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Military and Veteran Family Stories

Why We Need New Official Government Proclamations of Military Family Support

Blue Star Welcome Week continues to gain support from leaders in communities across the country – leaders who see and recognize the challenges military and Veteran families face and encourage their constituents to support the mission. “The goal of Blue Star Welcome Week is to address the worst problems in our community – awareness of suicide and mental health among service members, Veterans, and their families – by creating the future we all want,” says Blue Star Families co-founder and…

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Schlotzsky’s Welcomes Military Families to the Neighborhood

Once upon a time, there was a nonprofit named Blue Star Families, founded by military families for military families. Every year, Blue Star Families would hear peers say, “We’re isolated and lonely” because of the efforts needed to support the homefront — like moving every one to three years.  Because of Blue Star Families’ Military Family Lifestyle Survey, the organization learned that frequent moves were causing American military families to lack connections and resources within their local communities. Therefore, families…

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How Volunteering is Helping One Military Spouse Rebuild Community

If you’ve ever moved, then you’re likely no stranger to the anxieties of being new in town. For military families who move every two to three years on average, it’s a common emotional occurrence. Even for those who are considered “seasoned,” each move is different from the last.  Just ask Misty. We first spoke to this Coast Guard spouse during Blue Star Welcome Week 2021, immediately following her family’s third permanent change of station (PCS) move. And just like a…

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Healing Wounds with Support: A Purple Heart Story

  “Six months later, I woke up in Germany, not knowing who my parents were because of the extent of injuries that I endured. So, I was out in Germany for a year going through at least 33 surgeries, and at that time, I was told I wouldn’t be able to have any children. Then moving forward, going to Walter Reed, going through more surgeries…” – Sharon, Purple Heart Recipient Play Now The Department of Defense estimated some 50,000 soldiers…

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What You Should Know About Kimberly, the New Housing Insecurity DEPLOY Fellow

As the 2022 Wells Fargo Housing Insecurity DEPLOY Fellow, Kimberly has a lot to offer military families.  For starters, she understands military families. Her mother was the first Korean female Chief Warrant Officer 5 in the U.S. Army. Not to mention, Kimberly was accepted into the U.S. Air Force Academy, and her husband is an active-duty Army soldier. But her voice is what makes her an even greater asset to the military community. Play Now And it will prove to…

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Military Families: Look to Your Library as a Valuable and Welcoming Resource

Authors: Barry Trott, M.S.L.S., Library of Virginia    Nicole Rawlinson, M.L.I.S., Blue Star Families When it comes to moving, military families know all the ins and outs. The average military family will move every two to three years, and each year, hundreds of thousands of military families across the country move to new communities. Whether it’s their first assignment or final, all of these families have the same hopes for a welcoming and inclusive community that will provide the connections…

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From Adversity to Advocate, Get to Know Marla Bautista

Marla Bautista, an Army wife and mother of three, knows firsthand that advocacy can play an important role in building a stronger, more supported community. That’s because she was once food insecure and unhoused. And those challenging experiences have shaped her into who she is today while positively affecting how she can help others. “I am a person who has directly experienced homelessness and the obstacles that come along with obtaining safety and security after hardship,” Marla shares. “I am…

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The Challenge of Family Building and How Military Spouses Can Help

When Laci married her Air Force service member, she was informed her family building journey would be difficult and conceiving a child naturally wasn’t likely.  Laci’s story, though heartbreaking, is a common one. Research indicates that the natural fertility rate is only 20%, and 1 in 8 couples will have difficulty getting pregnant. For military families, constant separations and time away only add to that challenge. Play Now Faced with this information, Laci and her husband began searching for alternatives.…

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Blue Star Welcome Week: A Community-Building Event for Military Families

By: Marla Bautista Moving to a new duty station can be an exciting, but sometimes difficult transition for military families, especially those with small children or those who don’t have close friends or family nearby. Blue Star Welcome Week provides an opportunity to meet your community and welcome new members into your neighborhood while also building lasting relationships through social activities that build morale and strengthen the military bond. The result? Families feel less isolated and more connected to their…

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Valerie’s family knows what it feels like when you can’t seem to find your place in your community. After spending six years serving in the reserves, and finding stability in one location, Valerie’s husband returned to active duty. As a result, her family found themselves moving every few years, which proved to be a difficult adjustment…

Families like Crystal’s have lived, and are living, this harsh reality. She served 10 years in the military, so she thought she was more than prepared for the stressors that come with the territory. But when her husband deployed, being the one to stay behind to manage the responsibilities at home proved to be a difficult adjustment…

Lisa, a Marine Corps Veteran, was used to the unpredictable nature of military life and navigating the frequent changes. When she met her husband, who was also serving in the Marine Corps, and they started their family, the changes became more difficult to handle…

Moving is a reality all military families must accept. In fact, 600,000 military-connected families move every single year. That’s a full third of our All-Volunteer Force packing up and reporting to new duty stations—some across the country, others across the globe. When you mention moving to civilian neighbors, you may hear: “What an adventure …

Misty didn’t have any experience with the military before becoming a military spouse and, admittedly, didn’t really know what being a military family looked like. She wasn’t alone. In response to the 2020 Military Family Lifestyle Survey, 79% of active-duty military families feel the general public is largely unaware of the daily challenges they…

With four school-aged children, Erin, a Navy spouse, understands the stress of making sure military kids are happy and well-adjusted with each move. In the 18 years they’ve been a military family, Erin, her husband, and their boys have moved eight times and endured three deployments…

Jessica, an Air Force spouse and mom to five-year-old twins, understands those feelings. At the beginning of their marriage, Jessica’s husband was gone 150-200 days out of each year due to temporary duty assignments. In the last three years alone, her family has gone through two deployments and a handful of shorter separations…

Meet Celeste. She’s been a Navy spouse for nearly 10 years. In that time, her family has moved four times with their eight-year-old son. They’ve been through a few challenges with moves in the past, but this last move really pushed them to the edge. “We had 16 days from when our orders were cut to when my husband had to report…

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