Second Lady Karen Pence Supports the Comfort Crew for Military Children
“We love the Comfort Crew. For more than a decade Comfort Crew for Military Kids has been providing resources and support,” said Second Lady Karen Pence. It was a touching day as the McDonnell Group LLC. in partnership with the Hampton Roads Chamber hosted the Comfort Crew for Military Kids Fundraising and Volunteer event on April 24th in Downtown Norfolk. Second Lady Karen Pence attended as a distinguished guest and keynote speaker. Mrs. Pence emphasized the importance of the community coming together to support not only our Hampton Roads Naval Fleet and their families, but also the children of every brave man and woman proudly serving our country. The Comfort Crew for Military Kids is an organization dedicated to supporting these families through handmade kits and donated funds for children of military families.
President and CEO of the Hampton Roads Chamber Bryan Stephens opened the event.” Having served 28 years in the Army, I know the impact and stresses service in our military has on a family. I truly salute the efforts of Comfort Crew to make the family commitment to serve and sacrifice a little bit easier,” Stephens said.
Since 2014, the Comfort Crew has helped fund support programs and provide comfort kits to over 12,000 kids in Hampton Roads. The organization has a goal to nurture resilience and a mission to, “Deliver proven resources to help military kids and their family connect and build resiliency in the face of extraordinary challenges.” These challenges come from moving, deployment, starting a new school, dealing with loss, and much more. The event served as a significant way for the community to give back to our service members as they are deployed and stationed across the world. The funds raised will directly benefit children in our Hampton Roads region by funding programs for school-aged kids.
Former Governor Bob McDonnell spoke on the sacrifice of the military men and women who serve in Virginia. “If you don’t take care of the men and women in uniform today, you’re not going to get the best and the brightest in return,” said McDonnell. He commended the Comfort Crew and their team on having such an important mission and understanding how important it is to the children. “[Virginia] is a state that appreciates the sacrifice of service members,” said McDonnell.
Founder and CEO of the Comfort Crew for Military Kids, Rhonda Englander informed the room full of guests, service members, and volunteers about how great of an impact the organization has on military families. For 13 years, the charity has been supporting the needs of children and recognizing the importance of reconnecting families. As she introduced Second Lady Karen Pence, she said that she was reminded of her favorite school teacher who encouraged her to be her best self.
“We assemble the kits with care and respect,” said Mrs. Pence as she gave the keynote address recalling a previous event she had attended for the Comfort Crew. Mrs. Pence brought together the spouses of congressional leaders to assemble kits at a former event to participate in something meaningful. Together, they assembled kits specifically made for dealing with deployment and distributed them to military children in need. “Reconnection can sometimes be just as difficult,” said Mrs. Pence. “I am thrilled to play a part for the child of those deployed service members and children play a significant role in the defense of our country,” said Mrs. Pence.
Mrs. Pence also took the time to recognize the military spouses in attendance applauding their strength as a single parent while their significant other is deployed. “Most of them don’t wear a uniform but still serve. They experience moves, job changes, being a single parent, and still have strength and determination. They are the home front heroes,” said Mrs. Pence. Unemployment for military spouses is at 24 percent and Mrs. Pence urged the attendees to come alongside the spouses for support. “Spouses are incredible and Comfort Crew is coming alongside to support the child because when you are supporting the children, you’re saying ‘we get it, we understand," said Mrs. Pence.
The luncheon was followed by a volunteer portion of the event where children from a local school presented Mrs. Pence with a book, “The Art of Being a Military Child.” The children kicked-off the kit assembly by explaining the content of the kit and the purpose of each item. The stuffed animal for comfort; postcards to send to a deployed family member; a DVD about a boy named Trevor whose brother is deployed; a family guide book on tips for how to deal with a family member being away; a feeling journal with a map to mark where your loved one is while they are away; dog tags to give to your loved one remember each other. Mrs. Pence explained to the room full of eager volunteers that these kits are tangible items for the children to have during the trying times of being a military child and are very important to them.
The Hampton Roads Chamber was delighted to be a part of the Comfort Crew for Military Kids Fundraising and Volunteer event and help bring awareness to the needs of military children in Hampton Roads. Since April is the Month of the Military Child, we will continue to recognize and appreciate each of our service members and their children who have a vital impact on the Hampton Roads community.
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