As the news of conflict overseas streams over the airwaves, we at the Armed Services YMCA are reminded how relevant and critical our mission is, and will continue to be. I am confident the Department of Defense, and each branch of military service, will do absolutely everything in their power to make sure no soldier, sailor, marine, or airman is left behind. Likewise, the Armed Services YMCA will work to ensure no military family is left behind.
Deployments are never easy on families, even in times of peace. In times of threat and possibly war, military families must continue to lead their daily lives—grocery shop, make dinner, drive the kids to school—but, they must do so amid the added burden of wondering about the safety of the person they call mom, dad, husband, or wife.
We are the shoulder for military families to lean on; the helping hand to help them get through the day; the foundation to help hold up their day-to-day needs so they can focus on keeping a light on for their loved ones. We stand poised to provide families the support they need, when they need it most.
Why? Because they serve too.
Take it from someone who was deployed too many times to count in my 36-year career in the Navy: the most important thing we can do as Americans to help our military members forward deployed is to make sure their family is well taken care of. We need our service members 100% focused on their mission, not worried about how their child is struggling emotionally, or how a spouse might be struggling to keep the household running. Bottom line: our soldier, sailors, marines and airmen are only as ready as their families are.
We don’t know what tomorrow holds, but we know thousands of families around the nation are preparing. Our service men and women ready themselves to leave at a moment’s notice to defend freedom. Their families ready themselves to hold down the homefront. We are ready and prepared, too. We stand with them like we always do.
William D. French, Vice Admiral, USN, Ret.
President and CEO
Armed Services YMCA