1. Teen Military Daughters Launch for Military Kids by Lucas Kavner:
Moranda Hern was 15 years old when her father, Lietenant Colonel Rick Hern, was deployed to Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan. In the months that followed, she found herself feeling increasingly more isolated and lonely.
“My friends don’t have parents in the military for the most part, so they didn’t really understand what I was going through,” Moranda said. “I thought I was the only one who was experiencing these feelings.”
Moranda had long hoped to follow in her father’s military footsteps. At 12, she began attending camps and events with the National Guard and California Army, and during a National Guard Youth Symposium in Missouri in 2007, she met another girl, Kaylei Deakin, with whom she had an immediate connection. “Meeting Kaylei was kind of this ‘aha’ moment for me. I learned I wasn’t the only one going through these things.”
She and Kaylei wanted to turn their own feelings of confusion over their fathers’ deployment into a movement — one that brings military children across California together.
“Military kids get each other,” Moranda said. “There’s a real understanding there.”
Together, they attended The Women’s Conference in California in 2008, which laid the groundwork for The Sisterhood of the Traveling BDUs — itself a play on the popular teen novel and Army-slang for battle dress uniforms.
Moranda and Kaylei began organizing their first conference for the organization right away, all the while finishing up high school classes and applying for colleges. “I was still, like, trying to get my driver’s license,” Moranda remembers.
With help from mentors like Major General Mary Kight of the California National Guard and grants and training, they scheduled speakers, workshops, and a semi-formal “Purple Carpet” event. Soon the girls raised enough money so that all conference participants could attend for free.
It took a lot of work, but seeing these hundreds of girls coming together and supporting each validated Kaylei and Moranda’s mission.
“The last night of the conference we had an Open Mic, and every girl stood up and spoke about their own experiences,” Moranda said. “They thought their fathers had deployed because they didn’t love them; they talked about eating disorders and self-esteem issues. They cried and laughed and all these things. But they left the conference knowing that someone was fighting for them.”
Remember, in combat we relied on each other for support and brotherhood to get us through and this is no different .
Going it alone and in silence is not the military way. No one should be left to go this alone and by coming together we ensure that our troops, veterans and military families get only the best care they deserve after they come home! It is possible to get through this, and with support and encouragement you can find the path to healing.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD, is an anxiety disorder NOT a mental disorder or illness. PTSD can develop within days, weeks, months or even years after single or multiple exposure(s) to a terrifying event(s) in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened as has been happening with many of our military troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be terrifying. They may disrupt your life and make it hard to continue with your daily activities. It may be hard just to get through the day.
Knowing that you are not alone in this is just one step in getting the help needed to help you cope. Join an online support group, look on our resources page for a community based group in your community, contact your local vet center, Facebook is also another great place to find others dealing with this issue like you! Remember, the war is not just over when we return, for many families the battle has only just begun.
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