FORT DRUM, N.Y. (May 12, 2023) -- The Fort Drum Relocation Readiness Program (RELO) hosted a party full of games, food and giveaways May 12 at the Family Resource Center, and the guests of honor were a deserving group of community members.
“This is all for our military spouses,” said Scarlett Sharkey, RELO program manager. “They are our VIPs here and this is our small way to thank them.”
Sharkey said there is no oath of enlistment or rank given to spouses, but they serve alongside Soldiers every step of the way.
“When Soldiers are on deployments or out in the field and they don’t come home until really late at night, it’s the spouses who pick up the extra slack,” she said. “They didn’t enlist, but they still serve.”
Representatives from several Soldier and Family Readiness Division (SFRD) programs and other installation organizations supported the event, providing different activities or offering treats to family members. Family Advocacy Program staff members cooked up a grilled pepper snack on the outdoor patio, while dietitians from the Fort Drum Nutrition Clinic offered veggie plates and the USO provided a lunch spread for the celebration.
Kelly Bice is a military spouse who works closely with family members as the Army Family Team Building and Army Family Action Plan program manager. She said it is important to express gratitude to the spouses for their unique service to the country.
“Military life is not easy, and Soldiers don’t do it alone,” Bice said. “So, saying thank you once in a while and giving spouses a little of the spotlight is important so they know that they are appreciated.”
She was excited to see so many spouses and their children coming into the FRC.
“For me, this is a great opportunity to meet spouses I haven’t had an opportunity to interact with and talk about our classes to help them navigate military life,” Bice said.
Every year, National Military Spouse Appreciation Day is held on the Friday before Mother’s Day to celebrate the contributions, support and sacrifices of the spouses who serve alongside their service members. It was established in 1984 by President Ronald Reagan, and then Congress officially made Military Spouse Appreciation Day part of National Military Appreciation Month in 1999.
Whether family members played a round of “Price is Right” with the Financial Readiness Program or joined Cornell Cooperative Extension for a bead-making craft, Sharkey said she hoped they enjoyed the party and got to meet the SFRD team.
She said that Soldiers and family members can find services and support that cover all aspects of Army life within the SFRD, with programs and resources located at the Soldier and Family Readiness Center on 4th Armored Division Drive, or at the FRC on Mount Belvedere Boulevard.
“We will take care of you, start to finish and everything in between,” Sharkey said. “I tell Soldiers during in-processing that if they remember nothing else, remember that the FRC is the place to be. We’re the building with the playground attached because, honestly, we are a fun place to be.”
For more information about the Fort Drum SFRD and the programs available to community members, visit https://home.army.mil/drum/index.php/about/Garrison/directorate-human-resources/soldier-and-family-readiness-division-sfrd and follow www.facebook.com/FortDrumSFRD/.