Family time
(Left to right) Maria Lechuga and her daughters Sophia and Marina enjoy drawing a portrait of a happy military family on the table during the Camp Darby Military Appreciation barbecue Nov. 10.

CAMP DARBY, Italy - During November, Camp Darby's Army Community Services is showing its appreciation for Military Families with a special barbecue and new programs like the single parent support group.

One event that highlighted the sacrifices made by families supporting their service members was a chili and rib cook-off and barbecue appreciation event Nov. 10.

"It was nice to have a night where spouses didn't have to cook...they deserve the appreciation for all that they do for us," said Tech. Sgt. Edwin Fields, father of one.

Air Force Master Sergeant James Poole added that "Families are the lifeline of our success."

On March 11, 2009, Congress declared the year 2009 to be the year of "The Military Family." This symbolic gesture was and is used as a way to show support, love and appreciation for the 2.9 million spouses of Active, Reserve, and Guard components, 1.3 million military "brats", as well as the millions of military parents.

Families can pack up a home and move across country or across the ocean with very little notice. They can even make any old house a home. Military Families are often separated for very long periods of time, missing holidays, birthdays, and life milestones. But they do it all with a smile on their faces and a pride that cannot be explained.

"It's a lot of sacrifice and hard work, but in the end it's worth it," says Coralia Jimenez-Goodman, Army wife and Soldier.

"A strong Soldier is the result of a strong family," added Maria Lechuga, mother of two.

Page last updated Thu November 12th, 2009 at 08:00