April is Month of the Military Child, and to celebrate, we would like to share with you the story of one of our very own Military Brats on staff, case manager Naomi.
“My father joined the Army straight out of High School,” Naomi told us.
“My mother graduated the following year and flew to Germany to marry him. I was born nine months and five days from their wedding date.”
In her early years, her family moved several times within the United States before moving together overseas to Bangkok, Thailand.
“My father worked in the Embassy in Bangkok during the Vietnam War. I remember at age 5 or 6 having to move quickly to a high-security building with Doberman guard dogs, armed guards, and tall walls with glass embedded in the top.”
“I did not know until I was an adult that everybody did not grow up learning to take safety precautions.” Said Naomi.
Throughout her childhood, she also spent time in Spain, Massachusetts, and Michigan, where she and her siblings and mother often lived while her father was on unaccompanied assignments. She did her sophomore and junior year of high school in Okinawa, Japan, coming back to do her senior year in Alpena, Michigan.
Being an Army brat meant a unique childhood filled with many different cultures and wonderful people.
“Meeting new people and learning new things was fun, and my mother always stressed enjoying the adventure.” She said.
“I always felt sorry for kids that had to stay in the same place all the time. Home was where your things and family were, not a place or a building or even a certain group of people.”
“As an adult, I struggled with staying put in one place. I enjoyed the adventure of moving and travel. I went to four different high schools, so getting invited to a high school reunion is interesting for me!” She said with a laugh.
When asked about how her childhood affected her career choice, she said, “I grew up valuing service to others. I knew I wanted to help children and families. I knew I had the “gift of gab,” learned quickly, and was flexible. I looked for a career that encompassed those things.”
“My firsthand experience with the sacrifices and long-term effects on families who are dependent on a service member is helpful in my work as a caseworker at the National Home. The transition into the civilian community was very difficult for our family, and I think my experiences there have been helpful when working with families who are experiencing transitions. I help them to identify their strengths and how they might be translated into civilian life.”
Naomi is proud to be a Military “brat.”
“Military children have unique strengths, are resilient, adaptive, and interesting.”