North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

Military families contribute to local communities

 

Photo Courtesy of the Armed Forces Reserve Center

Chief Warrant Officer Luis Castillo, left, and Chief Warrant Officer Darin Keys, both with the 364th Expeditionary Sustainment Command in Marysville, review notes during a training exercise on March 22.

Military families often get involved in their communities and provide many benefits to their towns and neighborhoods. To recognize and thank military members and their families for all that they do in service to the country and their communities, May is Military Appreciation Month and local officials wanted to give their support and thanks to the military members and their families that live in the Marysville and Arlington communities.

"I'm really pleased to have both the Naval Station Everett and the Armed Forces Reserve Center here and we're always prepared to partner in any way we can and provide our support," said Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring.

"We have quite a few military members here in town, both currently enlisted and retired," said Arlington Mayor Barbara Tolbert. "They have been really great community members."

The nearby Naval Station Everett usually has around 3,000 enlisted military members at the base, although that number fluctuates month to month, said Kristin Ching, public affairs officer at Naval Station Everett.

Many of those members live off-base in the communities around Snohomish County.

The Armed Forces Reserve Center located in central Marysville also brings many military members to the community.

Those families are often an active part of their neighborhoods.

"A lot of the time we do find that because military families move around so much they are interested in getting involved in the community because that's how they meet new people and have new friends," said Col. Jon Solem, who is stationed at the Armed Forces Reserves Center.

Lt. j.g. Steven Felscher, who is stationed at the Naval Station Everett, currently lives in Marysville and said he is active in his church.

"We do stuff with them here and there. A while back we were going around building packs of food and toiletries and handing them out to people on the street in Everett," he said.

"I really like doing those kinds of things," he said.

He hopes to continue that participation in his community.

"I definitely like to be more involved while I'm here. I just got orders for another two years here and in that time I'd like to get more involved," he said.

Felscher said his wife also volunteers at activities like community soccer for toddlers, or at the Snohomish Aquatic Center.

"She's definitely been out and about and gotten involved," he said.

"When my daughter is a little bit older I want to get her involved in that. I think she would really enjoy that," he said.

Naval Station Everett has a volunteer program that helps connect interested military members with opportunities, like an Earth Day event or tutoring in local schools, said Ching.

"The Naval base and the Armed Forces Reserve Center both reach out to us and ask if there is anything they can do in our community," said Tolbert.

"Those who are currently enlisted and those who are retired come out and participate in our community events," she said.

Because military members have families in the community, they are also involved in many other ways.

"The military people who live here are also people who coach our youth sports teams and participate in the community," said Nehring.

Sonar Technician First Class James Mellon is part of the Naval Station Everett's first class petty officers' association and has volunteered at the Marysville Community Food Bank through that organization.

"They kind of threw it out there as a volunteer opportunity," he said.

"When I was there my kids were with me so they got to see everybody doesn't have it as good as we do," said Mellon.

He said he enjoyed "just giving back to the community and realizing that everybody needs help."

Military members also bring money and economic benefit to their cities.

"We bring a lot of jobs and the military families spend their money here which aids the economy," said Solem.

Felscher said that he shops at a lot of local small businesses.

"I like to shop in local stores, buy local goods whenever I can, rather than Walmart or something like that," he said.

"The economic impact is pretty big around here for the military," he said.

Nehring said the local bases are beneficial to many of Marysville's businesses.

"You look at the Reserve Center and the amount of people they draw in for their reserve weekend trainings, and those are people who are staying at our hotels and eating at our restaurants," he said.

Christopher Andersson

Lt. j.g. Steven Felscher, a Marysville resident, helps set up a covering at Everett Naval Station on May 4.

School districts often receive a boost for military families as well.

"A large part of what the military does is when we bring family in to these bases, because they have children, the military gives additional funds to the school systems to help support the school system," said Solem.

"Particularly for families living on base, they're not really paying any property tax to schools so the military helps with direct funding," he said.

Nehring said that having military families live locally is also good for those that want to show their appreciation.

"This is a patriotic city, and I think a lot of people take pride in having the people who have served our country here," he said.

"There is a genuine appreciation of having those service members as part of our community," he said.

 

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