Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Everyone Serves

HicksHikers, I have a big announcement! 

Blue Star Families, a non-profit dedicated to building a strong and supportive military community, has offered me the opportunity to participate in a blog project with four other military spouse bloggers. Over the next few months, we will be sharing stories about military families and the deployment experience, and those stories will be collected as part of a free online e-resource called "Everyone Serves," which you can find at

For those of you who might be tuning in for the first time, my name is Reda Hicks. I'm married to an Army helicopter pilot named Jake, whom I met while we were both working in the Philippines. Yep, totally random. It was a Wednesday night, we were both out with friends, and we met our soul mates ten thousand miles away from home. I tell him often that he's my proof of providence.

Since we met in a tropical paradise, getting married in one seemed only fitting. We tied the knot on a gorgeous beach in Negril, Jamaica, and had a beautiful baby boy named Howie a year later. He's now three and every bit of the rambunctious you would expect from a toddler boy.

Howie and I are based in Houston, Texas, where I am a partner in a law firm. Jake is stationed at Ft. Riley, Kansas. We are a geo-batch family due to the licensing requirements of my profession. I'm a strong advocate for change on that front, which is why you can also find me working with (and writing for) the Military Spouse JD Network

Right now, we are making final preparations for Jake to deploy in early August. From four states away, that has been a challenge, but we are working through it. Howie and I are spending this week at Ft. Riley for the dreaded pre-deployment briefings. The purpose of pre-deployment briefing is two-fold: One, the Army provides us with more details about the actual deployment. Two, families go through a number of information stations designed to make sure that families have planned for all the things that might need taking care of in the soldier's absence. Things like resources for talking to kids about deployment; planning resources for financial decisions; the things you need to address the "what ifs" you really don't want to think about. All I can say is, I'm happy that we already have wills. I can't imagine being *this* close to deployment and having those kinds of conversations for the first time!

The thing that all this planning drives home is that deployment is scary (for me; my husband acts like it's just another Tuesday; that's probably why he's serving and I'm supporting). Deployment with a three year old at home, well that's just downright terrifying. Nothing shatters me like thinking about how to explain this to him. But what I've learned from my work with MSJDN is that things can feel a little less daunting when you have a support network to lean on. That's what I'm hoping this series provides. Telling the stories will serve as an outlet for the authors (especially me), and I hope they provide comfort to readers who may be experiencing the same things. But also, the stories are a way to reach people who want to support military families, but aren't sure where to start. I want this project to be a community builder, that helps us learn to relate to each other.

I hope you find Everyone Serves as enriching to read as I find it to write, and thanks in advance for the support as Howie and I navigate the next ten months!

As always, comment freely and frequently!

Follow Blue Star Families on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ and build a support network so you can keep your family and personal community strong throughout the duration of the entire deployment life cycle.

Please click HERE to read my disclosure statement, in compliance with FTC guidelines.

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