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Fort Liberty puts ‘unity’ in our community


Community had an entirely different meaning to my family and I before my husband made the decision to join the Army. 

In our previous home we lucked into having some of the most wonderful neighbors. They didn’t mind if we had friends/family over for music, drinks, and a fire in the backyard often going rather late. They’ve helped me with a cup of sugar or other random ingredients I didn’t realize I didn’t have until the last minute. 

Some of them were kind enough to check in on me and my children in the absence of my husband for the 10 months he was away before our family reunited here in Fort Liberty. To me, this was the extent of a good community, and we were rather sad when it was time to leave. 

However, Fort Liberty has shown me that your community is much more than the place you live and nice neighbors. Prior to our arrival I heard that military communities are different than civilian ones, but I couldn’t have imagined that this community would truly be unlike any other.

As discussed in my last column on the art of letting go, I’ve found what I’m sure military spouses know all too well: Murphy’s law is painfully present in our lives, and the minute our service members have left the building, everything manages to fall apart. 

While my husband was gone, my house became an infirmary to sick children on more than one occasion, my rear tires were punctured by large screws, one of my headlights went out, my dishwasher broke and remained out of order for the entire month he was gone … and the list goes on and on. Everything that could go wrong did.

To my surprise, all it took was asking for help, and complete strangers in the community stepped in without asking for anything in return. There were no requirements for the kindness shown, and I don’t know what I would’ve done without their help.

The aid available in Fort Liberty is unending. From the ability to make a post in a neighborhood group on Facebook asking for whatever it is you need, to the various groups all over the installation doing all they can to support the many military personnel and their families, it is an honor to have become a member of this community. If you take a moment to ask a kind stranger why they do what they do, they’ll likely tell you because they were able and they wanted to help because they know what it’s like to need the help.

While setting up for VICE (“Very. Important. Charity. Event.”) Night, the Fort Liberty Spouses Club’s annual fundraiser, I asked some of the volunteers I didn’t recognize if they were attending the event, and what brought them out to help with set up. 

While their answers varied they were all just happy to help, volunteering their time to make the event a beautiful and successful night for those who were attending. Turning to the volunteer-run club itself, it holds various fundraisers throughout the year benefitting the Fort Liberty community in the form of scholarship and welfare grants. VICE night alone brought in over $20,000 this year with all of the proceeds going to the aforementioned grants for Fort Liberty families.

It’s nice to have friendly neighbors that lend you an ingredient to finish making dinner without an impromptu trip to the store while you’re in the middle of cooking, but it’s even nicer knowing there are organizations doing all they can to ensure you can continue to pursue your education with a little less financial stress, or to help you catch up on bills when funds are tight from a recent PCS or disaster that you didn’t anticipate. 

As the saying goes, it takes a village to raise children and, personally, I didn’t always have a village before Fort Liberty, but here, I don’t ever worry about having the ability to locate support when I need it the most.

On our own we may bend, buckle, or break — with no idea how to make everything work. Whether our stressors come from financial strain, the pressures of parenting, loneliness while our spouses are away, or the redundant daunting tasks like folding and putting away laundry (yes, there’s help for that!), in a community like this, you don’t have to wonder how to make it all work on your own.

Living on Fort Liberty, help is always a call, message, or Facebook post away.

Editor's note: As part of CityView's commitment to filling gaps by providing reporting and information for the Fort Liberty community, our HomeFront initiative features two columnists who will write regularly about issues military families face.

Jaylin Kremer and her husband are natives of Pittsburgh. She is studying psychology and plans to go to law school and works as an advocate for mental health and victims of sexual violence. Jaylin is a member of the Fort Liberty school board and first vice president of the Fort Liberty Spouses Club. She believes that small acts of kindness go a long way.

If there's a topic you'd like for our columnists address, let us know at talk@cityviewnc.com.

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