When I think about “platforms,” I can’t help but picture sequins, sashes, tiaras, and prayers for world peace. That’s not to say I would ever disparage those who do the pageant circuit; I was just never blessed with the genetics or predisposition to become involved in such things. So when I was asked for my platform for my nomination as an AFI 2014 Military Spouse of the Year, my fingers hesitated over the laptop keyboard.
My initial response—I don’t HAVE a platform, I just do the work. I would rather be up to my elbows providing support and service for our nation’s military families, than talking about how I provide assistance to this population. I’m not one to “shine a light” on my efforts; I’d rather “shine a light” on the challenges these families face. After all, I’m not doing anything exceptional. I’m just doing what I can. And most days, what I can accomplish seems so inadequate in the face of tremendous need.
But that’s the real point here—there is tremendous need. And while we feel this, know this in our bones as military families, our struggles go largely unseen by the civilian world. We’ve stepped up so others don’t have to and so this has become literally and figuratively our fight. Until we share our stories, enlist the help of others, and call our communities to action, we fight alone
So while I too pray for world peace, until then—here’s my platform. It is my intention to give voice to the families who also serve and sacrifice when their loved ones do. To educate communities about what it means to be a military family and what they can (and must) do to support those who stand for them. To cast aside the idea that we must “soldier on” alone and unseen. To be a force multiplier of military family support efforts. And what better way to do this than with a spotlight? Thank you, Military Spouse of the Year for giving me this spotlight.
Randi Cairns serves on the Military Family Advisory Network (MFAN) advisory board, is the founder and executive director of Home Front Hearts, and is one of the top 18 base spouses of the year.