Drill sergeant spouse pays it forward
May 17, 2012
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Julie Correira's day typically starts out like that of any other stay-at-home mother. She makes breakfast and sends her two children, Sydney, 12, and Isabella, 7, off to school. After that, however, Correira can be found at rifle ranges, obstacle courses and other Fort Jackson training sites.
Correira, wife of Staff Sgt. Kevin Correira, a drill sergeant with Company C., 2nd Battalion, 13th Infantry Regiment, has been at Fort Jackson since February 2009 and spends her days taking photos for the unit and managing its Facebook page.
Correira said she contributes about as many hours to the battalion as many people contribute to their paid jobs -- between 40 to 50 hours per week on average. She said she does it to help battalion families stay on top of daily activities their Soldiers do while in Basic Combat Training.
Correira set up the Facebook page April 2010, in hopes of showing families of Soldiers in training photos and videos of BCT and answering questions family members might have concerning training at Fort Jackson. The page currently has more than 16,000 "likes."
When she first committed herself to volunteer for the battalion and start a unit Facebook page, she enlisted the help of two other military spouses to get an understanding of the post and basic training.
Lt. Col. Patrick Crosby, 2-13th commander, shed some light on her dedication to helping families.
"Julie sees this as her mission to help out families," Crosby said. "(If) I'm coming into the Army for the first time what would I want to know? ... It's really good to know that I have someone that can help out in that regard."
Correira said she loves hearing from families of Soldiers who have gone to their next assignment and started to participate with their units' Family Readiness Groups. She said meeting the family members she connected with online at the end of basic training brings her great joy.
"They stop at our tent by the droves on Family Day and graduation (day), which I find humorous because they haven't seen their Soldier yet and they come to us crying, thanking us for what we have provided them. We've welcomed them in to the Army family with open arms," Correira said.
"The one thing that we ask of them is to pay it forward. The Army is always in need of volunteers," Correira said.
She explained that when she first married her husband social media did not exist. To understand the Army felt to her like attempting to understand a highly-secretive organization.
Now, with the ability to research Army regulations online and grasping all the family programs the Army has to offer, she is paying it forward to other Army families. Correira especially remembers one family member she met that touched her heart.
"I will never forget her hug, you could feel her thankfulness. It was the best hug I had received in my entire life and I still keep in touch with her until this day," Correira said.
However, she does not accept all the credit for her success with families of the battalion. She explained that this could not have been done without the help of the battalion's commanders and team of volunteers.
Correira stressed how vital the efforts of all the volunteers are to the success of the battalion's relationship with the families of Soldiers.
"Military spouses are a very strong and unique group of men and women," she said.