Compassion is what inspired Linda Davidson and Gail Kruzel to found Our Military Kids in 2004. They were concerned that school-age children of Reserve and National Guard military service men and women lacked access to sustaining support services. Along with the sacrifice of having a parent away in service for months at a time, Linda and Gail could see many of these families were often so financially stretched, they could not afford the fees for sports, fine arts, and tutoring that are crucial to their children’s sense of well-being. In addition, National Guard and Reserve families live in non-military communities; more than 60% live at least 25 miles from a military installation. Programs and support services provided on these bases are not an option.
With shared expertise working for an outreach organization that assisted Army families, Linda and Gail sought to recognize and honor families who often fall outside the parameters of established support programs—the families of National Guard and Reserve service men and women who continue to sacrifice so much for our country.
Linda and Gail approached well-known, esteemed individuals, many with distinguished military and government service careers, and asked them to join the Our Military Kids team, thus forming a Board of Directors and Advisory Board. Our Military Kids received its 501(c) (3) status in early 2005 and initiated a pilot program with a Winchester, Virginia National Guard unit. The program proved so successful, that in April 2006, Our Military Kids began serving children nationwide.
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