“The Month of the Military Child” honors sacrifices, challenges faced by kids of service men and women
COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) — Pierce Terrace Elementary School at Fort Jackson began celebrations for “The Month of the Military Child” — honoring the sacrifices and challenges that kids of service men and women face.
Students, parents, and faculty joined together for a special walk around the school as they were serenaded by Fort Jackson band members. The children then enjoyed some additional play time.
Fort Jackson’s Garrison Commander, Colonel Ryan Hanson, says children of military parents make sacrifices too– whether its through moving to different cities and leaving behind friends, or having less time with a deployed parent.
“I didn’t grow up as a military child, however I do have three children. They range from 19 to 14, so they’ve lived a special life. A little bit different than I did. I had deployments, I had to be at work early, so I don’t want to say it’s difficult, right? It’s just a little bit different than what other children face on a daily basis,” says Hanson.
SFC Andrew Welsh says military life is an adventure.
“Our daughter was born in Washington, our son in Hawaii, and we’ve been here at Jackson, and we’re about to go to Louisiana, followed by Texas,” says Welsh.
He and his wife Heather Welsh say having each other makes things easier, but they know change can be hard on the kids.
“I see my child struggle sometimes when we talk about moving, and the sadness of leaving friends and leaving everything that she knows and remember. So they definitely experience a lot of hardship. And I always have to remind myself that I chose this life and to marry into this, and my child did not choose this life. She was born into this, and its all she knows, and so its harder for her in that aspect,” says Heather Welsh.
Principal Robert Battey says he and the staff at Pierce Terrace Elementary are here for their kids — providing them support through changes they experience with empathy, guidance counselors, and Military Family Life Counselors.
“The dandelion is actually the flower that represents “The Month of the Military Child” because it can thrive anywhere. Plants its roots and thrives. And that’s true of our children. They rotate in and out of different installations and they have to make connections on an ongoing basis,” Battey says.
The Welshes remain grateful for the school and the community’s support.
“We have each other to go through each step. Every day is a new day, and we just celebrate what we have and are thankful for the support from the community for what we do,” says SFC Welsh.
According to Battey, celebrations will continue all month long for the kids at Pierce Terrace Elementary.