Coast Guard, community observe Month of the Military Child

There are two lasting bequests we can give our children: one is roots, the other is wings.
– Hodding Carter

Military children are often thought of as having dynamic and ever changing lives but lacking the roots one might develop spending all of childhood in the same location. The truth really depends on the child, but one thing everyone can agree on is that military children are resilient and resourceful.

Coast Guard families recognize their children for their support and resilience during a parade at Coast Guard Base Kodiak, Alaska, April 14, 2014. Children from the Coast Guard Child Development Center and families all over Kodiak participated in the event to celebrate the Month of the Military Child. U.S Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Diana Honings.

Coast Guard families recognize their children for their support and resilience during a parade at Coast Guard Base Kodiak, Alaska, April 14, 2014. U.S Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Diana Honings.

The designation of April as the Month of the Military Child honors youth impacted by the military lifestyle and deployment. Coast Guard Forces Kodiak made an effort to recognize these youths and their contributions to greater mission goals through events during the month. Out of the 1200 military dependents that call Kodiak home, many of them are children. The island is home to several Army, Air Force, Navy and National Guard families as well.

Military children face challenges in new schools, new relationships and new environments when they move. This can strengthen them as individuals, but the child needs to know that they have the support of their community and parents. By recognizing the challenges and by telling children that we believe that they can meet them and triumph over any adversity they face, we empower them to continue to succeed and empower the family as a whole. The Coast Guard encourages healthy families and healthy kids through Work-Life resources, regular recognition, special events and involvement by Coast Guard members in the local schools through the Partnership in Education Program.

“I believe family stability provides the servicemember with a strong foundation and peace of mind,” said Velma Vining, child development services specialist at Work-Life Coast Guard Base Kodiak. “From this firm footing, the servicemember can fulfill their duties to the utmost. The Coast Guard offers support to families through various programs including mutual assistance, MWR events, continuing education, financial advice, counseling, medical services, child care resource and referrals.”

On behalf of military families in Kodiak, the Medolla Family accepts a proclamation from the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly recognizing April as the month of the military child at their monthly assembly meeting in Kodiak, Alaska, April 17, 2014. Petty Officer 1st Class Robert Medolla is an aviation maintenance technician aboard Coast Guard helicopters at the air station in Kodiak and his wife Danielle was selected as the 2014 Armed Forces Insurance Military Spouse of the Year - Coast Guard for her efforts as a military spouse and services as an ombudsman to the air station and the aids to navigation team. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Sara Mooers.

On behalf of military families in Kodiak, the Medolla Family accepts a proclamation from the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly recognizing April as the month of the military child at their monthly assembly meeting in Kodiak, Alaska, April 17, 2014. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Sara Mooers.

Purple is the color that symbolizes all branches of the military, as it is the combination of Army green, Marine red, and Coast Guard, Navy and Air Force blue. On April 15 people statewide were asked to wear purple so military youth could actually see the support of their community. The previous day in Kodiak, a parade was held on the base for all the children to walk in and the streets were lined by the active duty members in uniform thanking them for all they do for their families.

The Medolla family accepted a proclamation from the Kodiak Borough for the Month of the Military Child on behalf of all the military families in Kodiak April 17 and the White family accepted a proclamation from the City of Kodiak Thursday. A similar proclamation was signed April 1 by Alaska Governor Sean Parnell in Juneau for the entire state.

Danielle Medolla was recognized as the 2014 Armed Forces Insurance Military Spouse of the Year – Coast Guard for her efforts as a military spouse and services as an ombudsman to the air station and the aids to navigation team. Her husband, Petty Officer 1st Class Robert Medolla, is an aviation maintenance technician aboard Coast Guard helicopters at the air station in Kodiak and stands regular duty including weeks away stationed around Alaska for search and rescue response. This puts much of the day-to-day family responsibility and demands on Danielle. Their family, including three boys, fully understand the commitments of being a military family.

“I am in awe of military kids,” said Medolla, “Their resilience cannot be matched. I see it every day especially here in Kodiak, our military kids are so well rounded and accepting of others, because time and time again they have been the ones that need acceptance in a new situation. They rise to success despite all the uprooting that this lifestyle has inflicted on them.”

Military kids are often the strength behind the servicemember and the spouse, for it is their wellbeing that concerns parents the most.

“I have heard it time and time again, the kids will be ok, it’s the adults that have a hard time adjusting and it is so true,” said Medolla. “My kids continue to view our lifestyle as an adventure and I try everyday to view our life through their eyes.”

Cmdr. Stephen White, commanding officer of Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley, his wife Kerry and two of their children Lucas and Jake pause for a photo after accepting a proclamation from Mayor of the City of Kodiak, Alaska, Pat Branson, April 24, 2014. The proclamation states the month of April be proclaimed Month of the Military Child as tribute for their resilience, commitment, sacrifice and ability to deal with life changing events, and unconditional support for our troops. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Diana Honings.

Cmdr. Stephen White, commanding officer of Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley, his wife Kerry and two of their children Lucas and Jake pause for a photo after accepting a proclamation from Mayor of the City of Kodiak, Alaska, Pat Branson, April 24, 2014. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Diana Honings.

Cmdr. Stephen White, commanding officer of Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley, and his wife Kerry have a three children. As commanding officer of a Coast Guard cutter often deployed for months at a time they too understand the challenges facing military families and strive to give their children the tools and guidance to be successful.

“It is an honor and a privilege to live and serve in a community that is so military friendly,” said White. “Kodiak is a special place. As someone who is serving mariners and Alaskans at sea for much of the year, I truly appreciate what a great place Kodiak is. It is comforting knowing that they take such great care of military families. I praise the mayor and the citizens of Kodiak for their continued support and integrating military children and families into this great community!”

Despite their resilience all children, military or otherwise, deserve the support of their family, peers and community year-round.

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