Blue Star Medal of Valor created for Jensen Beach family of fallen soldier
Family hopes other families will be awarded
4:51 PM, Nov 7, 2013
9:01 AM, Nov 8, 2013
JENSEN BEACH, Fla.-- Growing up, Ginny Luther says her son Robert "Bart" Fletcher was tough to discipline.
"I can't keep doing the sticker, star, timeout, restraining stuff. It's not working. I had to find another way," Luther said.
So she developed the acronym STAR- Stop, Take a breath, And Relax. She would tell him to do this when Fletcher would throw a tantrum.
When he decided to join the military, Luther gave Fletcher a blue star. It was to be a reminder of what she taught him. "It was just that reminder that I can do this. I can stay focused. I can be the leader I want to be," Luther said.
It did the first lieutenant well in Iraq. But nothing could stop what happened in 2008 while at the Ft. Hood, Texas base. He was shot and killed by a fellow soldier who was accused of stealing military property. The man shot Fletcher, then himself.
"It was probably one of the hardest moments in my life, it really was," Luther said.
But another tough blow came when Ginny says her son wasn't given proper respect after his death. No cross, no star, no award or recognition.
"He was doing his duty. He got everybody off the balcony and safe except for himself. Yet, he's not considered a fallen soldier," Luther said. "Needless to say, I was so angry."
A local military commander heard of Luther's concerns, and learned about the blue star that Fletcher kept with him.
From there, a local award was created for families who lost someone while serving, but not while in combat. Fletcher was the first to receive the Blue Star Medal of Valor.
Luther says it gives her son a legacy of what he wanted to do most. "He really wanted to lead and make a difference in this world, and he has. And I know that represents that."
Luther says nearly 20 Treasure Coast families have received the award. She hopes to push for the award to be recognized statewide, or nationally.