Neighbors are the people in our lives who are there with us to celebrate life’s joys and to support us during the trying times. They may know us and our families intimately. Or, they may be the passerby who noticed that we’ve stumbled and reached out a hand of support without expectation of thanks. They shovel our snow for us during harsh winters or arrive with a hot meal, cookies for the kids, and a kind word at the end of a hard week. Neighbors are people we have known for years and folks we just met when we arrived in a new town. Neighbors create community.
As active duty military families, we move often and our support networks are constantly in flux. We welcome neighbors who quickly become friends as we journey across the country and around the world. These special civilian neighbors are the ties that bind us to our broader community.
We meet them in the grandstands while cheering our children’s teams, at the local Starbucks over a cup of coffee, or at our places of worship. The person who first nodded at us with understanding as our toddler melted down in the checkout line or who struck up a conversation with us during intermission at the theatre is now the person we depend upon when times are tough and deployments are long. Sometimes the bond grew from the most unexpected place is the one we don’t know what we would do without it.
In celebration of those extraordinary civilian neighbors, Blue Star Families is currently soliciting nominations for the annual Blue Star Neighbors Award. Through December 31, 2018, Blue Star Families invites military families to submit stories about the civilians who have made a difference, recognizing the small ways in which neighbors elevate us in our daily lives and create community outside of the military ranks. There is no service too small that does not demand our acknowledgment and appreciation.
So please share those stories with us, of how your military family’s life has been enriched by the generosity of your civilian neighbor. We will shine the light on your neighbor, as an example of how everyone can serve our country by supporting our military community.