It’s hard for me to come terms with the fact that my year of service as an AmeriCorps member with the National Military Family Association has come to a close. I’ve laughed and I’ve cried. I’ve grown and I’ve learned. I’ve gained even more respect for the men and women in the seven Uniformed Services (I learned there are seven, and not just five) and those who love them back home.
By far, my favorite part of working here has been interacting directly with our military families. I had the privilege to attend many prestigious events over the last year that I would not have otherwise. I have witnessed families reconnect and overcome injuries at the Operation Purple Healing Adventures. I helped guide military families to the resources and services available to them at numerous exhibitions and fairs.
I wept as gay and lesbian service members and their spouses and families were recognized at the American Military Partners Association Inaugural Gala. As a gay man, I was particularly inspired to see the LGBT military community finally able to come together in the open, and throw an event just for themselves. I know a few years ago, before the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, such an event would have been impossible without the fear of discharge. I was proud our Association was a Silver Sponsor of the gala, showing support for ALL military families and celebrating diversity.
Beyond my direct service, I’ve learned the National Military Family Association is just that— one big family. We’ve had potlucks galore, a party every possible chance, and a few office competitions to keep things interesting. I can’t say there’s a single person in our office who I won’t miss when I leave, especially the ladies (and Zac!) that make up the rest of the Government Relations Department.
- Katie, despite the physical distance between us, you’ve been integral in teaching me how the Association works, and I’ll always appreciate the help you’ve given me throughout the year.
- Eileen, you always put a smile on my grumpy morning face with your cheerful kindness, and you always made me feel so welcome here.
- Karen, for the rest of my life, thanks to you, I’ll think about the research that goes into every product, especially car trunks, and remember all the zany stories you have to share about your family.
- Brooke, you’ve been a great mentor and advisor, giving me realness when I needed it. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
- Zac, I’ve enjoyed having our high-level intellectual chats, and thanks for bringing some much-needed extra testosterone into the department!
- Natalie, there’s a million things I could say about the friendship I’ve developed with you, but I don’t know where to start, so I’ll just say I’ll miss you.
- Finally, Kathy, thanks for taking a chance on a small-town Midwestern boy who had dreams of working in the nation’s capital. I’ve learned so much from you over the last year that I will carry on during the rest of my professional lifetime, as well as my personal one. I don’t know if I’ll ever find a more caring and understanding supervisor. Thank you for making me a part of your family.
To my entire family here at the National Military Family Association, I’d like to say thanks for all the love you’ve given me, and “See ya later!” because goodbye is far too permanent.