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Be a Redwood

Sabrina Dalton is our Deputy Executive Director and is a firecracker of a community leader, homeschool mom, and global citizen. She recently was named LA Air Force Base Military Spouse of the Year. Here she shares her perspectives from a family trip that really puts into perspective the journey of our military families and the sense of community we can potentially have as we embrace PCS season.

When my family found out we would be moving to California for our next assignment, my husband had one vacation request: he wanted to go see the massive redwood trees that the state is somewhat famous for. I started researching where to find the redwoods near our house in Los Angeles and was fascinated by what I found out about these incredible trees.

Redwoods are awe-inspiring as the tallest trees on earth, nearing 300 feet high, and have been on this planet for thousands of years. Their bark is incredibly hardy, which helps protect the trees from disease and insects and makes them fire resilient but also provides a vital ecosystem for other plants and animals to flourish. Despite their size, redwoods have a very shallow root system and as such, grow interconnected to other redwoods. These trees quite literally hold each other up through their interconnected roots. Redwoods can't grow on their own- they are dependent upon a healthy ecosystem to keep them alive. Pretty amazing, right?!

These amazing trees remind me of some incredible people I know and love: military spouses and families. Military families are often looked at in awe and are on the receiving end of “I don't know how you do that”. The spouses that I know are strong, and are able to withstand uncertainty and unpredictability, while still nurturing and investing in their communities. Military families are firm, leaning on each other through the good and the bad but also with shallow roots knowing that each new assignment is temporary. Like the redwoods, military families depend upon a strong military and civilian community to help them thrive. We frankly can’t live this life alone- just like the redwoods in their forest homes.

As the summer PCS cycle gets underway and military families move all over the world, I ask that you welcome the influx of new families with open arms. Embrace what they have to offer, value them for the time they will be with you and help them thrive in their new environment. Military life is beautiful but it’s also really hard. We all have a role to play in easing the burden a family feels when they leave one community and enter a new one.

As for me and my family, we went to see the famed Redwood trees in Sequoia National Park over Labor Day weekend. My husband was thrilled to check this off his bucket list and our children had a magical time hiking amongst these giants. But this trip offered something different for me. I found myself standing among those strong, inspiring, and amazing trees and it brought a smile to my face as I recognized them as kindred spirits.

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