By Amanda Montgomery
Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Last year was an exceptional year for U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii’s Blue Star Card Program, managed by the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation.
At one point, more than 2,000 families of deployed Soldiers were participating in the program. Record high enrollment demanded more programs than ever, so more than 50 events and activities were offered to keep families happy, healthy and occupied during their loved one’s deployment.
A majority of the Blue Star Card’s initiatives were made possible by a generous donation from the Fisher House Foundation. Along with Fort Campbell, Ky., and Fort Stewart, Ga., USAG-HI received $50,000 to support families of deployed Soldiers.
After consulting with units, commanders, senior spouses and family readiness groups — to learn how families would like the funds used, Blue Star Card Program coordinators planned family activities. Some of the events included ice skating, magic shows, luaus, a spring break trip for teens to Wet ‘n’ Wild Hawaii, and multiple trips to the Waikiki Aquarium.
One of the most appreciated uses of the donation was Super Saturday Child Care. Held four times on Schofield and twice on Fort Shafter, full-day child care was provided, completely free of charge, for children of Blue Star Card holders between the ages of 6 weeks and 12 years of age, giving parents a much-needed break. Through the donation, care for more than 700 children was provided at no cost to families.
Other initiatives made possible included free tickets at the Fourth of July Spectacular; prepaid flat-rate shipping boxes; free keiki meals during Month of the Military Child observances at the Hale Ikena, Fort Shafter, and the Nehelani, here; 5K discounts; and free movie passes. Remaining funds are currently being used to provide child care at BSC events.
The Fisher House donation has impacted nearly 4,000 families during deployment and made an immeasurable impact on the Blue Star Card organization.
The Fisher House Foundation builds and then donates “comfort houses.” Families of military personnel can stay in a Fisher House during a loved one’s hospitalization in major military installations and in Veterans Affairs medical centers, like the one at Tripler Army Medical Center.
"Holidays, birthdays & anniversaries have been celebrated with tears and smiles with people who truly understand what the other person is experiencing."
- Kamryn Jaroszewski