That is the question that USO Houston asked military children to answer in their recent essay contest.
On Armed Forces Day, Saturday, May 19th, tenth grader Cheyenne Cavazos was named the winner. Cheyenne’s mother, Pamela Cavazos, said, “Cheyenne was very surprised and happy that she won the contest.”
With a father who serves in the Texas Army National Guard 551st Multi-Role Bridge Company, Cheyenne felt compelled to write about his deployments and how their family changes when he is away.
Like her father, Cheyenne is a leader for the military community. She is the Region 5 Representative for Southeast Texas in the Texas Army National Guard’s Youth Program.
Cheyenne’s essay illustrates what makes her family special and different from non-military families. She explains how everyone in a military family makes a sacrifice, not just the person serving.
That sacrifice is something Pamela Cavazos agrees with fully. “I wish more people would understand that family members of a soldier also sacrifice for this country,“ she said. "Family members need support while the soldiers are away. But, regardless we all serve as one and we are very proud of our soldiers and our country.”
When they found out Cheyenne’s expressive essay had won USO Houston’s contest, Pamela Cavazos said she and her husband were very emotional and proud of their daughter’s accomplishment.
Here is Cheyenne’s winning essay: I consider my family a unique, one of a kind family because we all serve, not just the “Green Suitor” all of us have our ups and downs, but find a way to get through it no matter how far apart we are from each other. Family means a group consisting of parents and children living together in the same household. As a military family it’s not as simple. Growing up in a “military family” you learn there is much more than just being together, you learn respect, communication, sacrifice, and strength while your loved one risks their life to keep you as well as their country safe. As a military family, making sacrifices is something you grow into, not always do we as a military family get to live together in the same household. Many times one has to leave for a period of time living somewhere different. A military family sticks together; it’s a family closer than most. It’s a wife without her spouse; it’s a daughter without her dad to watch her go on her first date because he is sacrificing his life. No family is the same but a military family is a one of a kind family. In our military family as a child I knew what it meant when my dad goes to work, for most families it’s a 9-5 job, when my dad goes to work it’s a 24 hour job. Not a suit and tie but his ACU’s with his tan scuffed up boots. Not a suitcase in hand but a gun when in combat. After a long day of work most dads would come home eat dinner as they talk about their day and then spend time with his wife and kids. After a long day at work our soldier would open and heat up and MRE for dinner after walking a mile to the nearest phone to call home to hear his wife’s voice as she gets on to the kids for running in the house. Then go back to his room to play a game of Sudoku while munching on Girl Scout cookies and jalapeño chips his daughter mailed out two weeks prior. For my family this is a normal life when my dad’s deployed. A family that sticks together through ups and downs and always tries to find a way to stay positive when duty calls; it’s a family where everyone serves, it’s a unique family, my family. Cheyenne Cavazos
Cheyenne’s grand prize is an all-inclusive two night stay at Benchmark Hospitality International’s The Woodlands Resort for a family of four. This wonderful prize was made possible through the USO’s partnership with Benchmark Hospitality International.
USO Houston hopes to present Cheyenne and her family with the grand prize on-air at their Memorial Day phone bank on Monday. Congratulations Cheyenne on your beautifully written essay! - Sarah Camille Hipp, Communications Specialist