Author, My Daddy’s a Soldier, self-published (2012)
Heroes at Home Military Spouse of the Year, 2012
BA: Murray State University, Murray, KY
MA: Organizational Leadership, Regent Univesity
Married: Sam, 9 years; 3 children
Thriving Military Families
The 700 Club
Sara Jane and Sam were married in 2005. He is a captain in the U.S. Army. They have survived 3 deployments; one was 12 months long! “We’ve been married for 9 years,” says Sara Jane. “But half of that was spent apart.” This is a common occurrence for many military families. “With every single deployment, I found inner strength,” she says. “The key to this life is not to rely on yourself.”
Their first duty station in 2005 was Germany. In 2009, Samuel received orders to Fort Eustis, Virginia. After 4 months, he was deployed and when he got back, Samuel nominated Sara Jane for Military Spouse of the Year. This award has been a treasured Hampton Roads tradition for the last 7 years honoring the spouses of active duty military service members for their support, leadership and dedication to the success of military families. Heroes at Home is a program piloted by The Flagship, Hampton Roads’ local military newspaper, and is the only regional program in the nation recognizing military spouses. Regent University, in conjunction with Heroes at Home, awards a full Presidential Scholarship to the winner. Spouses are nominated by their spouses, family or friends and are selected based on their volunteerism, fortitude on long deployments and their effort to help other spouses.
“When undergoing a deployment, it’s best to accept that no two are alike and to lean on family and friends in tough times,” says Sara Jane. When Sara Jane appeared on 700 Club Interactive show 2 years ago, she asked Pat Robertson what advice he would give married couples during times of deployment to have a strong marriage. “He told me first and foremost, it was crucial to have one-on-one time with God in prayer. Needless to say, this was very wise advice that I heeded which helped our relationship get stronger,” she says.
She also says that spouses left behind should never feel alone. “There are others going through the exact same thing; maybe not the same situations or the same number of children, but find comfort in the fact that you don’t have to go through deployments without sisters,” says Sara Jane. She often refers to other spouses as our “spouse sisterhood” because no matter where or what they are doing, if two military spouses make that connection, it’s hard to separate them. “We understand and are completely empathetic to the challenges and benefits of military life.”
Sara Jane and Sam survived several deployments while their children were young and had little concept of time. However, after they moved to Virginia, Sam deployed 4 months later. “The first few weeks after Sam left was the hardest,” she says. That was the inspiration for her children’s book. “I went into typical mama-mode and started searching for deployment resources for our young military children,” says Sara Jane. “The pickings were scare so I decided to write a children’s book specifically for deployment and separation situations that our military children have to face more often than not.” My Daddy’s a Soldier is a sweet story of a young boy who finds comfort in the happy memories made between him and his dad during the lonely times of separation. All proceeds from her book go to non-profit organizations such as Army Community Service and Operation Homefront. These organizations assist with the emotional welfare and needs of military children.
It is important to spend time volunteering while the military spouse is deployed. One organization Sara Jane recommends is the Army Community Service (on joint bases, it is called Military and Family Readiness). She has presented workshops, attended life-changing trainings such as Master Resiliency Training and has shared the benefits of volunteerism. She has volunteered in every duty station they have been in: Germany, Virginia and now in Texas. “I feel that volunteering is a life-force that gives military spouses the energy to serve alongside their spouses but in a different capacity that is very behind-the-scenes.”
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