Mothers are feted at Inner Harbor Volunteer group pays homage


Thelma Gale knew she would get her fair share of Mother's Day wishes from her three children. But that didn't stop her from going to a downtown hotel ballroom yesterday to receive more praise for the important task of being a mother.

"I may not be here for another one, so I'm going to make good on this one," said Ms. Gale, of Edmondson Village. She would not reveal her age but allowed that she is a "senior citizen."

Ms. Gale was among the 300 women -- most of them elderly -- honored at the Sheraton Inner Harbor yesterday as guests in the second annual "I Remember Mama" luncheon sponsored by the Chesapeake chapter of the Volunteers of America. The event was held to pay homage to mothers and other women.

"We want to recognize their contributions to society by saying 'thank you' to them," said Joseph E. Boro, president of the national organization's regional chapter. "There are some people who, perhaps, have nobody to say 'Happy Mother's Day' to them."

In his opening remarks, he called mothers "the backbone of our community who are all too often forgotten."

Members of the organization and other volunteers escorted the women from elevators and led them to the hotel's ballroom. There were clowns who gave away balloon animals, flowers and gifts, and 'Happy Mother's Day' greetings were repeated over and over again.

Mary Jackson, 64, also of Edmondson Village, has two children, seven grandchildren and a 9-month-old great-grandchild. She was excited as she waited for the festivities to begin.

"It's great when you get a lot of mothers together, and you know somebody cares about us," she said.

Mrs. Jackson became aware of the luncheon through the Forest Park Senior Center. "It's terrific to recognize people who've done a lot."

Regina Sroka doesn't have any children, but that didn't keep her from enjoying the Mother's Day event as much as anyone else.

Ms. Sroka, 70, of Canton, marveled at the fuss being made over the women.

"Everybody's so nice to us," she said. "I think it's wonderful . . ."

Ms. Sroka said mothers get less respect and praise than they did in her day.

"She [mother] was the greatest person on earth back then," she said. "Nowadays, people don't even appreciate their mother for what she really means."

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