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Military kids; stress, trauma and potential

Sarah Alvarez

Michigan Radio'sState of Opportunity is interested in talking about issues that affect Michigan's "at-risk" kids.

This week, Sarah Alvarez reports on a groups of these kids that have a tendency to  be overlooked: military families.

Turns out, it isn't just outside groups that overlook the needs of military families, though. Sometimes the military does, too.

"Army National Guard and Army reserves I feel, a lot of times, are forgotten." Kimberly Sucheck, a military mom and former cop, says. In Michigan, over 17 thousand people are in either of those two military branches.

Alvarez met Sucheck and four of her friends at an empty VFW post in Lansing. Alvarez wanted to know how these women help their kids handle stress and trauma that comes along with having a husband on active duty. 

Many of the women said they relied on family and friends to make it through the difficult times. Sometimes they relied on military supported family readiness groups.

But in times of need, most of the women said they relied on each other. Sucheck even wrote a guide, Operation Military Resources, to let military families know of all the resources available to them, like emergency funds and respite childcare, since the military didn't have one.

All of the women Alvarez met use the guide and appreciate feeling supported by the civilian population as well.

For Kerri Gallagher, another military mom Alvarez met, that support comes from an expected source: her garbage man.

"I mean god bless my garbage man. If it’s not down at the end of my driveway he goes up my driveway and he gets my garbage. And those…it’s the little things man!”

To hear more about how stress and trauma affect kids in the military and what these parents are doing about it, visit State of Opportunity.

- Jordan Medina, Michigan Radio Newsroom