The Aegis
Harford County

Blue Star Families Welcome Week comes to Harford County

The Blue Star Families of the Baltimore and Chesapeake Region will host START — Serving, Thriving, and Reading Together — a community reading event, at Aberdeen’s branch of the Harford County Public Library on Thursday from 5:30-7 p.m.

The event is part of Blue Star Welcome Week, Sept. 24 through Oct. 2, which annually recognizes the 600,000 active-duty and transitioning U.S. military families who move to new communities each year.


“Blue Star Welcome Week is all about connecting military and veteran families to their neighborhoods through programs and events that provide opportunities to thrive,” said Yolanda Rayford, director of the Baltimore and Chesapeake Region chapter.

“One of the first places that many families visit when new to an area is the local library,” said Rayford, an Air Force veteran family member. “When my family was first moved out of the United States to Okinawa, Japan, going to the library and meeting other parents who came from around the world was one of the best experiences I had. Creating memories with these places and people has always had a special place in my heart, and when I returned to Maryland, this shared camaraderie put me on a path to volunteering that I have committed to more than 20 years later.”


According to the Blue Star Families organization, 42,000 active-duty military, veterans and retirees reside in the Baltimore region. The local chapter hosts several events throughout the year to help military families build connections and a sense of belonging.

Along with the START event, the Baltimore chapter will hold two other events during Blue Star Welcome Week:

  • Nourish the Service food pantry event on Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Fort Meade.
  • Howard County Government “Stronger Together” event on Saturday from 9:15 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Columbia Lakefront.

For more information:

Blue Star Families is the nation’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting military and veteran families in the communities where they live, according to its website. Since 2009, Blue Star Families has raised and delivered more than $100 million in support and services to active-duty, National Guard, Reserve, wounded, transitioning service members and their families, and survivor families.