Community, companies come together to welcome military families

‘Blue Star Welcome Week’ events aim to give families a sense of belonging.

Three events are planned during “Blue Star Welcome Week” when local residents and companies help often-traveling military families feel a sense of belonging to their new community.

Geri Maples, director of the Dayton/Southwest Ohio chapter, said military families on average move every two to three years and a recent Blue Star Military Family Lifestyle survey revealed that 55% of military families said they don’t believe civilians understand their sacrifices.

“This is a great time and a great way to come together and let them know they’re welcome,” said Maples, noting this year’s local Welcome Week runs today through Oct. 3.

Atrium Medical Center is also getting involved to show support for these families, Maples said. From 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, the hospital will be distributing kits to local military families to make oversized growth chart rulers for their children.

Since military families move frequently, tracking their child’s growth on a wall or doorway in the house is not always possible, Maples said. The hospital is supplying kits for Blue Star families to make 6-foot wooden rulers that will help them record their child’s growth.

Start Skydiving, Team Fastrax and Denny Lumber donated to the growth ruler project, she said. Employees in the facilities department at Atrium volunteered to stain the wood.

Maples said 55 rulers were made and families can drive through the hospital parking lot and pick them up.

“These boards are fabulous,” Maples said.

On Wednesday, Skyline Chili in Monroe, owned and operated by Jeff Cornwall, is donating a portion of every sale to Blue Star Families. Maples said military families “love food” and Skyline provides them a chance to taste something “totally unique to our region.”

Military families will play kickball, receive gifts from local professional sports teams and be fed by a Mason restaurant from 1 to 3 p.m. Oct. 2 at Franklin Community Park.

There will be kickball stations located throughout the park. The event is called “New Kicks on the Block.”

Joella’s Hot Chicken in Mason is providing the families meals.



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