PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. (Nov. 23, 2022) – The County of Monterey honored a Presidio of Monterey family with a framed copy of the county’s Military Family Appreciation Month proclamation at a meeting in Salinas on Nov. 22.
Monterey County Supervisor Wendy Root Askew, a former military child herself, presented the proclamation to Nicholas Morgan, 15, the Porter Youth Center’s Military Youth of the Year 2021, and his family. The presentation demonstrated the close ties between the Presidio and surrounding communities.
Nicholas accepted the proclamation with his father, Air Force Master Sgt. Vincent Morgan, mother Ashley, sisters Charlotte, 11, and Abigail, 3, and brother Jackson, 9. Elaine Vrolyks, the PoM school liaison officer, recommended the family for the honor and accompanied them at the meeting.
“The Morgan family, they’re amazing,” Vrolyks said during the presentation. “They’re one of our exemplary families. Nick has been an amazing youth of the year for us.”
Nicholas said he appreciated the county’s recognition of the sacrifices that military families make, such as deployments and frequent moves.
“They’re putting their lives on the line for a greater cause,” Nicholas said, “but it’s a big sacrifice on their part and I think that should be recognized.”
Volunteering at the Porter Youth Center has been a great experience, Nicholas said, and he encourages other military youths to go to the center.
“There is an entire community of people who understand what it’s like, who have been through what you’ve been through that you can really connect to on a deeper level, and that can really open you up to new things,” Nicholas said. “It can really open your entire world, because one day I stepped in there and it changed my entire life.”
Vrolyks told the board of supervisors a little about the military community in the Monterey area, explaining that most military families come to the area so service members can attend the Naval Postgraduate School and the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center.
“Families can be here for a year to two years, three years depending on assignment, but they come here to study, and then they move into some very serious situations protecting our nation,” Vrolyks said.
The resolution recognized the unique sacrifices and challenges that family members make in support of their loved ones in uniform.
“Whereas no matter what rank or branch or where life has taken military families, they share common threads of service and sacrifice,” the resolution read in part. “Whereas spouses of those in the military are fellow citizens and neighbors and their service to their families and their country, they represent the true strength of America.”
Askew said that as a military child she moved almost yearly for a formative period of her life, and she appreciates the sacrifices that military families make.
“It’s my honor and absolute privilege to recognize all of our military families that pass through Monterey County, who have chosen to make Monterey County home and who bring so much strength and experience and diversity to the rich fabric of Monterey County,” Askew said.
Master Sgt. Morgan said he and his family have been in Monterey for about three years, and in that time, Nicholas has thrived at the Porter Youth Center.
“It’s really [Nicholas’s] efforts that have opened our family to these kinds of opportunities,” Master Sgt. Morgan said. “We’re grateful for it, but we’re just happy that he took advantage of the things that were presented to him, the opportunities that were out there.”
Ashley Morgan said she began homeschooling her children when they moved to Monterey, and the Presidio of Monterey has provided a lot of support with the Porter Youth Center and the homeschool coop, which meets monthly and provides opportunities such as field trips.
As a military family member, Ashley Morgan also said she appreciates the county’s recognition of military families.
“I think it’s good to get recognition when sometimes maybe [military families] don’t feel recognized,” Ashley Morgan said. “Sometimes sacrifices go unnoticed. I think it’s nice to shine a little spotlight once in awhile in a crowd that usually doesn’t like the spotlight as much.”