By Jenifer Putnam, Marne Community and Spouses Club.
When it comes to military service, it’s a family affair. The service member may take the oath of office to support and defend the constitution, but the entire family serves. When the service member moves, usually every two to three years, the spouse and children leave their home, their friends and their schools and start over in a new community. A military child typically changes schools six to nine times between kindergarten and graduation. Most high school students in military families attend at least two high schools.
My oldest started high school this year. He will have attended at least 10 schools in seven states by the time he graduates in 2023. He will attend at least three different high schools. As you can imagine, moving this often makes it difficult for military children to receive the same scholarship opportunities other non-military children might receive.
My child won’t have the same coach who could mentor him for all four years. He won’t have a chance to build a four-year reputation on the field that might draw scouts to watch his game. I don’t want you to feel sorry for him. He will be fine because as a military child he is also incredibly resilient.
But I do want to illustrate why spouse organizations such as the Marne Community and Spouses’ Club (MCSC) make it their mission to raise money all year long so military children who face obstacles because of their nomadic lifestyle can still achieve their dream of a college education.
We also give scholarships to military spouses who face their own unique challenges trying to finish their education. Military spouses often lose credits with every move and may have to postpone their educational goals or switch majors because the same opportunities are not available at every duty station. Every time credits are lost from one duty station to the next, completing that degree becomes a little more expensive. Our welfare program also provides grants to local community organizations that support service member families at Fort Stewart, Hunter Army Airfield and the surrounding community. These organizations serve a unique population. Many of the volunteers in these organizations are themselves former military members who want to continue to serve their country by serving our military families. Although we raise money throughout the year, the biggest fundraiser of the year is the Beaches & Baskets Auction. Our generous supporters, both in the military and the business community, donate hundreds of items for a live and silent auction. This year our goal is to raise $30,000 that we can divide among scholarships and grants.
But we can’t reach that goal without the support of the community. We rely on local residents from both the military and the non-military side of the house to buy a ticket and place their bids for their favorite items.
We know that only 1% of the nation chooses to serve in the military. And most of those who serve come from military families. Among the other 99% you may not have one family member or even close friend who is a service member. But you can do something to show your appreciation for the countless sacrifices military families make to protect you, your family and our nation.
You can buy a ticket to the auction. We promise to make it a fun evening with tasty hors d’oeuvres, a cash bar, live music and dancing, not to mention the wine pull and silent and live auctions.
Tickets to the event, which will be held on March 21 at Club Stewart, are $25. You can purchase yours at marnecommunityandspousesclub.com between now and March 13.
Jenifer Putnam serves on the Marne Community & Spouses’ Club Governing Board.