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 has added two columnists who will write regularly about issues military families face. In this installment, Jaylin Kremer, who lives at Fort Liberty with her active-duty spouse, talks about deployment. If there's a topic you'd like for our columnists address, let us know at email@example.com.
Things are rather grim worldwide and everyone is feeling it in one way or another. Families are struggling to make ends meet with grocery runs equivalent to car payments and bills coming out without enough coming in.
And by now we’ve all seen the news and are hugging our soldiers just a little tighter.
Deployments are part of the job description our service members signed up for — sure, there’s no surprise there. But once word is received, it’s time to send off your soldier — as many of us are doing right now — knowing what to do is not so simple.
No one told me that while service members make sure all systems are go, spouses have their own preparations to make. I went to a seasoned spouse in a panic about my husband’s first deployment. Instead of a negative or short response, first I was given a hug. Then I was given a huge list of resources. Finally, and most importantly, I was given hope when I really needed it.
For those of you as lost as I was, I will be sharing the seasoned spouse’s complete checklist and a compiled list of resources that are available to you in my next column.
First deployment or fifth, spouses we are facing an array of emotions of our own. There may be no right or wrong way to feel, or to react to a fellow spouse, but there are a few things to keep in mind.
Unfortunately, none of us have the ability to read minds. If we need to talk, and we just need someone to listen, we need to communicate that. When we need advice, ask. To seasoned spouses with tips and tricks to making it through a deployment: offer them to the new spouse who doesn’t have a clue. Our service members are prepared for war zones — we are not, and our community should never feel like one.
Most of us are in need now more than ever for a little light to counter all this darkness.
There is no point in waiting on the world to change because that will take time, and time is not always on our side. It doesn’t stop or slow down and we don’t get any of it back. I commend all of you who are getting out there to do what you can. I’ve witnessed many random acts of kindness lately, and I hope it continues.
Local photographers in Fort Liberty are offering “pay what you can afford” services for families knowing these pictures are cherished memories, especially in our community. Local hairdressers and tattoo artists are offering wildly affordable prices to make it possible for members of our community to enjoy themselves. (I don’t know about you, but a new hairdo turns me into a whole new person.)
It surely doesn’t always take such great lengths to put a smile on someone else's face. Help load groceries for a person who appears to be struggling. Engage in polite conversation with those we may not know but interact with in passing. Choose to share your wisdom with empathy when given the opportunity. Purchase coffee for the car behind you in the Starbucks drive-thru. Pay it forward, take a step back, and be the change you want to see. We never know what the next person is going through, and these simple acts can drastically change someone’s day, and you never know, it could save a life.
Making the choice to do all you do with compassion changes everything. We can do so much more together than we can on our own.
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.