Category: Families

Celebration and Reflection on Family, Service and Sacrifice

by Retired Army Col. Bob McLaughlin, Mt. Carmel Veterans Service Center, Chief Operating Officer

The many special dates on the calendar in May brought great celebration and reflection this month. Allow me to highlight just a few.

On May 10, we marked Military Spouse Appreciation Day. The spouses of our military heroes face many unique challenges as they support their service member serving our nation, not the least of which is the hardship of managing and maintaining a career of their own as they transition from one duty station to another.

As the nation enjoys historically low unemployment of less than five percent, our military spouses do not. They face nationwide unemployment of 16 to 24 percent, depending on which survey you read, and underemployment averaging 56 percent. These stats are unacceptable and negatively impact quality of life for military and veteran families. The Mt. Carmel team is doing its part to combat this inequality.

   In partnership with regional ABC affiliate KRDO and the MilHousing Network, we hosted the National MilSpouse Career Summit with live-webcast from Mt. Carmel. The effort was carried via webcast to ABC affiliate pages in 13 cities with large military and veteran communities. The effort featured employers and resources responding to audience questions submitted over social media. Bringing awareness and viable employment options to a wide audience is one positive step we have taken. Video of the informative and inspiring event is posted to our website at veteranscenter.org

As we near Memorial Day, we will pause and take a knee to honor our brothers and sisters who made the ultimate sacrifice so we could live free and bountiful lives. With several inspiring community services on that day, please find an appropriate moment to honor all who died in service to our nation.

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Your donation can make a difference in a Veteran’s life today!

Your generosity enables us to provide vital services to veterans and their families through our programs, resources and education. At Mt. Carmel Veterans Service Center, we make it easy for military and their families to receive the support and services they need by bringing a broad range of agencies and programming together under one roof.

 

 

 

Katie’s Story: Month of the Military Child

In 1986, Secretary of Defense Casper W. Weinberger decided the sacrifices made by children of military servicemembers deserved special recognition. Throughout April, Mt. Carmel joins the nation in celebrating Month of the Military Child.

Team Member Katie Travis, as an infant, with her mother, Tina, and now retired, Army Special Forces Soldier Rory Travis

As part of our celebration we sat down with Mt. Carmel team member Katie Travis: proud, successful and resilient daughter to retired Army Special Forces Soldier Rory and Tina Travis.

When Katie was 16, Fort Carson became her father’s final Army assignment following a distinguished career. Katie was thrilled to finally have one final place to call home as active-duty service members typically relocate school-age children six to nine times during a career, in addition to family separations related to training and deployments.

“The constant moves the Army required during my childhood were upsetting and unsettling. In hindsight, they made me more culturally-aware as a result,” said Katie. “Our family was continually introduced to new people, cultures and community norms. I used to resent the Army for taking me away from my family and friends. But I grew to appreciate that it afforded me a more extensive worldview.”

Prior to 9/11, Katie’s father deployed often, but rarely with a sense of worry by his children. “My parents protected my sisters and I from the realities of his career. That changed after

Team Member Katie Travis stands in front of a flag inside Mt. Carmel
Team Member Katie Travis

9/11,” said Katie. “It was lonely; Dad was gone for months-long, year-long (and longer) combat deployments.”

The protective childhood bubble she had imagined her Dad’s Army travels would burst as pre-teen Katie gained awareness of Rory’s efforts in America’s longest war.

“My mom, sisters and I were hopeful and grateful for the occasional email, voice mail or phone call from him to say, ‘I’m safe’. The tree, the turkey, the decorations, birthday candles and presents, were always less important in comparison,” said Katie.

Today, Katie’s dad is long-retired and manages the resiliency program at Fort Carson and Katie is in her senior year at CSU-Pueblo. She credits her upbringing and her dad’s current role for influencing her plan to become a social worker.

“Mom and Dad raised me and my sisters to be independent, hardworking and to conduct ourselves with self-confidence and a winning mindset,” said Katie. “I don’t expect things to be handed to me; I work hard for me, for Mt. Carmel and for our clients.”

Today, as a Mt. Carmel Supportive Services case manager, Katie helps clients with a hand-up, often on their worst day.

“I can relate to arriving in a community without a personal network and being far from family. My goal, and that of Mt. Carmel, is to never to be the hand-out, but the hand-up: to provide resources and tools to recover and thrive. My upbringing aligns perfectly – I’m able to mentor clients towards self-empowerment to reverse a negative spiral,” said Katie.

An insider with common understanding of the military and veteran lifestyle gives Katie immediate credibility with clients as she assesses their urgency of need and finds resources to help.

“I’m proud to manage assistance for 40-70 veterans and families at any given time; and proud of the crucial hand-up my team has provided more than 900 clients experiencing various personal crisis,” said Katie.

Donation Form

$
Personal Info

Credit Card Info
This is a secure SSL encrypted payment.

Billing Details

Donation Total: $20 One Time

Your donation can make a difference in a Veteran’s life today!

Your generosity enables us to provide vital services to veterans and their families through our programs, resources and education. At Mt. Carmel Veterans Service Center, we make it easy for military and their families to receive the support and services they need by bringing a broad range of agencies and programming together under one roof.