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School Liaison Officer – Priceless

Today I spent 30 minutes with Shannon Milder, a School Liaison Officer in Navy Region Southwest. The School Liaison program is only two years old but has already made a significant contribution to our mobile military students. The School Liaison Program was developed by the Department of Defense to respond to educational hurdles and challenges encountered by today’s military student. Navy families move their children an average of every 2.9 years. Children of military personnel attend up to 9 different schools by graduation from high school. Deployments can impact educational outcomes of children. Many families decide to “separate geographically” to keep kids in their current school, adding another stressor to the family and student Read more: … Read entire article »

Filed under: Kitsap Sun Columns

Tragedy, Triumph; Courage and Cowardice

Have you been glued to earthquake and tsunami coverage from Japan? It’s hard to view the footage of devastation and not be moved. It is difficult to watch the events at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant and not be gripped with concern. The world has not seen such events in our lifetime. Originally I intended this column to inspire you with stories from Japan, to encourage us to take this teachable moment and review our disaster preparedness. However, in the last few days, I’ve become frustrated; actually I’m angry. Please allow me to have a rare rant. Read more: … Read entire article »

Filed under: Kitsap Sun Columns

Veteran provides comfort to miltiary children

Some people call the Korean War America’s “forgotten war.” Overshadowed by World War II and the Vietnam War, the Korean War is often relegated to a few sentences in today’s textbooks. But the veterans of the Korean War, many who also served in WWII, is an important study for many reasons. But today’s column is not a study on the Korean War. Rather it is the story of a Korean War veteran who proudly served then and is still serving today through bringing a unique comfort to today’s military children. Read more: … Read entire article »

Filed under: Interviews

American Red Cross – Celebration 130 Years

In 1881, Clara Barton founded today’s American Red Cross. Since its beginning, the Red Cross always has rushed to where help is needed. And people around the country rally with outpourings of volunteer assistance and donations of funds and needed supplies. But the work of the American Red Cross is not limited to disaster response. Since 1942, following the tradition of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the month of March has been designated as Red Cross Month. This focus on the Red Cross coincides with their major push for fundraising to accomplish their diverse mission throughout the year and across the country. Read more: … Read entire article »

Filed under: Kitsap Sun Columns

Military Saves…

Ouch! Have you filled your tank recently? Gas in southern California is approaching $4/gallon. The unemployment numbers just came out and well, military spouses are not immune. Cheryl’s hours were cut. Abby lost her job to workforce reduction. Tiffany PCS’d with her husband and cannot find a job. Her income is sorely missed. Jason and Melanie PCS’d. They owned their home in Norfolk and could not sell it prior to PCS’ing. Now they are paying a mortgage on their first house and rent on their second. How are your finances? Our service members may be secure in their job, how secure is yours? More than ever it is important to “pay yourself’ first. Pay myself? Yup, pay ourselves … as in savings. There is a Department of Defense (DoD) supported initiative … Read entire article »

Filed under: DoD Blogger Round Table

Keeper of the Checkbook

“He has no idea where we are financially,” observed National Guard wife Stephanie. “I’m not asking him to take over the finances just be a part of the discussion.” Let’s face it, with the aggressive deployment schedule of Active Duty, Guard and Reserve components the military spouse becomes the ‘keeper of the checkbook.’ I took over the responsibility of the family finances during my husband’s first deployment. The original plan was Scott would take it over upon his return.  Read more here. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Ameriforce Publishing

The Art of Marriage

Valentine’s Day – Have you been dropping hints to your service member for desired flowers, chocolate or jewelry? As we approach this holiday celebrating love and relationships I have been pondering marriage; military marriage. Perhaps you, like me, know many, many military that are divorced or on marriage number two or three. While I am not given to fantasy, I admit I thought the hard part of marriage was finding the right guy to be at the end of that aisle. Once we said our vows I was sure we’d ride off into wedded bliss, living happily ever after. Um, not exactly reality, eh? No one wins in a divorce. No one. Not either spouse, not the children. There are no winners. Yet divorce seems to be part of the military culture. So, … Read entire article »

Filed under: Kitsap Sun Columns

Need a “LifT?”

This year we will mark the tenth year of 9/11 and that means ten years as a nation at war. While President Bush prepared us for an elongated conflict I think few of us believed it would extend beyond that of the first Gulf War. Yet here we are. Though we are a nation at war I am sometimes surprised by the gulf between the military and civilian communities. I recently spoke at a university forum on military and military families. At the opening of my remarks I asked how many in the audience and on the panel had a relative serving in the military. Not one hand was raised. I asked if their parents or grandparents served. Several hands raised signifying grandparents served in the military, but surprisingly none had … Read entire article »

Filed under: Kitsap Sun Columns

Milspouse – CEO’s at Home

Working from home is a dream of many women, not just military spouses. For military spouses a portable career based at home is golden. Let’s define three ways to work from home; independent business affiliation (Mary Kay, Amway, Pampered Chef), launch a business from your idea or concept (sewing, jewelry, translation services, photography), or work-from-home (often called telecommuting – transcription, virtual assistant). Before launching a business of any type assess your circumstances and characteristics. How much time do you have to devote to this business? Do you have space to store inventory? Have you discussed the impact of this business on your family with your spouse and older children? Are you a self-motivated person? Read more here. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Kitsap Sun Columns

Opinions Wanted – Yours…

Have you ever had an idea for family programs? Let me rephrase that. I’ll bet you, like me, have encountered issues, challenges or situations where you thought about ideas or solutions to improve life for military families. Have you looked for opportunities to share ideas, your experiences or at the least to express your perspective on the challenges of military Spousedom? Periodically the Department of Defense, individual branches or other interested parties solicit the input and experience of military spouses and families. And that is why I am veering from my planned column to bring you two opportunities to advocate for yourself and other military families by sharing your voice and experience. Read more here. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Kitsap Sun Columns