Thank a Military Mom

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A Military Mom hugs her Marine Reservist son upon his return from Afghanistan.

Thank a Military Mom

I am many things - a lawyer, a retired judge, chief executive officer of the American Red Cross Eastern Pennsylvania Region. My most important role, though, is being a Mom. More specifically, a Military Mom. My son and his wife are both officers in the U.S. Army.

As a Military Mom, my heart bursts with pride as I marvel at the amazing young men and women who serve our country. Less than one percent of Americans serve in the U.S. military. These young men and women are not only our best and brightest, but also our bravest.

The stress placed on a family when a soldier, airman, sailor, or Marine deploys, often to very dangerous places, and the emotional challenge of reintegrating that service member upon his or her return is significant. Their families need our help.

The Red Cross works with service members and their families from enlistment to retirement and beyond.

This Mother's Day, say "thank you" to a Military Mom, because when a family member serves, we all serve. Also, share the Red Cross' service on the Armed Forces website, redcross.org/SAF.

The Red Cross was born on the battlefield, and it is our greatest honor to continue to serve America's military.

From one Military Mom to all Military Moms: Happy Mother's Day.

|Renee Cardwell Hughes, Philadelphia

My mother's special day

Mother's Day is a special time for us to remember our mothers and how special they are, how our lives have been connected to theirs from the very beginning of our existence.

This year Mother's Day marks my mom Bessie's 95th birthday. It is an extra special day for her and for us together. This year we have struggled with health issues. Our lives have changed, but our love for each other endures.

Moms are a special gift from God, and I treasure this gift that I have been given. Happy Mother's Day! Happy birthday, and many, many more.

|Sheryl Kalick, Philadelphia

An everyday celebration

With prevailing stereotypes regarding the status of women in Islam, I wanted to mention a few things taught in Islam. The Holy Quran states, "Worship God and join not any partners with Him; and be kind to your parents. . . ." (4:37). Prophet Muhammad stated, "Heaven lies under the feet of your mother."

With that, let me be the first to say "Happy Mother's Day" to my mother and my wife, not only on this occasion, but for every day after as well.

|Madeel Abdullah, Newtown Square, madeel1@gmail.com

Support lifesaving efforts

At age 40, while training for my second marathon, I began having dizzy spells and heart palpitations. At first, I tried to ignore my symptoms, citing exhaustion and dehydration - I was a busy wife, mother, and business owner. Finally, I saw a doctor, and I was diagnosed with third-degree atrioventricular block, which meant I would experience irregular and unreliable heartbeats.

With this diagnosis, I required a pacemaker. Without it, I could suffer cardiac arrest while running or sleeping. While I thought I was too young for a pacemaker, I am now grateful for this lifesaving technology.

Those who support the American Heart Association and the Go Red for Women movement help fund lifesaving efforts such as research, education, advocacy for better health, improved care, and reaching people at risk. Through Go Red for Women, about 293 fewer women in the country die from heart disease and stroke each day.

Thank you to all the sponsors, volunteers, and supporters of Go Red for Women in South Jersey. United, we will continue to inspire women to make lifestyle changes, mobilize communities, and shape policies to save lives and improve the health of all women.

For more information, visit www.GoRedForWomen.org.

|Brandi Dockett, Mount Royal

Preserve Philly's identity

For years, Philadelphia's preservation advocates have pressed the city for more resources to identify, protect, and restore our city's architectural heritage. Philadelphia's historic neighborhoods are without compare in the United States. They form the core of the city's increasing appeal as a place to live and work and are a prime generator for tourism.

Yet the City Historical Commission's budget has been frozen at less than $450,000 a year - an infinitesimal percentage of the city's $4.4 billion operating budget - leaving the agency unable to fulfill many of its core responsibilities. Meanwhile, irreplaceable landmarks in neighborhoods throughout the city have been falling to the wrecking ball without recourse.

Last month, the Kenney administration proposed adding two preservation planners to the commission's staff and empaneled a blue-ribbon task force to research best practices and make recommendations for improving the city's preservation infrastructure. The Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia applauds these measures as encouraging first steps in strengthening regulations and incentives that should make restoration and reuse of historic buildings the preferred choice over demolition. In this hopeful new climate for preservation, we look forward to working with the administration, along with developers and community leaders, to strengthen Philadelphia's status as a World Heritage City.

|Paul Steinke, executive director, Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia, psteinke@preservationalliance.com