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Photo by Alex Weliever

The group known as Blue Star Moms had a booth at Saturday’s festival, giving out snacks and collecting donations to fund care packages sent to troops overseas.

MONTICELLO — While veterans and their families celebrated Saturday aboard the Madam Carroll during the “Honor Our Veterans Boat Parade,” one mother collected donations to send care packages to soldiers abroad — soldiers like her son, Sgt. Emilio Begley.

Rose Begley is no stranger to service. She served in the U.S. Air Force during Operation Desert Storm. Her husband also served in the military. Emilio Begley’s older brother served in the infantry during a tour in Afghanistan.

While Emilio is deployed in the Middle East as part of a National Guard battalion from Lafayette, Rose helps with Blue Star Moms. The local chapter supports soldiers currently serving or with past experience in the military.

During the park festivities Saturday, Rose collected donations for Blue Star Moms that would be used to support soldiers abroad.

“We send care packages overseas,” Rose said.

Rose first became involved with Blue Star Moms, coincidentally, at a past veterans boat parades while riding the Madam Carroll. She was riding the boat as a veteran and struck up a conversation with another member of Blue Star Moms, she said.

After learning about the organization and its purpose, Rose decided to join, and now works with seven other mothers to support soldiers, past and present.

As Rose knows what it’s like to serve overseas, she said it’s easier to cope with her husband and sons going abroad. The experience also helps her support other moms in the group, for whom it might be their first time dealing with a child serving in a country far away from home.

It’s the first time for the president of the local Blue Star Moms chapter, Susan Woodrow, who has a son currently deployed.

“It’s a good support group for each other,” Rose said.