiers who need, and deserve, care packages.

Meeting those simple needs is important to the Blue Star Moms, who send packages full of toothpaste, magazines, books, body wipes, batteries and other items to all troops, not just family members.

To keep sending these packages, Robertson said the Arizona chapter holds fundraisers and relies heavily on donations.

To help raise more funds and collect donations, the Arizona chapter is organizing the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Tower Run for Marana/Tucson event on Sunday, Sept. 11.

Blue Star Moms will host this 5-mile walk in conjunction with the Steven Siller Foundation, and USACares.

Proceeds from the event will be used for emergency funding for troops, building homes for wounded warriors and to send care packages to troops.

Participants are encouraged to donate items for care packages for the troops. Needed items include snack foods, toiletries, games, books and socks.

To register for the event, to be held at Crossroads at Silverbell District Park at 7548 N. Silverbell Road, log on to www.taggrun.com.

 

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