HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (April 8, 2015) -- This is a big year for the Plitsch family.
In May, a baby girl will be welcomed in the world, joining brothers Jacob and Ryan, and sister Aubrie. Four young children will keep their parents John and Jenny hopping, but they said that being welcomed into their new home community in Madison has eased the transition of relocation that is part of military family life. Capt. John Plitsch is an account manager and experimental test pilot for Redstone Test Center. He and his wife Jenny, a stay-at-home mom, moved to Madison in August and said they have been welcomed with open arms by fellow military families and the community alike.
"We love the Madison/Huntsville area," Plitsch said. "We like the values here and it is such a great place to raise a family. There is no community like Madison -- you could call it picturesque."
John and Jenny met while John was a cadet at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and together have built a life and family together during John's 10-year Army career. Plitsch said that there are pros and cons to raising a military family, although "the Army is good to shepherd you through the moving process. And (you have the opportunity to) experience parts of the country that you wouldn't otherwise."
"Military life has been an adventure!" Jenny Plitsch said. "We truly love all the different places we've had the opportunity to live in and visit. With each new duty station comes new sites to see and places to explore. It has been such a blessing to meet so many new people and make dear friends with each move we make."
Although, there are many positives to military life, it can be challenging being away from extended family, Plitsch said. With Jenny's family in Canada and John's in South Carolina, being far from grandparents can be difficult, especially when planning a date night or just needing a helping hand. Fortunately, being a military family means that you are an automatic member of a group which understands the challenges that might occur.
"Deployments are, of course, a difficult thing to have to go through as a family," Jenny said. " There is no easy way to deal with such a time apart from each other. Also, as much as we enjoy going to new places and meeting new people, it always means leaving behind close friends.
"As our children get older, we are seeing how much more difficult moving away has become. Thankfully, with each move, new friends have been made and old friends stay in touch through phone calls, letters and Facebook."
The Plitsch family enjoys traveling and is happy that their current assignment is close to such family-friendly destinations as Destin and Chattanooga. Before the littlest Plitsch arrives, the family will take their last trip as a party of five when they brave Disney World in April. After that, it will be adjusting to life with a newborn and continuing to explore their new hometown. Plitsch said they like to take excursions to the Earlyworks Family of Museums in downtown Huntsville, Madison's Dublin Park and the Huntsville Botanical Gardens. On any given evening, the Plitsch family can usually be found at Palmer Park in Madison watching their oldest, Jacob, play baseball.
Plitsch is very thankful to his wife for being the backbone of their family and for her support of his military career.
"Like many wonderful Army spouses, Jenny works diligently and selflessly every day for our family," he said. "She has always been right by my side and is truly my biggest cheerleader and confidant."
After a decade of military service and soon-to-be four children, Plitsch said the advice he would give a new military family would be to look for a mentor -- someone who has been in the same shoes -- or combat boots. Plitsch said one of the aspects of living in Madison that he enjoys is the multitude of veterans who have retired in the community. They might no longer be serving in active duty, but they still understand the lifestyle and are quick to lend a helping hand to newcomers.
"It is important to find a mentor -- not just career-wise, but someone who lines up with you, both family and faith-wise," he said.
Both husband and wife said it is important to try to accentuate the positive.
"You've got to lean on each other, find humor in the struggles and focus on the good," Plitsch said.
Jenny Plitsch agreed. "More than likely, you will face a duty station that doesn't initially excite you," she said. "No matter where you end up moving, it will quickly feel like home if you remain positive, be open to change and embrace the chance to meet new people and explore somewhere new. Through deployments and moves and all that comes with this lifestyle, it is so important to work together and encourage everyone as a family.
"Home is where you make it."