Many of us know someone who served in the military, and the country is grateful for their service. Memorial Day weekend can be solemn for some, so here are a few uplifting stories that might bring a little joy in these difficult times.
Members of the Oklahoma National Guard have been serving as aid to combat COVID-19 in many ways like packing food at food banks, handing out medical supplies to those in need, and helping at testing facilities. One of the sweetest stories was the news that members of the Oklahoma National Guard were going to long-term care facilities and cleaning for them, bringing peace of mind to the residents and a sense of fulfillment to the members of the Guard. The National Guard has a positive reputation of responding and cleaning previous natural disaster incidents. To read more on this story we attached the link here!
A Marine and his son ran the Historic Half in the most unusual way due to COVID-19. The Historic Half is a 13.1 mile run that is typically run between the capital of the Commonwealth in Richmond and the nation's capital, but this year due to COVID-19 the rules have changed. To keep all athletes safe. runners uploaded their running times from their current location. Marine Major Kutze and his son were determined to still run together even though Kutze was stationed in Okinawa. Both he and his son were disappointed that he couldn't come home, but they made the best of the situation and planned out their runs together. Kutze ran through an Okinawa mall known for its vending machines, planning for the vending machines to be his water breaks. With a couple of yen in his pocket and knowing his son was running the same race stateside, Kutze set off running. The highlight for Kutz was that his son ran in 2 hours and 9 minutes and Kutze best time was 2 hours and 10 minutes. Kutze was so proud of his son for "leaving him in the dust"! For the rest of the story, click here.
While many enlisting offices were closed for a short period due to COVID-19, they are staring to slowly open back up with many precautions. The Navy spoke about what they are doing during this time of recruiting, explaining that they ask for those interested to call ahead and schedule an appointment. Once the recruits are off to basic training, they must first have a 14 day quarantine when they arrive to their first destination, then a second quarantine at the second designation. They want to go above and beyond to make sure that their new recruits stay healthy. Chief of Naval Personnel, Vice Administrator, John Nowell Jr. had a goal this year of having 40,800 personnel. Even with COVID-19 he is "Cautiously optimistic," because of the steady increase of enlistment. This is exciting news for our military service men and women! To read more on the story click the link here!
Unfortunately, many teenagers this year are missing their Prom due to COVID-19. Many have already bought suits and dresses prior to self-isolation and now those items remain hanging in a closet, but not for some. Upon hearing the news of school and prom cancelations, many students that worked in the Food Court of Spangdahlem Air Base decided to go to work instead. Management of the food court made prom day special for those who couldn't go to prom by letting their high school employees wear their prom apparel to work. While they still had to work, on their breaks they had mini prom celebrations. During breaks they would have mini hors' d'oeuvres, vote on prom king and queen, and at the end of the night they had a brief dance party all keeping within CDC guidelines. This brought so much joy to the high school employees and many said that it was less stressful at work because they were still able to celebrate prom. The full story is here.
Known for their preparation for surviving in every intense situation, the Coast Guard picks up many skills including sewing! The Coast Guard knows how to sew their own materials when they are in need of repair. This led to the idea to sew masks for those in need. When they aren't flying, repairing something, or training, they are found sewing masks together. When one team stops, another team takes over the work. The community is extremely grateful for the aid and they continue to be big supporters of the Coast Guard! Read the whole story here.
COVID-19 may be keeping people apart physically, but the USAG Bavaria MWR (Army Morale, Welfare, and Recreation) is determined to keep their community strong. Just this last weekend they had a drive-in movie event! The whole community got involved, even having staff paint the side of a building white so they could project the movie. It was a fun event that was by registration only. They were sold out within minute of opening registration. They made sure everyone was a parking space apart and had prepackaged popcorn ready for every vehicle that came. The community just raved about how fun and exciting it was for them to have community in this way. They are planning for another event for this coming Memorial Day. Meanwhile they are posting online material or the community to have access to, even a daily story time for the young members of the community. USAG Bavaria MWR is determined that they will thrive in this difficult time and continue to have community not matter what comes their way! For the full story click here!
Even amidst COVID-19, the new branch of the military - the United States Space Force - is starting to come together. Started December 20th, 2019, this is the first branch of the military added since the Air Force in 1947. Since December they have announced Chief of Space Operations as General Jay Raymond and Senior Enlisted Advisor Chief Master Sargent, Robert Towmebrman. While they are still figuring out rank and uniforms, they were excited to announce the new flag for this branch of the military. Seeing this branch push on to develop, has given hope to many to look toward a bright future! To read the rest of the story and to see the flag design click here!