Texans asked to show appreciation for military children, families in April

Writer: Paul Schattenberg, 210-859-5752, paschattenberg@ag.tamu.edu

Contact: JaNelle Casson, 254-774-6027, janelle.casson@ag.tamu.edu

Dr. Courtney Dodd, 979-845-1211, cfdodd@ag.tamu.edu

COLLEGE STATION — April is national “Month of the Military Child” and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service groups across the state are showing their appreciation of military children and encouraging other people, businesses and organizations to do the same.

April is the Month of the Military Child and April 13 has been designated the day for Texans to ‘Purple Up!’ to show their  appreciation for military youth and families. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service graphic)

“The 4-H Youth Development program of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service will be acknowledging military kids through our Texas Military 4-H program and county programs,” said JaNelle Casson, AgriLife Extension specialist and 4-H Military partnership liaison, Temple. “And others will be doing the same through their own activities, events and expressions of support. In addition, we’re asking people to ‘Purple Up!’ on April 13.”

Texas is home to Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Navy, National Guard and Reserve families and has the second-largest number of military dependents 18 and younger of all 50 states.

“The color purple symbolizes all branches of the military, as it is the combination of Army green, Coast Guard blue, Air Force blue, Marine red and Navy blue,” Casson said. “Through a partnership with Joint Base San Antonio, school liaison offices collaborate to establish a day the state of Texas recognizes military children.

“Since 1986,  April has been the Month of the Military Child, and this year Gov. Greg Abbott signed a proclamation for Texas that schools, businesses, agencies and other organizations can display to acknowledge military youth and bring awareness of their unique challenges.”

Dr. Courtney Dodd, Texas 4-H youth development leader, College Station, said for April 13 AgriLife Extension and other cooperating partners are asking schools, youth organizations and businesses to Purple Up! so military youth can literally see the support in their communities.

A pregame event at Dell Diamond in Round Rock honoring military kids. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo)

“Organizations, clubs, schools, businesses, politicians, sports teams and corporations typically come together and Purple Up! on or around this particular day to honor members of the military and their families,” Dodd said. “Support and encouragement can also come in the form of students writing letters of support, organizations integrating the purple colors into their websites, having moments of silence and honoring service members during sporting or community events.”

She said 4-H Military partnerships rely on land grant university Extension faculty, especially the  4-H Military liaison, to serve as a link between the state cooperative Extension system, military service branches and 4-H national headquarters.

“The liaison serves as a coordinator with these partners in support of research-based programming for military connected children, youth and families,” Dodd said. “4-H Military partnerships create opportunities and provide support to military-connected youth whether they live on or near an installation, in our communities or on overseas installations.”

Casson said while the men and women who wear the uniform are celebrated and recognized for the constant dangers they face while on active duty, “we often forget about the sacrifices their families must also make” in service to their country.

“Military children often grow up without one of their parents in the house and have to endure the added concern for their parent’s safety,” she said. “That’s why we want to encourage members of civic groups and businesses, as well as individuals, to initiate and engage in Purple Up! and other activities to acknowledge and support military youth.”

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