The theme for the U.S. Navy’s 238th birthday is “being where it matters, when it matters.” The Navy’s storied history affirms this theme from the USS Ranger in 1778 through present day’s unprecedented force projection.
That being said, I would like to focus on a slightly different and intimately more Legacy of Valor approach to, “being where it matters, when it matters” by sharing stories of how Navy spouses, Big Navy, and nonprofits connect with a new Navy wife, and Sarasota native, to support her when her husband was deployed. Hopefully we, as a caring compassionate community, can learn from these examples and be better for one another in our daily lives.
Please welcome Amy Lowe to The Patterson Foundation’s blog. She’s a Sarasota native, wife, young mother, and Navy wife. The following are her words regarding the care, support, and compassion she received at different times in her life as a Navy wife.
Tom and I were newlyweds and just completed a life-altering move from Florida to Rhode Island for our first duty assignment. However, before we could get comfortable Tom was reassigned to the USS Anzio stationed in Norfolk, Virginia. This assignment meant another cross-country move to a location where I had no existing support network.
To exacerbate everything, we also learned that Tom would deploy with his new ship for six months immediately on arrival. So, with Tom committed to per-deployment training and requirements, I found us an apartment via the Internet, and arranged with the Navy to move all of our household belongings in one day. The scheduled date of arrival at this new duty station, now without my husband, where I knew no one, ironically enough, was my birthday!
I celebrated my birthday alone in a new place by supervising the delivery of our household goods and trying to unpack by myself, having just said goodbye to my husband as he went to war. When the delivery was complete, but far from unpacked, I headed out for some fresh air. When I returned to my new “home” there was a freshly placed basket filled with a hot fried chicken dinner, a beverage, dessert, plastic flatware, and a sweet card from the USS Anzio’s Spouses’ Group welcoming me to Norfolk.
They included a birthday wish and contact information for the members in case I needed anything. I cried my eyes out. Soon enough, I was meeting with them weekly for dinner or dessert and movies. That act of kindness set the tone for the entire deployment, and taught me how to treat newbies and make them feel welcome and safe as they transition into military life. Ten years later, I am still in touch with those women.
Look for more from Amy on our blog next week as we take a look at how Big Navy takes care of the spouses of those deployed. To learn about ways to support those who are, will or have served in our nation’s armed forces, visit FreedomPassItOn.org
Learn about these and other concepts used in TPF's approach to philanthropy.
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