By Sgt. Larry Barnhill, USASOCNovember 21, 2019
FORT BRAGG, North Carolina -- As the first cold and rainy fall day of the year showered Fort Bragg and surrounding areas, the U.S. Army Special Operations Command Family Programs Building served as a warm escape for USASOC Family members to craft Christmas ornaments and enjoy refreshments.
The 1st Special Warfare Training Group (Airborne) celebrated the Month of the Military Family by hosting the 'Sparkle and Shine, It's Holiday Time' event, November 12. During the event, children made holiday crafts and decorated gift bags for Veteran's Affairs Medical Center and parents or teachers respectively.
USASOC acting Family Programs director Jennifer Stallworth explained how this event presents an opportunity for all USASOC Families to meet each other.
"We do this to start the holiday season by bringing in all of the Families in USASOC to meet the spouses of the senior leaders," Stallworth said. "Each unit in USASOC has their own Family program but we open this event to all units because we're all one big Family and it's a way to honor the Month of the Military Family," she continued.
Elizabeth, the wife of USASOC's commanding general, Lt. Gen. Francis Beaudette, talked about this event providing an opportunity for Families from all USASOC units to fellowship.
"Sparkle and Shine provided an opportunity for Families to come together for fellowship, to connect with other USASOC Families, and to create a memory that is representative of their time in the Command," Elizabeth said. "Additionally, children created something special to share with our extended military Families," she mentioned.
The wife of a Special Forces Soldier, Sara, shared her experiences with USASOC Family events and the parts she enjoys most.
"My favorite part of the event was the conversation with the other spouses, which is, in my opinion always the best part of these types of events," Sara said. "This was my first USASOC Family event outside of Trunk or Treat and I think anytime you can give spouses and Families time for fellowship and come together, you are doing them a service," she added.
LaToya, a 95th Civil Affairs wife, talked about how the event offered attendees a chance to use arts and crafts to be creative and produce gifts.
"This event served our Family by giving us a venue and supplies to bond and be creative among other military Families," LaToya said. "It also provided us the opportunity to give a small token of appreciation to Veterans," she added.
A USASOC chaplain's wife, Kelly, spoke of how Family activities and refreshments provide an atmosphere conducive to new acquaintances forming a bond and having a good time.
"I love having the opportunity to meet Soldiers and Families from the USASOC enterprise," Kelly said. "Decorating ornaments, serving hot dogs, stacking chairs, and spending time with the people brings me great joy because we "do life" together and it's a huge blessing and I'm so glad to be part of the team," she added.
Another USASOC Soldier's wife, Kristine, alluded to the importance of Families in supporting service members when Soldiers deploy or are away for training.
"I think it's important to recognize and honor the commitments and contributions that military Families make every day in support of our Nation," Kristine said. "Hopefully events like this help show them [Families] just how important they are to the community, and that they are greatly appreciated," she concluded.