Fort McCoy News April 22, 2016

Luncheon celebrates, honors military children

STORY & PHOTOS BY AIMEE MALONE
Public Affairs Staff

A luncheon and celebration honoring military children and their sacrifices was held April 14 as part of the Month of the Military Child at McCoy's Community Center.

The Wisconsin Council for the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children held the event at Fort McCoy and included the Tomah and Sparta area school districts. The Month of the Military Child observance, held every April, was established to underscore the important role children play in the armed forces community.

Wisconsin Commissioner Shelly Joan Weiss with the Wisconsin Council for the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children talks about the leadership potential of military children at a luncheon April 14 at McCoy’s Community Center.
Wisconsin Commissioner Shelly Joan Weiss with the Wisconsin Council
for the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military
Children talks about the leadership potential of military children at a
luncheon April 14 at McCoy's Community Center.

Fort McCoy Families with children in the Tomah and Sparta school districts were treated to lunch and entertained by members of the Tomah High School Select Choir. Local and state educators spoke in praise of service members and the support their children show for their careers.

Garrison Commander Col. David J. Pinter Sr. spoke about the importance of the Month of the Military Child and the support of local communities.

"Military children are strong, resilient, and equipped to adapt to present and future changes," Pinter said. "The Month of the Military Child reaffirms the Army's commitment to ensure excellence in school, child care, and youth services and provide a supportive environment for our children to thrive.

"The Fort McCoy community is fortunate to have partnerships with the Tomah Area School District and Sparta Area School District," Pinter said. "They play an important role in ensuring military children and their Families have the support they need to meet the unique challenges of military children."

Several students shared their thoughts and feelings about their parents' service in the military. Despite the stress of frequent moves and their parents' deployments, they said they were proud of being in military Families and appreciated the opportunities available to them.

Wisconsin State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers praised the hardiness and sacrifices that military children make in support of their parents.

"The sacrifices that those children make ... are just extraordinary," Evers said. "The sacrifices they make being around a member of the military gives them perseverance, flexibility, grit — all those things that, frankly, we don't measure on a test, but we measure as they become adults."

State Sen. Julie Lassa said 15,000 military children live in Wisconsin, and it's important to recognize the challenges they face. "When a service member serves, their Family also serves," Lassa said. "I appreciate the sacrifice these kids are making so (their parents) can protect our country."

Members of the Tomah High School Select Choir sing a selection at the luncheon.
Members of the Tomah High School Select Choir sing a selection at the
luncheon.

Col. Michael George, director of the Wisconsin National Guard's Service Member Support Division, praised the support of local communities in helping bolster the nation's military.

"The strength of our armed forces and the well-being of our military Families are supported by the strength of our communities," George said.

Wisconsin Commissioner Shelly Joan Weiss with the Wisconsin Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children spoke of the potential military children show and how their sacrifices can help them later in life.

"We know you face special challenges, but we also know that you've got unique opportunities," Weiss said.

"I know from the research that you will go on to be some of the greatest leaders we will ever see," she said. "Kids in the military ... go on to become leaders in the military, leaders in industry, leaders in business, leaders in their communities."

School Liaison Officer Becky Walley said Fort McCoy Child, Youth and Student Services (CYSS) is grateful for the continued support of area communities and educators.

"We appreciate the support of our local school districts and educators," Walley said. "The support of our local communities, especially Sparta and Tomah, is extremely important in helping ensure the well-being and success of our military children.

"We are extremely proud of our military Families at Fort McCoy, and especially our military children," she said.

For more information about CYSS and Month of the Military Child, call Parent Central Services at 608-388-8956.