ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — This Independence Day, one local military family is thankful to be back together.
After a year of being deployed to Jordan, Captain George Curran says the Our Military Kids program really helped his two children cope with their father being gone.
Our Military Kids is a nationwide program that helps empower kids with sports, arts, and other activities while their parents are deployed, hoping to help ease stress and build confidence.
Captain Curran said it wasn’t easy to leave his wife and their children, Raquel (7) and George Jr. (5).
“That’s the worst part is not being with my kids. Not being with my wife, missing things like feeling like you’re not going to get that time back, they’re growing up, things will change. I think you kind of expect the world to move on without you,” Captain Curran said.
However, while he was deployed, the Our Military Kids program funded martial arts classes for his kids, which helped ease stress and kept them busy.
“It gave them a distraction, something to focus on beside the fact that daddy is gone,” said Veronica Curran, a mother and military spouse.
It can be tough for kids when their parents are deployed, but Captain Curran says having this consistent activity for his children was helpful.
“Sometimes they can tend to act out when their parents are deployed. It’s a lot for them, it’s emotionally a lot, it’s mentally a lot, so it kind of helps the time pass, helps them get through it, and remain strong,” Captain Curran said. “I think it’s good to keep kids active when their parents are away and give them a outlet, a resource to learn and grow and be active and not closed up at home. You know, give the spouse a break as well.”
Raquel and George Jr. have been taking classes at Rochester Phoenix Martial Arts. Their mom says while her husband was away, those at the business became a family.
“Being a military family, we’ve moved around so we don’t have any family close by,” Veronica said. “So it’s just something for them to focus on. It was a familiar place which I think really helped keep them happy and distracted, instead of just being at home thinking about how daddy’s not there.”
Not only did Our Military Kids help the Curran family, but it also supported Rochester Phoenix Martial arts, a local business that was struggling during the pandemic.
“Just thank you from the bottom of our hearts,” Veronica said. “Not just us, but it helped with their small business as well, during COVID especially.”
Since 2004, Our Military Kids has given out more than 72,000 grants to military families throughout the United States.
The program supports military children ages 3 through 12th grade. It also provides resources to families that have service member recovering from severe injuries sustained during an overseas mission.