Ed. Note: Champions of Change is a weekly initiative to highlight Americans who are making an impact in their communities and helping our country rise to meet the many challenges of the 21st century.
In 2009, I helped to create Blue Star Families with a group of dedicated military spouses to support, empower and connect military families to each other, to their communities and to decision makers. As the Army spouse of an OIF combat wounded warrior, I feel a close kinship with this dynamic group of military spouses and families who experience similar issues. All too often, the greater community does not understand our sacrifices and our service to this nation. As such, Blue Star Families’ strategic focus is to bridge the gap between the military and civilian communities. In doing so, our primary aim is to promote and foster healthy military families through the collaborative sharing of information and quality of life resources.
To be sure, Blue Star Families has exceeded its own expectations. We have struck a chord, not just with military family members hungry for support and empowerment, but also with elected officials, military leadership and corporate America seeking to hear unfiltered feedback related to “on the ground” issues that are impacting us. As military families, we appreciate the momentous sacrifice of others in our shoes; subsequently, we regularly conduct our Military Family Lifestyle Survey to glean what today’s military families truly need. From its results and our personal familiarity, we set the stage for our pioneering programming platform with novel projects like Operation Honor Cards and our groundbreaking public service announcements (PSAs) to help prevent military family suicides.