What does the Blue Star Families Military Family Lifestyle Survey tell us?

Posted November 29, 2012

On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, my family and I drove from Yuma to Scottsdale, Ariz. where we stayed with my parents for the weekend. Temps hovered near 80 degrees so my husband and I went on long, slow runs through insanely ostentatious Scottsdale neighborhoods. We hiked with our girls in the Dreamy Draw mountain preserve, picked out quartz and fool gold, and generally ignored reality. We sat outside and toasted to all the joys and happiness in our life: health, happiness, and friendships.

And then BAM, it was back to reality.  I neglected my email for three days and Monday morning was greeted with hundreds of ads for Cyber Monday deals, work to-do’s and tasks for an event that I’m to promote as the Public Relations volunteer for the Marine Corps Air Station Yuma Officers’ Spouses Club.

I both love and hate OSC, the non-profit designed to promote good will, friendship, and cultural opportunity among families of officers stationed at the Marine Corps Air Station Yuma. In addition, we raise funds for the further advancement of activities benefiting ALL military personnel and dependents including Educational Scholarships, Holiday Baskets, charitable, and other community projects.  MCAS Yuma is a relatively small base and yet we have our share of military families who struggle financially – our big thing is providing commissary gift cards at Thanksgiving and Christmas for our deserving Marines and sailors. Like many small community-based non-profits we are also forced to dial for dollars, beg for coverage in the local newspaper and try and dream up unique events to raise funds.  Hence the love-hate relationship.

OSC is nothing new and I am not doing anything worthy of praise – the Blue Star Families 2012 Military Family Lifestyle Survey found that 81 percent of military family respondents have volunteered in the past year.  The Military Lifestyle Survey also found that 70 percent of active duty folks said serving his or her country was very important in the decision to join the military. Not that I don’t love Yuma, but real estate was clearly not a factor in our decision to stay in the USMC for two decades. Military folks and their families vote more often than civilians and recent scandals notwithstanding – they admit to holding themselves to a higher standard.  Nothing draws attention like a scandal but a scandal in uniform, as we’ve recently come to realize, captures attention like well, medals on a General.

And so like any good volunteer, I fielded emails for the Twice Upon a Time silent auction event that OSC is hosting, shared the invite around on Facebook and promised to make my signature Key Lime Pie Martinis for the squadron with the highest event attendance.  I’m hoping the local community and veterans organizations will pitch in, as they have in years past, and donate money to our cause.

It’s not quite as easy as the ‘if you build it, they will come theory’ but Marine wives don’t often turn down an opportunity to help out our young Marines and their families and no one … I mean no one turns down my Key Lime Pie Martinis!