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    The Homefront

    The Homefront

    Photo By Sgt. Roger Houghton | The Soldiers of 2nd Battalion, 305th Field Artillery Brigade gather for a photograph...... read more read more

    MS, UNITED STATES

    05.08.2019

    Story by Sgt. Roger Houghton 

    First Army

    On May 7, 2019, Julie Hedrick delivered a plate of cookies to the Soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 305th Field Artillery Regiment for Military Appreciation Month. While this simple gesture was Julie's way of honoring the sacrifices of the unit members, it also says a lot about the years of selfless service provided by the distributor.

    May 10 is Military Spouse Appreciation Day, when military members honor the commitment and contributions of military spouses to the Armed Forces. Julie has been a military spouse for 18 years. She is married to Chief Warrant Officer Two Sean Hedrick, the Targeting/Radar Observer Coach/Trainer for 2-305 FA BN. While he pursued his career serving his country, Julie made many sacrifices to secure the home front.

    “I do stuff around the house, but it’s more of a supporting role,” said Sean. “Even when I think I’m making the decisions, she’s usually the one moving the chess pieces.”

    When Mr. Hedrick is away on assignment, the responsibility of raising their children falls solely on Julie’s shoulders. According to Sean, she has done great.

    “Both of our kids are smart and extremely well-mannered,” said Sean. “I’ve got no complaints about anything that she does. She’s handled it.”

    On top of managing her family, Julie has worked in many career fields at every duty station in which the Hedricks have lived.

    “I was a cashier at the McDonalds in Hinesville, Georgia” said Julie as she described the variety of her employment. “I’ve worked as an internet coordinator and a personal banker.”

    As the military moving process continued, Julie found it difficult to pursue a specific career.

    “It’s hard to advance when you’re uprooted every few months,” said Julie. “Whereas Sean gets continuity with his career, I do not. About the time I’m getting set up somewhere, it’s time to cut sling-load and go.”

    Sean has taken steps in his career to ease the burden of constant moving, finding stability in Fort Sill, Oklahoma, by undertaking an assignment in Korea.

    “He’s helped me out where he can," said Julie. "He went to Korea once to give us some stability so I could move forward in my career in Oklahoma,” said Julie.

    Despite the temporary rest, each move brought unexpected challenges. An event as simple as school registration can present unforeseen obstacles for a military spouse.

    “It’s a unique experience to move somewhere and to register your kids for school and to not have an emergency contact,” said Julie. “Who do you put down?”

    Outside of her immediate family, Julie found support in Family Readiness Groups, command-sponsored organizations of Family members and volunteers who provide mutual support.

    “There are women who will step in and say ‘you can put my name down. Here’s where you go shopping and here’s the hair place that won’t fry your hair,’” said Julie. “They’re people who can bond so quickly and so fiercely to help one-another.”

    Julie became increasingly engaged as she became closer with her new community of military spouses.

    “I’ve done everything from volunteering with the FRG to being the FRG leader. We drop off cookies and we send in snacks,” said Julie. “We’ve watched people’s children. We help the people in our community however we can.”

    “Some of those women we’re still really good friends with,” said Julie. “They helped us when we didn’t know anything.”

    After 18 years, Mr. Hedrick is now approaching retirement, and Julie has learned to adapt and overcome the challenges of being a military spouse.

    “At some point you look around and you go, ‘oh my gosh, I’m the old one who knows things!’” said Julie. “I don’t think anything ever gets any easier. It’s just that you’re more prepared to deal with things. Nothing is ever as you think it’s going to be.”

    The Hedrick's plan on staying in the local Mississippi area while their son, who is currently a freshman in high school, finishes his education. Julie and Sean haven’t decided where they will go from there, but they are equipped to handle whatever challenges come their way.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 05.08.2019
    Date Posted: 05.08.2019 17:24
    Story ID: 321458
    Location: MS, US

    Web Views: 73
    Downloads: 0
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