VFW National Home Program Director Angie Harkins knows firsthand how children who have a parent in the military are impacted.
“My husband missed crucial years of our children’s lives due to being deployed,” she recalled.
“He missed our son’s baseball games all through his teenage years and our daughter’s first birthday party and so many other events,” she added explaining that he was often deployed in harm’s way which added to the stress on the family.
April Esteems Military Children
The month of April stands as the month of the military child as designated in 1986 by then Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger.
Each year the presiding President of the United States presents the proclamation at the beginning of April and then extends that to each state governor to do the same with the intent to express appreciation for military children from coast to coast who have sacrificed alongside their military parent.
Purple is the designated color for the month which is a combination of all the colors of the military branches.
“We say that kids serve too because when their parents are in the military they experience the loss of their parent’s absence when they deploy or are gone for long periods of time during key events in their life. Sometimes their military career requires the family to uproot and move, which is also a sacrifice for children,” explained Harkins.
Home Hosts Carnival to Honor Military Children
This April 15 marked the first annual carnival to celebrate and honor military kids who live at the VFW National Home and those who live around the state.
Harkins and her team partnered with the Michigan National Guard to provide a day of activity and fun for military kids on the Home’s campus which included a bounce house, ball pit, football toss, bowling game, and numerous other activities for the kids to enjoy. The National Guard brought in military vehicles for display and the café offered popcorn, cotton candy, and treats while a musician played live music.
“We had over 100 military children here enjoying the event and receiving acknowledgment of their personal sacrifice,” said Harkins explaining that about half were residents at the Home and the other half came from as far as Grand Rapids.
The event culminated in an awards ceremony where each child received a certificate honoring them for their part in serving alongside their military parent.
The VFW National Home staff joined in recognizing the children on campus by wearing purple the previous day, April 14.
Harkins, who formerly worked for the National Guard, just reached her one-year anniversary at the VFW National Home, and conveyed her vision going forward to grow the events for the month of April so military kids receive the distinction they deserve.
“I am passionate about showing these kids support and acknowledging what they go through when they have a parent in the military,” she expressed.
3573 S Waverly Rd.
Eaton Rapids, MI 48827