Thanksgiving & Our Military Kids

Happy Thanksgiving

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Recently I read an article regarding being grateful for all of our blessings and people we may take for granted.  The author suggested taking time from our busy schedule to think about who would be included in our cornucopia for Thanksgiving, instead of flowers or food. 

With this website, we try to honor and demonstrate our gratitude for Veterans, service members and their families in our military community.  We give thanks for all the brave men and woman from all conflicts who have put their own lives on hold, holidays included, for our freedom.  Are they included in our cornucopia?  You bet!

We would also like to acknowledge the children who must cope with the absence of a deployed or wounded parent in their everyday lives.  Holidays, special occasions, and school events are missed.  The challenges of having an absent parent understandably takes it toll. 

Our Military Kids organization helps our military children cope.  The following is information provided on their website:  http://ourmilitarykids.org/about/

Our Military Kids, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, supports children, ages 5-12th grade, of deployed National Guard and Reserve service members and children of wounded warriors from all service branches. Grants pay for participation in activities that help children cope with stress and anxiety while their parents are recovering or absent.

National Guard and Reserve families sometimes have trouble accessing support services from military installations. During deployments, these families may lose income when their military member leaves a civilian job to accept a military position overseas. The loss of income and lack of resources can create gaps that are hard on families.

Our Military Kids, founded in 2004, fills these gaps with a simple grant program that pays for children’s activities. Within days of receiving applications from eligible families, the staff at the Our Military Kids office will send special “Top Secret” packets to children, thanking them for their service to our country. checks are sent directly to specified activity providers.”

The following book is highlighted on Our Military Kids blog page.  Author Bill O. Smith’s synopsis of his book titled, “Four a.m. December 25.”

By Bill O. Smith

Jeffrey was fighting again.  The recess aide hauled him into the principal’s office, my office.  Jeffrey had smacked a little girl in the sandbox, who was minding her own business.  He then yelled at the aide. I asked Jeffrey if he thought he should apologize.  He nodded yes.

The recess aide came in with the little girl, holding her hand.  They faced Jeffrey, a tough little first grader. Jeffrey’s chest began to heave. He opened his mouth to apologize. And then, he burst into tears, into loud, uncontrollable sobs. The rest of us just stared at each other, speechless. I dismissed the others and called home. Jeffrey’s grandmother answered. Jeffrey’s dad was in Afghanistan. And Just that weekend, Jeffrey’s mom had also been deployed to parts unknown.

So many little ones cannot, or will not, verbalize their distress. Some bury their fears deep inside, and others like Jeffrey take out their distress on others.

I wish we had someone from Our Military Kids when I was an elementary principal. We did not, so we did our best to handle tough situations at school. Of course,  a child’s distress does not end when school ends. In fact, for many, school is a distraction and a safe haven that disappears when a child must go home to face the ghost of a missing loved one.

Mid-Michigan Honor Flight Lake Ann Camp October 12, 2016 Great Lakes Images/John L. Russell)

Mr. Smith (right) autographs a copy of Four A.M. December 25 for a military veteran in Michigan.

And that is where OUR MILITARY KIDS makes all the difference. The activities provided are far more than mere distractions. Each activity is a building block towards healing, courage, and a strong sense of self-confidence.

We are so proud to partner with OUR MILITARY KIDS, INC. It somehow seems like a perfect match that a children’s picture book like FOUR A.M. DECEMBER 25 should provide help and healing for children.   It is especially satisfying to know you are a four-star charity as rated by Charity Navigator.

Many thanks to OUR MILITARY KIDS, and to all of you who purchase FOUR A.M.

Our Military Kids welcomes this guest post by Bill Smith, author of the recently published Four A.M. December 25. Mr. Smith has been an educator and an elementary principal for 30 years. Not only will the book’s plot resonate with children who have experienced a parent’s military deployment, but the rich illustrations offer details to think and talk about long after the reading is over. Proceeds from the book’s sale go in part to Our Military Kids. To order a book, go to http://billosmith.com/

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HAPPY THANKSGIVING AND THANK YOU TO EVERYONE IN OUR MILITARY COMMUNITY, ESPECIALLY THE CHILDREN. 

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