‘Sons and Daughters In Touch’ is proud that the following individuals will attend the Gold Star Families Memorial Day Breakfast at the White House on May 27, 2013.
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These Gold Star ‘sons and daughters’ are among the scores of ‘sons and daughters’ who have helped further the mission of ‘Sons and Daughters In Touch’ and cause of America's Gold Star families.
Mike Burkett is the owner of a food brokerage in Texas. Mike lives in Spring Texas with his wife and seven-year old daughter whom they adopted from Kyrgyzstan in 2012. Mike is the son of SP4 Curtis Earl Burkett (Army) who was killed on February 19, 1971 and is remembered on Panel 5 West, Line 120 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
Jeanette Chervony has worked for the Costa Mesa (CA) Police Department for 27 years. Since 2003, she has been a supporter and mentor to young Gold Star children as part of TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors) and Snowball Express. Jeanette is the daughter of Sgt. Eddie E. Chervony (Army) who was killed in action on May 5, 1968, and is remembered on the Panel 55 East, Line 6 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
Jim Cordero is the principal of a Catholic elementary school in Southern California. He and his wife have two young children. Jim has a particular interest in US government and military history. He produced and hosted the SDIT “Artists Forum” at the 2005 Fathers' Day Reunion. Jim was born six months after his father – Maj. William E. Cordero (USAF) – was lost while on a June 22, 1965 bombing mission over North Vietnam. He is remembered on Panel 2 East, Line 15 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
Melanie Danna is a paralegal from Mount Laurel, New Jersey. She has been a member of SDIT since its formation in 1990, and served several years on the Board of Directors. Melanie’s mother, Joanne Danna, served two terms as National President of the Gold Star Wives of America. She is the daughter of CWO Joseph J. Danna, Jr. (Army) who was killed on December 16, 1970. He is remembered on Panel 6 West, Line 124 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
Joe Dunn is a chef and restaurateur from Hyannis, MA and the son of Navy Cmdr. Joseph Dunn whose plane was shot down on February 14, 1968 over the territorial waters of China. Joe’s mother, Maureen Dunn (who passed away on May 10) was a founding member of the National League of POW/MIA Families. Joe has served on the League’s Board of Directors and continues to actively support the fullest possible accounting for America’s POW/MIAs through a host of veterans and military events in Massachusetts. Despite years of effort, a fact-finding trip to China, and evidence suggesting that he survived the crash, Cmdr. Dunn remains unaccounted for. He is remembered on Panel 39 East, Line 31 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
Karoni Forrester works in the technology industry and resides with her family in Austin, TX. She is a member of the National League of POW/MIA Families’ Board of Directors and Texas State Coordinator for the organization. Karoni participates in public awareness events across the country (including The Ride Home and Run for the Wall). She regularly meets with government officials responsible for policy and operational oversight for the POW/MIA issue and has traveled to Vietnam to promote an honest accounting for America’s POW/MIAs. She is the daughter of Capt. Ronald W. Forrester (USMC), who is unaccounted for in Vietnam. He is remembered on the Panel 1 West, Line 106 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
Dan Jordan is an award-winning high school history teacher from Phoenix, AZ. Dan designs the eUpdates that provide valuable information to SDIT members. Dan and his family reside in Phoenix. Prior to the 2010 Father’s Day reunion, Dan utilized an on-line service to ensure that registration and event information was communicated to all SDIT members. He is the son of 1Lt. Daniel Jordan (Army) who was killed in action on July 10, 1967, and is remembered on Panel 23 East, Line42 of the Vietnam Veterans online slots Memorial.
Laurette Rand Kanavos is a legal assistant and lives in Westchester County, NY. During her five-year tenure as an SDIT Board Member, she worked as the Membership Coordinator. She is the daughter of SSGT Michael Rand (Army) who, prior to his deployment to Vietnam, served in the Korean War and was a Military Science teacher and Rifle team instructor at Xavier High School in NYC. He was killed in action on October 27, 1966 and is remembered on Panel 11 East, Line 119 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
Patty Crawford Klunder lives with her husband and daughter in Fairfax, VA where she is active with school and community programs. In 1992, Patty was a leader in planning SDIT’s first national Father’s Day reunion at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. She is the only child of Lt. John Calvin Crawford (Navy) who was killed on March 10, 1967 and is remembered on the Panel 16 East, Line 51 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
Dave Pendergraft is a graduate of the US Air Force Academy and served 12 years on active duty in the USAF. He currently works in a civilian capacity for the Air Force and lives in the Washington, DC area. He is the son of Maj. Ray D. Pendergraft (USMC) who was killed on July 2, 1967 and is remembered on Panel 22 East, Line 112 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
Mark Pitts and his family live in the Atlanta area where he is an executive with the Coca-Cola Company. Mark is the son of Capt. Riley L. Pitts (Army), the first African American commissioned officer to receive the Medal of Honor. In 2003, Mark traveled with SDIT to Vietnam to see the location where his father was killed. Captain Pitts was killed on October 31, 1967 and is remembered on the Panel 28 East, Line 105 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
Stacy Swenck is a writer and educator from Temecula, CA and is passionate about the mission of Sons and Daughters In Touch. She has studied, and made a comparative analysis of, the writings of Gold Star children from WWII and the Vietnam War. She serves on the SDIT Board of Directors, assisting with editing the SDIT eUpdates. She is the daughter of Maj. Robert B. Swenck (USAF) who was killed on November 25, 1971 and is remembered on Panel 2 West, Line 72 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
For information about ‘Sons and Daughters In Touch’ – visit sdit.org, @GoldStarSDIT, or find us on facebook.