Columnist: Strong families. Strong community.

Fort Campbell. 101st Airborne Division. The images those few words elicit are patriotic. Powerful. But from where does this community’s pride and strength come? Yes, the legendary history of the unit and the bravery of the men and women who have served both come to mind but today, right now, where do the soldiers from the top of the food chain to the bottom go to for physical, mental, and emotional rejuvenation? Their family. Their circle of trusted loved ones, kin by birth or kin by choice.
In a lot of ways in today’s society of entitlement, instant gratification and constant life comparison over social media, the family has been devalued. Innumerable demands eat away at our time and energy and the family has suffered. And therefore, so has our community. We seem to relate better to old high school classmates, whom we have not seen in person for years save their Facebook page, than we do to our spouse who we see every day — well, who we see most evenings because the military life does demand a lot of our soldier’s time. This year, let’s try to relate better to our spouse, that person whom we love and are committed to. Let’s focus our energy away from the imaginary rat race and life-comparison outlets streaming constantly into our homes and focus back on what really matters: our family and our community. Let’s close the communication gap and try to really understand what the military culture and community is all about. This does not require an eerie Stepford Wife subjugation to our soldier spouse. No. This simply requires a sincere attempt to better understand the military life so that we can better support our soldier and be better citizens of our Fort Campbell community. Some of the misnomers and misunderstandings about the military culture can be humorous on paper and make for entertaining comic strips, but the reality of the scenarios can be a bit brutal. Especially if they play out within the four walls of our home.
This month, let’s start with opening lines of communication and honestly ask about, and then honestly listen to, how our spouse’s day was. This is a good start to a good journey.
Let’s have some fun and enjoy all the perks, tangible and relational, that this community has to offer. And let’s resolve to close out 2017 with stronger-than-ever families and community because, let’s be honest, this is a good life. And it is our choice to be in this brave and resilient community so let’s choose to make the best of it.

Tricia Johnson is an Army spouse and veteran originally from Spokane, Washington. She enjoyed world travels in her 20s but is now grateful to be settled in Clarksville. Tricia has a B.S. in international relations and M.A. in elementary education. She uses her schooling to try to relate to and guide her three vivacious young kids. When formal schooling tactics fail, she just embraces getting silly and messy. Tricia is exploring the elusive idea of having hobbies because someone once told her that adults were allowed to have them. Until she locks one of those in she simply enjoys being outdoors, active and present for her family.

Family talks about resiliency in relocating

Sisters Abigail, Lydia, and Chloe Honbarger.

By Toni W. Riley
Adults may take a playground for granted, but for a young child, missing their favorite playground could be a struggle of adjustment when an Army family makes a move. Army families have to adjust to new communities each time they PCS to a new duty station. With repeated moves, children have to develop their own ways of coping, their own ways of working through changes and build their own resiliency.
The children of Chaplain Craig and Kara Honbarger have learned their own ways of adjusting to new environments with each move the family has made.
Fifteen-year-old Abigail Honbarger has moved six times and been to just as many schools since 2008. Her sisters Lydia, 13, and Chloe, 10, have been adjusting to new schools with those moves since they started Pre-K.
Abigail explained how she dealt with each move, the things she missed and the adjustments she made.
The first adjustment she could remember was leaving behind the playground at her Fort Bragg School when the family moved to Camp Merrill in 2008. Abigail was 7.
The family was at Camp Merrill in Dahlonega, Georgia, for three years, where Abigail was in second to fourth grade and where Lydia was in Pre-K through first grade. Blackburn Elementary School in rural Georgia offered a small community that was the family’s favorite.
In 2012, Chaplain Honbarger had the opportunity to attend a six-month short course at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. The family moved there for six months, where Abigail attended half of fifth grade and Lydia attended half of second grade. The inner-city school was far different from the comfortable Camp Merrill. When she left the South Carolina school, Abigail felt she was behind in her class work, she didn’t like all the traffic noise around their home and she starting sleeping with a fan on to block out the noise -– she continues that habit today.
The family moved to Fort Campbell at mid-term 2012, and the next year, all the girls were in school on post. Abigail credits a very caring teacher with helping her make the adjustment to a new school, where she knew there were gaps in her education. At Fort Campbell, she only had one teacher, which Abigail said was good for her adjustment and unlike in the school in South Carolina where she changed classes.
The family moved again to Fort Bragg at mid-term 2013, where they stayed for one and a half years. Abigail completed six and seventh grades, Lydia third and fourth, and Chloe kindergarten and first before the family moved back to Fort Campbell.
Kara said she and Craig feel it is important they keep the family together, so with each move they keep that in mind and try to do their best to make it transition as smooth as possible.
For the move from Fort Campbell to Fort Bragg, she and Craig chose to have their daughters attend a Department of Defense school on post to help ease the mid-year transition. DoD schools are geared for children who come and go from one DoD school to another, and the curriculum is the same at any school a military child might attend.
When the family moved back to Fort Campbell in 2014, Chaplain Honbarger hoped it would be their final move and planned to retire. The family decided to settle in Clarksville and the girls would attend Montgomery County Public Schools. Abigail was in eighth grade.
Kara said moving from a DoD School to a public school can be a really big adjustment for children. She noted that public schools —- even those in military areas —- are not always attuned to the coming and going of military students, and some students can get lost in the shuffle. She also said that public schools are more accelerated than DoD schools, and it is important for parents to be advocates for their children.
“(Educational) records don’t always follow the children,” she said. Kara recalled how Lydia was put in a remedial program in second grade because she wasn’t at grade level with her reading. She had to work with school officials to eventually get her children in the gifted program.
When talking about her journey from school to school, Abigail said moving at midterms wasn’t always sad because she didn’t have to finish end-of-year projects. On the flip side, the 15-year-old said she learned not to make close friends and to sort of put herself “in a bubble” to not make friends she would lose.
Even though she is an articulate student, Abigail struggled when she started eighth grade at Rossview. At her previous DoD school, she had actually skipped a math class but was now faced with Algebra I. She made her first B but learned to develop study skills. At Rossview, Abigail said she had good teachers, learned to make friends and was motivated.
All three of the girls talked about being nervous when going to a new school and not knowing their way around. All schools “smell” different, they said, and each school has different discipline requirements.
As their mother, Kara said when they were moving, she spent time studying the school from the school’s website. She would also take the girls in the day before they were to begin to walk through the halls. She and Craig kept open communication with the girls to help ease their concerns.
Kara said with each move, it helps if children can “take something with them,” such as an extra-curricular activity. For Lydia, she had soccer, which helped her find her niche. However Abigail’s percussion in band didn’t transfer because she didn’t have her own instrument.
Kara said parents have to be available for their children to fill in the gaps they are experiencing. Being planted in so many places and then being uprooted catches up to children, and even some adults. Kara explained that she had to find her own comfort group in order to be able to help her children. She said finding a woman’s Bible group to attend is a constant from base to base.
While it may appear that Abigail was able to navigate the many moves with only a few bumps, she admitted that she “hit the wall” in high school. She said she lost her faith, which was an important, essential part of the family. She had to work through this time on her own and was able to “get back with Jesus,” she said.
Through all the times and especially as a teenager, Abigail has held on to one principle: “friends change, God doesn’t.”

10 ways to boost your morale

By Heather Short
After a long week of school, work, children and mundane errands, you can be left feeling a bit drained. Even when the weekend finally shows its beautiful face, your morale can be a bit low due to the stressful week. Spending the weekend on the couch in front of a random Netflix series sounds temping, but in the end, it really won’t do anything to boost your overall morale. Instead, try one of the following activities that will keep you moving in a positive and fun way.

Go for a hike
Is there honestly anything better than getting out in nature, breathing in the fresh air and enjoying the quiet of nature? You can make a hike as adventurous as you want, whether it be a long trek through a national park or a simple, leisurely stroll through a local park. Either way, your body will love you for the opportunity to soak up some sun and happiness.

As much as we probably hate to admit it, we know that exercising makes us feel good. If you’ve had a bad day or a long work week, try lacing up those running shoes and hitting the pavement. Within a few minutes, you will catch yourself getting lost in thought, your heart will be pumping, and you’ll find that you’re in a much better mood. Try going for a leisurely run a few times a week to keep the morale up.

Arts and Crafts
If you’re in the mood to try a new hobby, try taking up some arts and crafts. Pinterest offers endless ideas of holiday related crafts to make. All you have to do is purchase the supplies. This is also something that can be done with small groups of friends for additional fun. Places like Hobby Lobby and even Home Depot also offer one day classes to show you how to create a multitude of things.

Read a book
Many of us actually enjoy reading, but never seem to have the time to read a book from start to finish. Make it a point to set aside time every day or every other day to lose yourself in a few chapters of a new book. Before you know it, you will find yourself immersed in the book’s world, and when you’ve finished, you will feel great about having completed it. More importantly, you may be pleasantly surprised at how excited you are to begin another book as soon as possible.
Talking with friends
These days, technology tends to run the world. The days when we used to actually talk to people in person seems as though they are all but over. It is easier to send a text, email or FaceTime. But making time to meet with friends to talk face to face over coffee or a meal reconnects us in a way that technology just cannot do. Before you know it, you may be laughing uncontrollably, hugging and wondering why it’s been so long since you’ve seen one another.

We all get busy, and of course, picking up some fast food is convenient on nights when you just don’t want to cook. However, cooking a meal at home can be rewarding. Not only is there a sense of accomplishment, but it is extremely satisfying to be gathered around a table seeing people enjoying your prepared meal.

Get a massage or meditate
When we get overly stressed, our body can tense up. What better way to unwind and boost your morale than by getting a massage? Lie down, close your eyes and let your worries melt away. Meditation is another great way to ease built up stress. Find yourself a quiet space, sit down in a comfortable position, and simply focus solely on your breathing. You will be surprised how focusing on your body movements while breathing can really clear your mind.

Sometimes the thought of doing more work sounds exhausting, especially when you’re already worn out. But visiting your local homeless shelter, food pantry or church to volunteer your time is more rewarding than you can imagine. Giving back to the community and the satisfaction of helping those in need will not only be appreciated by those receiving the help, but it will bring a smile to your face.

It is all too easy to overlook cleaning that needs to be done in our homes. We tidy up the best we can here and there, but set aside a morning to truly deep clean one or more rooms in your home. Really get in there to dust, vacuum and wipe down the surfaces. Tackle the clutter in closets and fill bags with stuff you really don’t need. When you’re done, there is not only a sense of accomplishment, but you will also feel great about a good, clean space.

Physical intimacy is defined as friendship, platonic love or even something romantic. When we get down on ourselves or stressed to the core, we instinctively want to turn to someone we love for a little pick me up. A simple hug can change our entire mood. Going for a stroll while holding the hand of your partner can make both of you smile. Human touch is something we all crave and nothing makes us happier than having that human connection with another person.

Although the light fixtures are overhead, you can place your subject in a position that will produce a more frontally lit photo. Just look up and move the subject to a position where the light is falling from above and to the front of the photo. If the subject is directly under a fixture, the result will be eye-socket shadows that make the subject look like a raccoon.

Soldier plans to open new brewery in Clarksville

Nathan Manese

By Heather Short
When it comes time to PCS, some people arrive in a new city and only see it as a temporary home. For others, they see so much more when they arrive in the Fort Campbell area. They see the sprawling farmlands and surrounding cities growing at an intense rate. They look out at their new surroundings and wonder what they can do to make it better. Three Army veterans, two of whom are currently active duty, have decided to permanently call this area home and have settled down in both Clarksville and Hopkinsville, respectively, to share their passion for brewing local craft beer.
After spending time living in Alaska, Ohio and Vermont during his adolescence, Nathan Manese joined the Army and promptly found himself being stationed overseas in Germany. While he had always enjoyed beer, it was his time in Germany that really exposed him to the distinct and flavorful taste of craft beer. “Seeing all the old breweries and getting a taste of the amazing beer there helped develop that passion,” Manese said. He knew that coming home to the United States, it would be difficult finding that same level of craft he had fallen in love with. With that in mind, he turned to home brewing with the hope of recreating those tastes. Soon after, Manese created his own recipes and began sharing his home brew with local friends, who just couldn’t get enough. Their reactions to the beer that Manese already loved himself planted a seed for an idea to take this love and make it into something bigger.
Manese moved to Clarksville almost five years ago, and at that point, the thought of opening a brewery of his own had not crossed his mind. He knew Nashville has a wide variety breweries but Clarksville only has one. With Clarksville’s ever-growing population, the want for additional brew pubs is certainly there. Manese thought about what it would take to move forward with opening a brewery of his own and continued to home brew during that time. About three years ago, he made the leap from dreaming about owning a brewery to officially beginning to formulate a plan of action. He began putting together an impressively detailed business plan to present to bankers and investors.
Now that the idea was blossoming into reality, Manese needed a name for his future brewery. Early on, he confidently settled on one with significant meaning: The Fallen Brewery. Military life has exposed him to the reality of life and loss, whether it has been from suicide, deaths downrange or even illness. Years ago, Manese served as a firefighter and faced the heartbreak of losing fellow firefighters in the line of duty. “There is just a brotherhood that is found in the military, in the fire department, police department and EMTs,” Manese said. “I want to pay my respects to them. They have been amazing people and you see that love and passion in all of them.” Another sentiment that is important to Manese is the motto “Leave no soldier behind.” To him, that means both in life and in death. “I don’t want anyone to be forgotten,” Manese said. “That is the greatest dishonor you could do to anyone.” With that, he hopes the meaning behind the name of his brewery pays homage to all.
For two years, Manese has been working on and tweaking his business plan after realizing it was a bit more involved than he originally planned. He spent countless hours working through what will work, what won’t and researching brewing equipment. Manese would ideally like to source as much equipment as he can from American-based businesses in order to help out other small businesses while he builds his own. The financing stage is still in the process of being sorted out at this time. He has options of finding an investor or securing a loan from a banking institution, but both routes offer positives and negatives. The financial side of the business plan includes purchasing or leasing a building, possible renovations, as well as the purchase of all brewing equipment. The Fallen Brewery is also accepting public donations to help get the brewery off the ground. Manese would like to offer different tiers of donations, with supporters receiving items in return like pint glasses, koozies, T-shirts, beer club membership and even a founders membership. Manese is ideally looking for nearly $40,000 to help secure the loan for The Fallen Brewery. The location is still being determined, but it will be in Clarksville.
Manese’s vision for The Fallen Brewery includes a space large enough for patrons to come in to enjoy tastings or a few pints of locally crafted beer while perhaps playing corn hole. While food will not be served directly at the brewery, Manese will invite food trucks and keep menus from local establishments willing to deliver to the location. It is also important to Manese that The Fallen Brewery be a location capable of hosting a Hail and Farewell.
Manese acknowledges the brewery is still months away from opening its doors, but he wants to get the name out there and show patrons that the brewery will have an excellent selection of locally brewed beer. He wants to keep it simple and brew a quality beer that will keep people coming back, he said. Each beer will be dedicated to a local nonprofit that is committed to giving back to firefighters,EMTs, military and police officers, and a set of proceeds will benefit them. “We want to give back to those in the community who are helping our veterans in their time of need,” Manese said. “We want to provide quality beer to our patrons but, at the same time, give back to the community that has served us.”
Although Manese still has almost two years left to serve in the Army, his goal is to have the brewery open for business by the end of 2017.
“It is something I love, it’s a passion,” he said. “I want to take that passion and make that my career.” They say that if you choose a job you love, you will never work a day in your life. That is precisely what Manese is aiming to do by bringing The Fallen Brewery to Clarksville.

Bonding over beer
Coincidentally, Manese met a local couple, who were in the beginning stages of creating their business plan for a brewery through the Clarksville Carboys Homebrew Club a few years ago. The couple, Kate and Steve Irving, are now the proud owners of the Hopkinsville Brewing Company, which opened in September.
Kate Irving came to Fort Campbell in 2004 with the 101st Military Intelligence Battalion and Steve arrived in 2005 after graduating from flight school. Although they have been through a few PCS moves since then, they always made their way back to Hopkinsville. “We just love the area up here,” Kate said. “We always asked to come back here.”
Their journey to becoming the owners of a brewery began two years ago when Kate gave Steve a home brewing kit with the thought of it being nothing more than a fun hobby. At that time, Kate actually did not enjoy beer and did not drink it. That was until Steve created a batch of Vanilla Bourbon Porter and asked her to try it. To her surprise, she really enjoyed it. A few years went by and Kate came up with the idea of opening their very own brewery. She had been out of the military for a few years at that point and started looking to the future when Steve would be retiring from the Army. “It sounded like fun to try and open a business,” she said. “We love projects and this would be our Plan B for after Steve’s retirement.”
As it always seems to do, the military gave the Irvings a minor bump in the road. While they were knee deep in the planning stages of their future brewery, they suddenly found themselves having to make a big decision. Steve had spent a majority of his Army career as a Kiowa pilot with the 2-17 CAV, 101st Airborne, but at his 15-year mark, he was being transitioned to Apaches.
Steve and Kate discussed the possibility of hitting pause on moving forward with their brewery plans while Steve managed his military career, or Kate could keep moving forward with their plans, unfortunately mostly on her own. With her never-ending positive attitude, Kate made the decision to keep pressing on with their plans while Steve was away for six months for training. “It has been an interesting ride,” Kate said.
With their building renovated, beer brewed and doors set to open, Steve was able to make it home the weekend of the Hopkinsville Brewing Company’s grand opening. Getting to that point was no easy task.
Both Steve and Kate used what they had learned during their military careers and applied it to the planning process. Steve used a year that he had spent out at Marine Corps Base Quantico learning about strategies and operations and applied it to building a business plan in the civilian world.
“If he had not had that training, I don’t know if this plan would have been so successful,” Kate said. “He planned everything down to the penny, down to every last detail.”
Kate tapped into her background of creative writing and English to proofread and edit all the business plans. Their business plan started out with a large brewing system and a rather large budget. But the more planning that Steve did, they both realized what they could actually handle. “What you learn in the Army as a planner can actually be applied to the civilian world,” Kate said. “It truly is fascinating.”
It took the Irvings about eight months to write out their business plan while working closely with the Kentucky Innovation Network.
After purchasing a home in 2005, they frequently walked their dogs into downtown Hopkinsville and admired the old architecture. When it came time for the Irvings to look for a place to open their brewery, they wanted to do something to contribute to the revitalization of downtown Hopkinsville.
When they purchased their building, which was built in 1913, they stripped it down to the absolute bare minimum and started from scratch, which allowed them to work with a blank slate.
“The budget was tight but we had so much fun with it,” Kate said. She enjoyed making many of her do-it-yourself and Pinterest inspirations a reality. For instance, the bar and walls are covered in salvaged wood from a local barn that was being demolished and the furniture upstairs in the brewery’s seating area is all second hand.
Since the opening of the Hopkinsville Brewing Company, the brewery has received a warm welcome from the community and has instantly become a local favorite. “It is great when people enjoy the beer,” she said, “but when people appreciate how much time and effort we put into making this building habitable again is wonderful.”
The Hopkinsville Brewing Company is also a family-friendly establishment that encourages families to come in, play some board games, enjoy their outdoor seating, food trucks and good old-fashioned conversation with one another. Being family friendly has been a main focus of the Irvings, who are parents to two children. The Hopkinsville Brewing Company closes at 8 p.m. so they are home in time to tuck their children in bed.
While their small business endeavor has so far proven to be successful, the Irvings also encourage other veterans to not be afraid to follow their dreams of opening a small business.
“Veterans have the skills and the experience to make a plan and put it together,” Steve said. “They also have the skills to lead and organize small groups of people, like a staff.”
The Irvings also know that the military instills ever present perseverance in veterans to fight through when things get tough. “It will become emotional,” Steve said. “You will get very invested in your plans.”
For the Irvings as well as Manese, their visions has always been centered on the communities in which they live and wanting to bring people together. Both the Hopkinsville Brewing Company and The Fallen Brewery will not have TVs because both establishments want to focus on face-to-face conversation and getting to know the person sitting next to you.
“It is great seeing people who didn’t arrive together actually strike up conversation with one another,” Kate said.
Perhaps in today’s day and age, it is time to slow things down, get back to the basics, and remember to keep it simple. Through the visions of both the Hopkinsville Brewing Company and The Fallen Brewery, the cities of Hopkinsville and Clarksville will have that local gathering place where the community can come together to finally sit down and meet one another.

Learn more about The Fallen Brewery or Hopkinsville Brewing Co. by searching each company on Facebook.

Moments with Moms: Leslie Webb

By Heather Short
Where did you meet your spouse?
Chris and I met at Alabama A&M University in 2006. He was jaywalking and claims I almost ran him over! We didn’t start dating until 2011 though.

What do you miss about your hometown, Huntsville, AL?
I miss lunch dates with my best friend. We used to go to our favorite Mexican restaurant, El Omeca, every week.

How did you get into writing music and what’s your favorite piece?
I love to sing, but I have horrible stage fright. I started taking poems I’d written and humming random melodies to them. My favorite piece is the only one I ever recorded. It’s called “Your Love.”

What are your top 3 favorite books and why?
“Pride and Prejudice” is my top favorite. I love Elizabeth Bennett’s wit and intellect in a time when it wasn’t “acceptable” for a woman to be so opinionated. “The Constant Princess” would have to be my second favorite. It’s about Henry VIII’s first wife, Catherine of Aragon. (I’m a little obsessed with Henry VIII and all his wives!) I’m a huge Harry Potter fan, and if I had to pick one as a favorite, it’d be the fifth book, “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.”

What is the hardest thing about being a stay-at-home mother?
The lack of personal space is the hardest part for me. I can’t tell you how many times a day I say, “Bathroom time is private time!”

What is most rewarding about being a stay-at-home mother?
The most rewarding part of SAHM life is not missing out on our youngest children’s milestones. I missed so many of my oldest son’s “first things” because I worked 50-plus hours a week.

What inspired you to become a Family Readiness Group leader?
My husband called me one day last April and said, “Hey, I told Rear D that you’d take over as Alpha Battery’s FRG Leader in June. You will, right?” I’m glad I agreed because I got the chance to emotionally connect with so many family members during the deployment. It didn’t just make it easier for them. It made every day easier for me too.

In a rare moment to yourself, what do you do to relax?
I run an extremely hot bubble bath, pour a glass of muscadine wine, grab a book and soak until the water is cold!

Why do you feel that military kids can be so resilient?
Military children cope with deployment and an almost nomadic lifestyle, and it’s tough even for adults. I think their innocence and positive outlook on life help them through the struggles of military life.

What types of volunteer work do you and your family like to do?
The kids and I make regular deliveries to the Grace and Mercy Women’s Mission in Hopkinsville, and we’ve recently started taking food to Manna Café Ministries.
What is one thing you hope your kids will take with them throughout their lives?
I hope they always remember to be compassionate. You never know what someone else is struggling with.

What did you do for work before becoming a stay-at-home mother?
I worked in administration during the day, and I sang with a band a few nights a week. After our first child together was born, my husband and I decided I should stay at home. It made sense financially, and I knew I wouldn’t miss out on precious moments.

What is your dream vacation spot?
I want to tour Italy! It’s been my dream vacation since my first art class.

What is your favorite indulgence?
Starbucks coffee is my weakness.

What is your favorite movie to watch as a family?
We could watch “Finding Dory” over and over again.

If you were stranded on an island with any three people, besides your family, who would they be and why?
Betty White and Jimmy Fallon, just so I’d never stop laughing, and Blake Shelton. I’ve always wanted to sing a duet with him. I wouldn’t have to worry about stage fright on an island!

What would someone be surprised to find in your purse?
I have safety scissors in my purse because I coupon. I don’t trust my children enough to carry anything sharp!

How to talk about tough topics with kids

By Heather Short
Some days, it feels like there is no escape from the negative: we see it on the news, we see it in public, we read about it, and sometimes we are the victims of it. Whether it stems from the ongoing political conflicts or the stress of military life, we are all exposed to some type of difficult situation. As adults, it may be easier to brush it off and continue on with our day. But what about our children? What they see on television or within their own environments may be confusing. We cannot forget that children are affected by what they see, hear and experience. As a parent, we may sometimes find it difficult ourselves to want to discuss heavy topics with our babies, but here are some tips on how to start the conversation. Continue reading

Lingo to learn: Acronyms and websites to know

Acronym              Meaning

BAS        Basic Allowance for Subsistence
BAH       Basic Allowance for Housing
CDC        Childcare Development Center
COLA      Cost Of Living Allowance
DoD        Department Of Defense
DONSA  Days Of No Scheduled Activities
EFMP    Exceptional Family Member Program
FAC        Family Assistance Center
FLO        Family Liaison Officer
FRO        Family Readiness Officer
FRG        Family Readiness Group
FRC        Family Resource Center
LES        Leave and Earnings Statement
MOS       Military Occupational Specialty
MWR      Morale, Welfare and Recreation
PCS         Permanent Change of Station
POC        Point Of Contact
PX           Post Exchange
SGLI       Servicemember’s Group Life Insurance
TDY        Temporary Duty
TLA        Temporary Living Allowance
TLF         Temporary Living Facility


Useful websites
Fort Campbell MWR

Military Child Education Coalition

National Military Family Association

Army Community Service

Army Emergency Relief

Army One Source


3 easy tips to stay on course with your goals

By Heather Short
It never fails. New Year’s Day comes and we make all these fanciful resolutions that we promise to keep for an entire year. We try to say we won’t drink soda for a year or that we will hit the gym at least five days a week. We also want to lose the holiday weight by Feb. 1, and we want to cut out sweets for the next six months. After the holidays, we think without a doubt that we will be sick of sweet foods and junk food in general, but before you know it, all these high-hoped resolutions are getting broken left and right. It isn’t that they weren’t made with good intentions; it is more that it is too much all at once. Every New Year’s Day, we seem to set ourselves up for failure. Well not this year! This is going to be the year that we conquer our New Year’s resolutions. The key is to start small.

Be realistic
There is absolutely nothing wrong with making a New Year’s resolution to lose weight. But keep in mind to be realistic about it. It is not safe or healthy to attempt to lose a considerable amount of weight in a short time. It’s that time of the year when holiday weight gain creeps up on a lot of us, but you cannot expect to turn around and lose it all in a week. A lot of people hit the gym hard the first week of January but get burned out quickly.
Instead of setting an overall goal of a specific amount of weight you want to lose, try to focus on a weekly goal first. Start by figuring out what exercises are right for you and what you are comfortable doing. Next, start slowly and make a goal of working out three days a week. From there, slowly increase intensity and frequency. There are several apps available to download and local gyms that offer consultations on how to safely reach your weight loss goals.

Start small
If one of your goals is to become more active in the community, don’t feel that on Jan. 2, you need to go register and sign up for multiple volunteer opportunities. Again, start small. Research local clubs, schools or churches who could use some volunteers. Choose one that is right for you and one that you are comfortable with. Decide what you are most interested in and that you would actually enjoy dedicating some time to. Next, make contact with your chosen establishment and set up a day and time for your first volunteer experience. From there, if it is a good fit for you, make an appointment to volunteer again in a week or maybe the following month. Be aware of your existing commitments so you don’t wear yourself thin or cause additional stress. The goal is to enjoy volunteering and perhaps have it become a routine that you enjoy.

Keep track
Another way to help you achieve your New Year’s resolutions is to keep track of them! You can purchase a good old-fashioned mini calendar to keep in your purse, briefcase or backpack. For some people, visualizing their goals on paper helps them keep track better than trying to remember it.
You can also purchase a wall calendar to hang in your room or kitchen so you will see it every day. Of course, several calendar or tracking apps are available to help you with this. Whichever you choose to use, be sure to regularly check the calendar to keep yourself aware of how you’re coming along with reaching your goals.
The tradition of making New Year’s resolutions is something fun and positive to do every year. It shouldn’t be something intimidating or become frustrating. When the New Year rolls around, don’t be afraid to set some goals for yourself. You will be so proud of yourself when you see the progress you’re making toward reaching your goals and even more so when you achieve them.
The key to achieving the long-term goals of New Year’s resolutions is to start small; you won’t achieve them in a week or a month. The most important thing to remember is to be gentle and not too hard on yourself. If you miss a day or a week, don’t get frustrated. It is all right to start over, but it’s not alright to give up.

Meet the Gaytans

By Elissa Tucker
Fort Campbell couple Charles and Kayla Gaytan have been on a unique journey since their love story began.
Kayla and Charles met last year, and both said it was love at first sight. Charles proposed Jan. 3, 2016, they were married Jan. 16, and in February, Kayla was set to start chemotherapy for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
“Charles was truly a godsend,” Kayla said. “I really think God sent him to me, so that I had a lifeline through all of my cancer treatment.”
Charles is an investigator with the 716th Military Police Battalion at Fort Campbell, and Kayla said his unit has been more than understanding of their circumstances.
“He’s been with me every step of the way and made it to every chemotherapy treatment his work schedule would allow him to make it to,” she said.
Kayla endured several months of chemotherapy, going every other week, before doctors told her she may not be able to have any more children. Kayla — a mother to Ethan, 11, and Harper, 22 months — was saddened to hear this news, as she and Charles had not yet had an opportunity to have children of their own. However, in June, she found out she was pregnant — with not only one baby, but four.
“We were both surprised and shocked,” Kayla said. “Since becoming pregnant, I’ve had to put my chemotherapy and radiation on hold until after the babies arrive.”
Kayla is nearing 27 weeks and going strong. UPDATE: Kayla and Charles Gaytan welcomed their quadruplets, Lillian, Victoria, Michael, and Charles on Dec. 30.
“The babies are all doing really well, and although most quadruplet mommies only carry to 28 to 32 weeks gestation, my goal is 34 weeks,” she said. “I figure I’ve beat the odds so far, so what’s one more.”
Kayla has started chemotherapy and recently celebrated her one-year anniversary with Charles.

To follow Kayla and Charles Gaytan on their journey, follower her page, “Kayla Shea Gaytan,” on Facebook.

Moments with Moms: Roneisha Thompson-Thomas

By Heather Short
What’s your most memorable New Year’s Eve experience?
I was stationed in Korea. All of my girlfriends went out shopping for the perfect outfit for our New Year’s Eve party. After catching a bus, a train and a taxi, we came in contact with all of the seasons before the night was over. It rained, then the sun came out, the wind blew like no one’s business, and as the New Year approached, it snowed. It was beautiful.

How has having children changed the way you celebrate holidays?
I am more in tune to what they want to do. I try to make sure that they have what they want and celebrate how it makes them happy. I prefer spending holidays with family and not in a huge social setting. Since we’ve been in Italy for the past two years, they have actually spent New Year’s in Austria and in Germany for Winter Blitz.

What do you miss about living in Italy?
We were there from July 2014 to July 2016. I miss the tight-knit group of people that I met. We were more than friends; we are now family. I miss the beautiful places that we were able to travel to. We visited 13 countries; we’ve been to the most beautiful beaches and have tasted the best food.

What has been the hardest part about preparing your oldest daughter for college?
The hardest part is letting go. The college
applications, ACT prep and decisions to live close to home or far away is also a big deal. College preparation is stressful and exciting at the same time. Through the stress there is an abundant amount of pride that quickly takes over.

What is one thing you’ve taught your daughters that you hope they take into the “real world?”
I have taught them to be strong women. Life will not always be kind to them. They need to always rely on their faith and overcome obstacles that are in their way.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I see myself living in Dallas. I have always wanted to relocate back to Texas where my children were born. I am in the development stage of two nonprofit organizations that will be fully operational by that time.

What is the No. 1 thing your family has learned by being a military family?
Despite all of the separation for deployments or field problems, we have learned to take advantage of our time together. We travel and leave all our cares behind. We focus on our family dynamic more.

What did you love most about your job as a medical technician for the Department of Defense?
I loved being around the soldiers and providing care for them. As a soldier that deployed and redeployed from the same facility, it brought a sense of joy to me to make sure that they received the best treatment, the respect they deserved and a friendly smile to greet them.

Why do you think it’s important to volunteer in the community?
It’s important to love where you live, and if you are not in the community, then you can’t
really gauge what the community has to offer. I volunteer to give back, to show my children that you have to put into your community to get something out of it, and I am proud of where I live, and I want others to feel the same way.

Fun facts
TV show you indulge in? I love anything crime related, but my favorite is Criminal Minds.
Favorite appetizer to make for a party or holiday gathering? Buffalo chicken dip.
New Year traditions? On New Year’s Eve, we usually go to midnight service at church.
Do you stick to New Year resolutions? I try to call them lifestyle changes that way I am more committed and actually reap the health benefits for a longer time.
How you met your husband? We met in Clarksville (Fort Campbell) when I was finishing my bachelor’s degree in health care administration. He joined a business team that I was a member of.
A song you secretly sing alone in your car? “The Greatest Love of All” by Whitney Houston.