Thursday, September 29, 2011

How to Make a Wounded Warrior's Family Mad....

Want to know how to make wounded warrior families mad, ignore us! News flash, we are not going away. You can't make us disappear. Our kids exist so deal with it! You can't just have our soldiers, we come as a package. The Allens are buy one, get three free! It's a great deal!

I got to witness this stupidity so many times when Chaz was an in-patient that I lost count. One of my favorites was when this Command Sargent Major (CSM) came in and put the back of his chair straight in fron of my face and sat down with his back to me. Then he began talking finances with Chaz. Here's Chaz level of finances, do I have cash in my wallet, ok I'm good. He doesn't care about the rest.

After 9-11 I took complete control of our money. You know why, my hubby doesn't have time to deal with it. He needed to concentrate on his job and his soldiers. To help him be the best soldier possible I learned everything I could about how to help us succeed and meet our goals. Every six months, we reevaluate our goals together to see if we are on track. Trust me the man has everything he could ever want. But we have the same goal, we want to fully retire at 65 (maybe earlier) because we want to be able to enjoy our grandkids. We want those years to be about us so we are preparing for that. For those of you who don't know I won the FINRA Military Spouse Fellowship in October of last year to get my financial counselors certification. Obviously I put it on hold in January. I am really good with money. We have debt free except for the house and car (which has 0% interest) for almost 10 years. Because of our planning we have been able to live like no one else, thank you Dave Ramsey and Suze Orman.

Back to my story, this CSM puts his chair to block me off. I looked at his wife and said that I needed to run to the PX to get Chaz a drink. Really I just needed to leave the room so I didn't pop this guy in the back of the head! I thought he was having a soldier to soldier talk with Chaz so I was trying to be respectful. His wife was really nice and we had a delightful conversation. We got back and Chaz had this look on his face of please save me. Then Chaz says, "My wife knows all about our money." The CSM then starts firing questions at me in a contemptuous sarcastic tone. Finally I just broke it down, "Sir, we really appreciate what you are doing, but we are in the top 3% of Americans when it comes to finances." Then came the do you have an emergency fund, life insurance beyond the SGLI (Army life insurance), etc, etc (someone just read Dave's book). I then informed him that I run my own tax and financial advice company and that I had just won my fellowship. He looked so butt hurt that I giggled on the inside. I also informed him I too had read Dave Ramsey's book and that I also was a big fan. I said "You know what sir, you need to pop in and talk to some of the other soldiers here. You have a lot of knowledge and these guys need it." He then said, "Well I can't force advice on them." We wished us well and left.

Here's an insider's secret in the US Army we work as a team. My friends and I handle everything that we can so our soldiers can be mission focused. Our soldiers depend on us. We are their everything. When they are hurt, they want involved in everything you can't just cut us out like we don't matter.

Weeks ago I was in Executive Services (they plan most of our outside activities and do a great job by the way) looking activities for us to do as a family. I walked in on one of the people saying, "Look here our warriors are not just PR opportunities for you. They have families and if you can't include their families because you have more non-injured versus injured in your picture. You have a good day." And he hung up on them. He was a little upset. He said that it makes him mad to get calls from organizations and businesses who only want the soldier or the soldier and one other person. He said, "Like I am going to tell a soldier you can only take one person. You can't take your kids. Yeah right." He said he had gotten a bunch of call that day and it was for PR stuff so people can have a picture showing they support the soldiers. He said to me that it's great you support our guys but you have to support their family too. It's a package deal here. I laughed and said I am so glad you get that because so many people don't.

Obviously the medical injuries are about the soldier. But they will heal better and faster if they have an awesome support crew to help cheer them on. I have seen this first hand. The soldiers with a weak support team or not one at all take longer to heal. They have to get over the depression as well as the anger, injuries, infections and on and on. I can tell you Chaz is doing so well because of the support of our families. I truly believe our girls have been the biggest push for both of us in all of this. We look at them and want to make this as easy as possible for them. We think about them when it comes to all of our decisions. We constantly ask each other, what's best for the girls. You cannot imagine how hard it was to leave them in TN again and again, but we knew it was for the best. I think Chaz and I have made a lot of very smart decisions. I think we are pretty good at this parenting stuff. Our kids seem pretty happy and everyone loves them. I think our love and happiness shines through them and people see that (or at least I hope they do).

I can't tell you how many opportunities we have turned down because the girls could not be included. I can't tell you how many times I have asked, what exactly am I supposed to do with them? You act like they are so horrible. Children are our future, how we treat them sets the tone for the rest of their lives. If we act like they are a burden they will believe this and other issues will arise from it. Our girls are anything but a burden. Do they get on my nerves sometimes, heck ya, but so does Chaz and anyone else after a while. But I wouldn't change my life for anything. Our girls are our blessings that remind us how great life is. If you can't see how children are such a huge blessings in our lives, then I don't have time for you.

Reality is we have to heal the family as we heal the soldier. The funny thing is the Army realizes this. Yes people, the Army gets it! From day one our girls were on their radar and the Army has offered a lot of resources to help heal our girls as well as Chaz and myself. I was very impressed with this. Sometimes you meet an idiot or two (actually this number is pretty high, I stopped counting a long time ago) who has to be reminded of that, which of course I am kind enough to do that for them. But the Army is trying to heal the family with the soldier (if you let them) if someone tells you otherwise, it's because they are resisting the help (trust me, I've seen this too). I am very proud of how the Army has set their system up. Sure it has a few kinks, but I can only imagine how many kinks existed prior to Chaz's injuries. How many families had to raise hell for our families to get what we have now? I only hope they know how much Chaz and I appreciate their sacrifices and their voices.


  1. I've said it before and I'll say it again...Jessica, you ROCK!! I hate that there are so many who want 'photo ops' with our wounded warriors just to make themselves look good. Y'all are indeed a package deal, and anybody who can't figure that out or accept it doesn't deserve the time of day. I don't always comment, but I read every post you write, and I thank you for sharing your journey. Hugs {{{{Team Allen}}}}

  2. Seems like the CSM needs to re-read the Dave Ramsey book if he was wanting to shut you out of the conversation. Dave's biggest point is husband and wife working together on finances.

  3. Glad that something's going right there! And thrilled that your finances are in such good shape! Ours definitely are not...
    Still praying in Seattle!
    Psalms 5:11-12 But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee. For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield.
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