My Coast Guard
Commentary | April 5, 2022

Recognizing their resilience during the Month of the Military Child

By Rose Neel, chief of the Family Services Division

This year marks the 36th celebration of Month of the Military Child (MOMC) and this April’s theme is Coast Guard Children…Always Ready, Always Resilient! The Coast Guard joins the nation in honoring the more than 1.6 million military children—and the nearly 33,000 Coast Guard children around the world. Among those always ready, always resilient shining stars is Kathryn Alonso. Alonso is the 17-year-old military child of Capt. Ricardo Alonso and Michelle Alonso, and she is also this year’s Operation Homefront - Military Child of the Year ® award recipient for the Coast Kathryn Alonso won this year's Operation Homefront - Military Child of the Year® award for the Coast Guard. Alonso is the daughter of Capt. Ricardo Alonso and Michelle Alonso; they are located in Vienna, Va.Guard. 
 
Alonso exemplifies the resilient military child with her inspiring work for organizations like the 29 Diner’s Community First Initiative where she helped raise funds for local families and Afghan refugees; No Place for Hate, where she helped promote an environment of inclusion and respect for others in school; and Students Helping Honduras, where she assisted in fundraising efforts. 

Alonso has helped keep her local community connected during the pandemic by organizing a neighborhood fun run, hosting sports camps, and taking neighborhood children on picnics. She has also volunteered with the Alzheimer’s Association, the Special Olympics and Best Buddies. In addition to her benevolent endeavors, Alonso has been able to sing her way (she excels in choir) to a 4.0 GPA! She is truly a model of this year’s theme.

When asked what motivates her to stay involved, Alonso stated, “…just seeing the impact [my involvement] has on others. Whenever I see the big smiles on people’s faces and how grateful and happy they are, it really keeps me motivated. I will continue toDrawing of MOMC Dandelion help my community as long as I can, especially knowing the impact just one person like me can make in someone’s life.” 

In addition, Alonso relayed the following advice to her peers who may struggle with the challenges of a military life, “It’s going to be okay! It may be tough now and it’s gonna take a little time to get used to, but it will be okay and you will be very thankful for this experience and opportunity when you look back on it,,” she said.

Alonso also offered sage advice regarding the frequent moves that military children experience. “I would also say to try and experience as many new things and explore the place you are living as not that many people get to move so many times and experience as many beautiful places,” said Alonso. “The more you get to know your surroundings and environment, the more comfortable you will feel! And lastly, keep in touch with your friends from all of your moves because even though you may be thousands of miles apart they are still a text or call away to cheer you up and make you feel better!”

Like the dandelion—the flower of the military child—Alonso proves that you can bloom where you are planted.

Alonso will be recognized for her contributions to her military family, school, and community at an awards gala April 7 in Arlington, Va. Click here to see the winners from all the services.

The MOMC is observed each April to recognize and honor all military children for their contributions, big and small, in supporting the service of their military family.  

The story of the Military Child and the Dandelion

Why a Dandelion? Yes, it’s the stubborn weed in our yards of green grass but these flowers represent the resiliency of our military kids. The plant puts down roots almost anywhere, and it's almost impossible to destroy. It is an unpretentious plant, yet good looking. It is a survivor in a broad range of climates. Military children bloom everywhere the winds carry them. They are hardy and upright. Their roots are strong and are cultivated deeply in the culture of military families, planted swiftly and surely. They are ready to fly in the breezes that take them to new adventures, new lands, and new friends. 

Check with your local unit or ombudsman to find events they may be hosting (virtual or in-person) throughout the month of April to recognize and celebrate Coast Guard children.