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    Recognizing sacrifice on the homefront: Cal Guard event shows gratitude for military spouses

    Recognizing sacrifice on the homefront: Cal Guard event shows gratitude for military spouses

    Photo By Brandon Honig | Katt Breaker and Master Sgt. Brian Breaker of the California Army National Guard enjoy...... read more read more



    Story by Brandon Honig 

    California National Guard Primary   

    Being a National Guard family is a unique experience, because most of the time, you’re in your civilian world, living your normal civilian life, Sarah DeGriselles said. But then things come up, sometimes on short notice, that make you a military family.

    “It’s a weird juggle to balance that, and your neighbors don’t understand what it’s like to have your husband gone,” she said May 7 at a Military Spouse Appreciation Day event in Los Alamitos, California. “And it’s hard for the kids because … no one that they’re around has that struggle at all.

    "It’s really good to have events like this, where they can connect with other people who have that unique struggle of being civilian and also being military.”

    DeGriselle’s four children – ages 10, 8, 5 and 3 – were upstairs enjoying educational activities (“Mom, we did Mad Science! We made slime!”) with other Guard children while Sarah and husband 1st Lt. Thom DeGriselles of 1st Battalion, 185th Infantry Regiment, spent the day downstairs connecting with people who understood their struggles.

    More than 80 people from California Army National Guard families were pampered, won prizes, found out about valuable resources and spent the day learning and laughing with their peers at an event organized just for them.

    “Military spouses serve and sacrifice just as the military member does, because they’re the ones left on the homefront to be the mother and the father and pick up all their partner’s responsibilities,” said Jennifer Lucero, a military spouse and former airman who heads up Family Programs for the Cal Guard. “This was a way to show families that we appreciate their service and sacrifice as well.”

    Downstairs, “prizes” was a theme throughout the day, as many local organizations had generously donated gift baskets, gift cards, even a big-screen TV, for military spouses. Between rounds of giving, the morning included resilience training that featured a role-playing exercise in which a husband had mismanaged money the couple was saving for a trip.

    “Effective communication is key in work and play,” said Katt Breaker, a new military spouse who presented the skit with her husband, Master Sgt. Brian Breaker. “You can always learn something new to help communicate with people, not just your loved ones.”

    Master Sgt. Breaker, of the 115th Regional Support Group, returned to California on March 8 after a deployment to Afghanistan, where he ran casualty assistance operations while attached the 49th Military Police Brigade. He and Katt married the next day.

    “I didn’t really know about any of the assistance programs while he was deployed, so it was very difficult,” said Katt, whose family with Brian includes five children. “I thought things were so stressful at home, I couldn’t breathe … and here he is all the way over there, taking care of our country.”

    The Spouse Appreciation Day included a resource fair with information booths from a wide variety of organizations that provide support for military families.

    “Today was amazing, to see what’s available for families,” Katt said. “Brian came home with a book, one of the books that’s available today, full of information for military spouses. And there’s still more [support available], if you know to look for it.”

    Families at the event enjoyed massages and accupuncture treatment, food donated by local organizations including a Girl Scout troop in attendance, and a set by military wife and stand-up comedian Mollie Gross, whose moving performance brought plenty of laughter as well as tears from audience members who related to Gross’ stories and struggles.

    “The military spouse is one of the most difficult jobs you can have,” Lucero said. “We want them to know that we’re here for them, to help in any way we can, and we’re grateful for all the different ways they support their service members.”



    Date Taken: 05.09.2016
    Date Posted: 05.09.2016 17:10
    Story ID: 197708
    Location: LOS ALAMITOS, CA, US 

    Web Views: 613
    Downloads: 2