America’s Gold Star Families
America’s Gold Star Families is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization created to assist those grieving any military loss through active duty service. We include all family members representing all conflicts, all branches of service, and all circumstances of death.
IRS EIN 46-5574571.
The mission of America’s Gold Star Families is to provide honor, hope and healing to those grieving any military loss while serving active duty in the United States Armed Forces. We do this through programs and services at no cost to families of the fallen.
America’s Gold Star Families is governed by a Board of Directors which serves under the oversight of a (a should be replaced with our) Gold Star Advisory Council.
Advocacy and Awareness
Many people are unaware of the significance of the Gold Star banner and its meaning. America’s Gold Star Families is committed to educating others on this important designation, how to properly respond when meeting someone who has lost a loved one in service to our country and advocating for their needs.
America’s Gold Star Families is governed by a Board of Directors which serves under the oversight of a Gold Star Advisory Council comprised of gold star family members and survivors. This is to ensure the Board properly meets the needs of survivors adequately with appropriate protocol.
Gold Star Advisory Council
Board of Directors
About the Founder
Patti Latch is a double blue star proud Mother of two US Marines who are now veterans. When her two sons enlisted in the United States Marine Corps during the height of the Iraqi war within six months of each other, she received a crash introduction course into the military community. The emotional roller coaster of send off’s, boot camp graduations, writing letters, deployments, sending care packages, supporting other military families, homecomings—all occurred within a few short years. At one point both sons were deployed to Iraq at the same time. These life changing events altered the course of her life forever and while her sons now lead productive civilian lives, Patti serves as support advocate for Gold Star families and survivors everywhere. Along with her two sons, Patti has a daughter and ten grandchildren.
Honoring Our Fallen Heroes
America’s Gold Star Families
Our Founder’s Story
America’s Gold Star Families (AGSF) had its humble start back in 2007 when Patti Latch, a military Mom from central Illinois, had an opportunity to interact with three grieving gold star families at the funerals for their fallen sons and simply asked “What can I do to help?”
Their responses were the same… to help make sure that others never forget the sacrifice their loved ones made for our freedom. And she’s been doing that ever since.
Patti Latch is the proud Mom of two Marines. Between them, her sons served three tours of duty in Iraq between 2005-2007. After they both returned home safely, Patti felt deep compassion for families who lost loved ones in the central Illinois region where they lived. Realizing there was nothing formal in place to provide comfort for these families, Patti started attending funerals of the fallen, introducing herself to the families and letting them know that she cared and would be available to them in the months and years to come for support. She had no idea what this would look like, but even if she helped just the four Gold Star parents she had met, she felt that she was called to this noble cause.
Word spread to other bereaved families and informal get-togethers started, building connections on shared experiences, and reminding them that they were not alone. From that compassionate start, Central Illinois Gold Star Families was incorporated as a not-for-profit (501 (c) 3) organization in 2014, creating public awareness of the presence of Gold Star families among us by offering emotional and financial support.
Shortly after, the name Central Illinois Gold Star Families evolved to America’s Gold Star Families to include survivors nationwide. Today, America’s Gold Star Families serves those who have experienced any military loss through active-duty service from all branches of the US military, representing all conflicts. Bringing families of the fallen together to honor their sacrifice and provide hope and healing allows survivors to bond with others who have experienced a similar loss. AGSF is funded entirely by individual and Corporate donations and is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors, with oversight provided by a Gold Star Advisory Council. Patti Latch serves as the Executive Director of the organization, ensuring our commitment to our Mission and keeping her promise to “never forget.”
AGSF provides support, resources, and programs to survivors of active-duty military loss through these programs:
- Sending annual Birthday Cards to children across the USA who experienced the loss of a parent during active-duty military service, along with a $20 gift card to celebrate their special days.
- Awarding 25 $1000.00 scholarships to immediate and extended family members of fallen heroes to pursue higher education.
- Creating Ornaments to display on our annual Holiday Heroes Trees of Honor
- Underwriting grief counseling for Illinois residents
- Displaying Fallen Heroes Banners (currently in Washburn, Bloomington/Normal, and Pekin, IL)
- Creating Walls of Honor in retail stores
- Working with local legislators to rename highways after Fallen Heroes and erect Gold Star Highway/ByWay Markers