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    Month of the Military Child brings Purple Parade to Garmisch

    Month of the Military Child brings Purple Parade to Garmisch

    Photo By Sgt. Patrik Orcutt | Members of the Garmisch Elementary and Middle School (GEMS) community lined up their...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Patrik Orcutt 

    Joint Multinational Readiness Center

    GARMISCH, Germany- Members of the Garmisch Elementary and Middle School (GEMS) community lined up their decorated cars with a military police escort, drove through on-base housing where their fellow community members cheered with them from their festively decorated balconies, April 29, 2020. GEMS is holding it’s first-ever Social Distancing Purple Up Parade. April is the Month of the Military Child.

    “Originally, at GEMS, we planned to throw a pep rally on our schoolyard with food, a DJ playing loud music, lots of decorations, and cheering. This was pre-COVID 19. Now we find ourselves inside our homes rather than out at school,” said Meagan Malone, a PTA Special Events coordinator who is a military spouse and a GEMS parent. “Our teachers still wanted to find a special way to show how proud they are of GEMS students and the PTA wanted to celebrate our awesome military kids, thusly the parade was born.”

    Planning an event like this brought its own set of challenges given the current social norms and requirements during COVID-19.

    “We are really lucky because being such a small, tight-knit community many of us know each other well. This is the first time I’ve ever had to do a formal risk assessment form or a CONOP for a PTA event,” said Meagan.“Also, I’ve never had to turn volunteers away due to a lack of face-masks or social distancing regulations. So we had to get creative but specific about our parameters.”

    An example of this is that families can be in the parade, but must remain in their car as not to gather in a group. Families are allowed to cheer from their porched but can not gather on the sidewalks. All volunteers must follow social distancing and be at least six feet apart and wear appropriate gear.

    “I think the community is just excited for the opportunity to feel like a community again. We are all here still but that sense of connection has been lost, said Meagan.”I think that’s one of the reasons the videos were so popular last week, families were reminded they can still be silly and funny in the midst of such a serious time. Parents especially, it seemed, let loose and had fun in ways that maybe had been momentarily forgotten.”

    Planning a smaller event like this was not just the work of Meagan, but a community of people.

    “This event was a group effort; Casey Cloud, PTA Secretary, military spouse, and GEMS parent, with Emma Corriveau, PTA President, Canadian military spouse and GEMS parent, and Amy Cox, GEMS teacher, student council sponsor and the military child herself, all worked together to make this event happen online instead of in school,” said Meagan. “Brynn Cisewski, a 7th grader at GEMS, served as our Purple Up Ambassador. Brynn was a much need to face to an online event. Brynn is smart, kind, artistic, and talented. She represents all military kids well.”

    The parade allowed the Garmisch community's parents to show how proud they are of their children during abnormal times.

    “We often talk about how resilient our military kids are, and they truly are, but having this parade allows the adults in our community to show them just how proud we are. It’s not a poster or sticker or some other kind of well-meaning trinket, it’s showing up and cheering loudly. It’s proving that actions speak louder than words. It’s showing each other how much we care, even if we have to be at least six feet away,” said Meagan.



    Date Taken: 04.30.2020
    Date Posted: 04.30.2020 11:36
    Story ID: 368843

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