Being an army wife and apart of Bravo Company 3/116th INF is an eye opening experience. Being a "new" army wife is not only an eye opening experience but has given me a new appreciation for our military. I find myself reading every article, keeping up on what congress is doing and the decisions they are making, as well as noticing men and women in uniform. I see the community board posted in our local Wal-Mart with pictures of those serving and make sure I stop to think about them.
I met my (now) husband knowing he had a military background, but that was not an issue at the time as he was out of the service. With my full support behind him he joined the Virginia National Guard in May of 2006 for a 1 year enlistment. With the many issues going on in our world today it was highly possible that he would be deployed. As the year passed and no orders came I was starting to relax a bit. We went on a company cruise that my broker Sherry Wilson with RE/MAX Leaders takes us on annually. It was on that cruise that my husband decided he better come forth with information about the orders that he was expecting to come in. I was trying to book another cruise at that time which gave him no choice than to tell me at that moment. I was in shock and was very upset. I had met the man of my dreams and he was possibly going off to war. How would I ever get myself through it?
It was March 2006 when the "stop loss" went into effect. Even though my husband had a 1 year enlistment, he was not going to be getting out in May. If anyone understands the military way of life it is a lot of hurry up and wait....when the details were out and a date was set I realized it was real. June 26th was the date of deployment. Our wedding plans were moved up and we got married on May 12, 2007 and my husband deployed the following month.
I met a few ladies with the family readiness group. The FRG takes care of the families and keeps everyone posted and current on unit information. I decided if I was going to keep my sanity that I wanted to volunteer my time. I became a board member for the FRG and then became the co-leader of the Soldier Care Group. The SCG does the fundraising for the unit and pays for items the soldiers need while deployed, pays for care packages, and will assist with the coming home ceremony. These ladies became my extended family. There is nothing like the feelings you experience going through a deployment...this being my 1st I was not sure what I should expect. It is nice to have someone to email, text, or talk with that understands what you are going through.
The day the unit left was heart breaking...I have never witnessed so many tears, heard so many "good bye's", or just been apart of a more emotional ceremony. My emotions were a roller coaster. I was sad, fearful, mad, proud, and thankful all at the same time. Then before I knew it the buses were pulling away. I watched as my husband SPC Pruitt left not knowing when/if he would return. To my surprise after only being gone for a month he came home due to an injury he suffered while at pre-deployment training in Mississippi for 3 months. He is home now and doing well and has re-enlisted for another 3 years. He reports monthly to the armory for duty.
I remain involved in the SCG and FRG and kept my position as the co-leader. After all, we still had soldiers and a unit overseas that needed our support. Our 1st large fundraiser was coming up the "Support Our Troops" craft show. Jane LeHew and I had weeks and months of planning and the big day was coming. Money needed to be raised to pay for shipping cost of care packages and the coming home ceremony. Our show was this past Saturday November 17th, 2007 and it was a great success! We had about 35-40 vendors register for our show and the community came out to show their support for their home town heroes. We made the front page of the Northern Virginia Dailey.
My National Guard experience over the last year has given me a new appreciation for our military and what the families go through. These men and women miss birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, 1st steps, births, and even sometimes deaths. The families deal with the deployment as well as the soldiers. We are looking for heroes for our children why don't we look to these soldiers who give all they have? Some even make the ultimate sacrifice. I will continue to lead the Soldier Care Group and show support for my husband's unit. We are planning a basket bingo in April and another craft show May 10th.
The next time you see someone in uniform just say "thank you", offer to buy their lunch...anything you can think of at the time to let them know you appreciate what they do for our country. When my husband was on the return flight from Mississippi and in uniform he told me a story that brought chills to my arms. When he got onto the plane and was walking through the 1st class seating a gentleman stood up and asked where he was sitting. He replied 26C and the gentleman stated "well now you not, you are sitting here soldier". That gracious man gave up his 1st class seat to my husband just to say "thank you for serving". That story gave me chills when my husband called after landing. It is when I hear and see stories like that which make me grateful and proud that my husband is a soldier! I am proud of him every day for protecting our family and America!
Give Thanks To Our Troops This Thanksgiving Day 2007!
Crystal Pruitt - REALTOR
1021 East Main Street
Purcellville VA 20132
Direct: 540-338-6300 Ext. 133