Gold Star Mother treated like royalty
By Ed DuBois
With no car to drive to an American Legion Veterans Memorial Dedication in Big Lake, Stella Huso of Buffalo called Big Lake Legion Auxiliary President Kathy Poslusny to find out if a Legion member might be available to give her a ride. In response, she was not only given a ride, she was honored with a seat in a limousine and given an American Legion Riders motorcycle escort.
"I thought a veteran would just come and give me ride," she said afterward.
A Gold Star Mother, Stella Huso, 98, was instead "treated like royalty," she stated.
It was raining on Saturday, May 27, but nonetheless, Legion and Auxiliary officers from Big Lake and the American Legion Riders from Monticello arrived right on time outside the apartment building where Stella lives. She has been a Buffalo resident about three years after selling the home that she and her late husband, Ordin, had built for themselves in Hanover almost 50 years ago. She is close to her doctors now that she lives in Buffalo, her granddaughter explained.
Raised five children
Ordin and Stella were married in Mayville, N.D. They raised five children: Diane, Steven, Patricia, Wayde, and Rose Marie. Ordin was a top official with the Land O' Lakes food company before he passed away in 1997.
Stella became a Gold Star Mother in 1969 after Wayde was killed in action while serving in Vietnam. Blue Star Mothers are those whose son or daughter serve in the U.S. Armed Forces. The Blue Star is replaced with a Gold Star if a son or daughter is lost while serving their country.
Stella is the only Gold Star Mother in Big Lake American Legion Post 147. That helps explain her place of honor in the limousine and the royal treatment at the Veterans Memorial Dedication.
Stella recalled only one previous limousine ride, which was for her 80th birthday. She has been a member of the Big Lake American Legion Auxiliary for over 40 years, she estimated.
Given blankets to stay warm
Military Police greeted her when she arrived at the dedication on May 20. A military escort helped her to a special place in a tent, where she was given blankets to stay warm.
"There was applause when I was announced, and they gave me a corsage with yellow flowers," Stella said.
There were speeches and songs, and then she was given a special U.S. flag, plus a red Killed in Action flag in honor of her son, Wayde. Also among the items presented to her was a red, white and blue quilt with military symbols.
"I felt like a queen," Stella said. "I was treated like royalty. I didn't expect all that."
A friend and neighbor, Arlis Block, mentioned, "Now, they are planning a 100th birthday event."
Stella smiled at that and joked about making it that long. Her friends are confident she will. They say she looks great, and her mind is "sharp as a tack."
Stella gives credit for her longevity to her Scandinavian roots.
Quiet, nice fellow
Asked about Wayde, she said he was in the 1st Air Cavalry. He died at a helicopter base near the Cambodian border.
Wayde was a "quiet, nice fellow," Stella said.
"Little dogs would follow him around," she recalled.
In high school, Wayde seamed to be the "stabilizer" in his bunch of friends.
He graduated from Big Lake High School and was a St. Cloud State University student when he decided to enlist in the Army. An older brother was in the Air Force.
Stella recalled Wayde once said he would like to be a lawyer.
Armed Forces Day
Big Lake Legionnaires and Auxiliary members obviously have great respect for Wayde's service and Stella's loss. They gave her the royal treatment when all she had asked for was a ride with a veteran.
Instead, she was given a limousine ride, a motorcycle escort and a place of honor at the Veterans Memorial Dedication on Armed Forces Day.
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