Anne Adkins son, Matthew T. Bolar, was killed in combat in Iraq in 2007. Since then, she’s devoted her life to helping members of the military. “I felt like there was something else I needed to be doing; I had a calling too,” she said. “It was then we started working with charities to improve the lives of veterans.”
Anne Adkins, the former VP of marketing for Raycom Media, was honored as the first Gold Star mom to fly on the Blue Ridge Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., on Saturday, Oct. 6.
Gold Star moms are women of sons or daughters who died during active service in the United States military during a period of war or hostilities.
Adkins son, Matthew T. Bolar, died May 3, 2007 in Baghdad, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his unit during combat operations. He was 24.
The Blue Ridge Honor Flight flies Americans military veterans to Washington, D.C., to experience their memorials. The Blue Ridge Honor Flight board and volunteers plan two to three flights from the Asheville and Greenville airports each year.
Adkins and her husband, Vernon, came along with the more than 100 veterans after being invited by Blue Ridge Honor Flight Founder Jeff Miller.
According to an article in The Times-News, a daily newspaper for Hendersonville, North Carolina, Adkins said at first she hesitated to agree to the trip, but then she thought about what Matthew would want.
Anne and Vernon Adkins were able to visit Matthew’s grave in Arlington National Cemetery Saturday. They make the journey about three to four times a year.
Adkins left her job at Raycom a few years after Matthew died.
“I felt like there was something else I needed to be doing; I had a calling too,” she said. “It was then we started working with charities to improve the lives of veterans.”
She is involved with a number of efforts, including the Veterans Healing Farm in Hendersonville.
NOTE: I’ve known Anne Adkins for quite a few years and have written about her efforts to help members of the military often. Anne wanted me to share her ‘thank you’ message to the Blue Ridge Honor Flight.
We are back now and the first thing we had to do was to thank you. You gave us a gift we can never repay. It was the gift of a life time. It was so wonderful. It brought Matthew recognition and us peace. Just talking to you and the wonderful vets was so healing. Few people truly understand the emotional turmoil we have experienced yet on the Honor Flight we found that everyone did. It was a gift — such a gift we have never received before. There are no words enough to thank you for what you have done for us.
We are standing by to help in any way we can. Would love to be future volunteers. What a wonderful thing you do for those who need it so badly. You are now part of our family and will always be. Please let us know what we can do to be part of your wonderful organization. You provide ‘bucket lists’. How many people can say that our dear friends. You have given us joy, peace and understanding and that we have never had since Matthew’s death.
God bless you and yes, he does.
Anne and Vernon