By Allen Shaw, Fort Wainwright PAOMay 8, 2013
FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska - The Fort Wainwright community is filled with hundreds of ordinary people doing extraordinary things on a daily basis. There are stories of battlefield heroes, those who have overcome insurmountable obstacles and folks who have experienced rare opportunities. This is also true with the remarkable military children, who did not volunteer for this life, but embrace it and make the best of it. One of those notable young ladies is Erisha Dave, daughter of Calvin and Staff Sgt. Kamesha Snead, Dental Department Activity -- Alaska. "I'm in the process of legally changing my name," said Dave, "I would like to carry my grandfather's name through my college and professional career. He inspires me."
Dave started playing hoops in front of her house when she was in second grade and began playing organized sports in sixth grade. She is currently a senior at Lathrop High School and a stand-out basketball player who recently accepted a full scholarship to play ball at Howard College in Texas. Howard College finished 19-11 on the season and wrapped up Western Junior Athletic Conference play with a record of 7-7. She said her future basketball coaches are Earl Diddle and Addie Lees, and are fully committed to mentor and provide her with tools to develop as a person, as a student and as an athlete.
Every military Family knows it isn't an easy life and there are always obstacles. "It was very hard as a little kid but once I reached middle school I began to understand and it became normal. I knew that my mother had to do what she had to do to support me and my brothers, and if that meant we had to move that's what it was. Now I realize that all the transitioning and moving was just God's way of preparing me for my future," Dave said.
She also gives credit to her parents for her success. Dave said, "Without their love and support, I wouldn't be here today." She is extremely thankful they continually pushed her to succeed, encouraged her to do her best and always believed in her. "I know that God smiles on me because he allowed me to have wonderful parents that care enough to sacrifice for the needs of their children. I know my mom has had to alter plans many times to surround us and cater to me and my brother's needs. I feel so blessed," she said.
Dave has always been motivated, according to her dad, who was the winner of the 2012 Operation Rising Star competition, one of the top eight among the Army-wide finalists and former member of the Army Soldier Show. "Her mom and I are very proud of her and have always been her biggest fans," Snead said. As for Dave, she said, "Honestly I feed off of my family; they are so supportive and loving. You know, a lot of people ask for riches. I'm just thankful that I had my family by my side and that we were able to survive day-to-day life with so much love and encouragement."
Being both an academic and athletic success, she encourages children to be considerate to their parents, understand they have a job to do and have sworn to uphold freedom. She also knows how significant it is to accept the sacrifices. "It's important to give back to the community, especially because it's a military community. I think the men and women that serve are brave and selfless and I appreciate them for everything they do."
Dave is a military child and during the Month of the Military Child, they are recognized and appreciated for their bravery. As one of those Family members who have had to pack up and move every couple of years, spend a long period of time away from a parent and is constantly trying to meet new people or make new friends, she has one message for all who travel that same path.
"Respect your parents," Dave said, " I know sometimes it seems that you may never see your parent or parents who serve in the military, but I would like to encourage you to stay strong, follow your dreams, and don't let anyone or anything distract you from your goal. If your parents deploy, it should motivate you even more of what needs to be done. Appreciate your Family, love your siblings and most of all; stay in school. Education is the vehicle that drives your future endeavors."