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Feature Stories

NEWS | Nov. 26, 2020

Kentucky Woman Gives Back: Supporting Military Families

By Story by Staff Sgt. Anri Baril U.S. Army Central

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. – Sara Jane Arnett, a Cerulean, Kentucky native, is a wearer of many hats. Some may know her as an author, while others may know her as a Soldier & Family Readiness Group volunteer and committed military spouse.

For nearly two decades, Sara Jane experienced moving to several duty locations and watching her husband, U.S. Army Maj. Samuel Arnett, who is also a native of Kentucky, deploy multiple times over his 16 years in the Army.

During that time, she has seen firsthand how a family’s support enables service members to do their jobs effectively.

“I’ve gained a deeper appreciation for the situations, circumstances, and even traumas military families have to navigate, often without their loved-one present,” said Sara Jane. “I wanted to be of service to the community around me and make sure that military families feel the same closeness and support I felt while growing up in Kentucky.”

She recalls her first experience supporting a military community while residing in Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri.

“Since my background is in philanthropy, non-profit work, and education, I volunteered with the local American Red Cross office, said Sara Jane. “The first few months as a volunteer gave me a deep-seated desire to serve families.”

When talking with other military family members, she realized that they, too, yearned for communication from their deployed Soldiers.

“This was before the military widely used Facebook,” said Sara Jane. “I also wanted to create a space for military children to feel like they belong, even if they were new to an area.”

Sara Jane soon partnered with local school districts to create a Military Kids Club for children of service members.

“Clubs like this allows military children to form support networks with others of similar age ranges and experiences,” she said. “I also wanted to use the experiences of my own family to help kids of service members adjust and cope with deployments, separations, and constant moves.”

During her husband’s second deployment, Sara Jane wrote a children’s book called ‘My Daddy’s a Soldier.’

“We take our commitment to the military seriously,” said Sara Jane. “My husband and I had to learn how to balance raising our four children while pursuing individual educational and career goals. We also wanted to help others within the military community feel valued and supported, just like family.”