Meet Leah: #BSFBeatCOVID19
Meet Leah. She’s a Navy spouse, mom of two, and Blue Star Families staff member. Since the pandemic, she’s faced an especially difficult road, with her husband deploying during the summer of 2020. A deployment at any time is extremely challenging due to the emotional stress of managing at home without your partner, combined with the fear about the dangers they may face. Throw in a global pandemic, and things really get complicated. “I could not rely upon my “deployment toolkit” as so many of my coping mechanisms were not options,” Leah said. “I couldn’t meet up with friends, go visit family, or do any of the normal things I would do to keep myself busy to get through the deployment. It’s been really hard.”
The added pandemic challenges aren’t just felt by spouses and family members at home. Deployed service members are navigating extra challenges, too. “All the quarantining requirements meant that they [service members] left families several weeks prior to actually leaving on their official deployment,” Leah shared. “While they have occasionally stopped for supplies or maintenance, they have not had any [traditional] port visits like normal. They have had no breaks to recharge. These precautions are keeping them safe, and we are so grateful that the military has implemented important safeguards, but it’s hard. It’s a lot to navigate for service members and their families.”
All of these deployment struggles made the idea of a vaccine very exciting for Leah and her husband. “Of course I thought about if it was safe and did my research there,” Leah said. “I thought it was really interesting what General Place shared during the second [Blue Star Families] town hall. The perspective that 80 million people have received the vaccine with zero deaths. But if 80 million people had coronavirus, then nearly 1.5 million people would die. That really put the risk in perspective for me. I also considered if it would help get us back to some sense of normalcy.” Normalcy sounds really good after a year-long pandemic deployment.
With that in mind, a few weeks ago, when they both had the opportunity, Leah and her husband received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine—in the same week no less, connecting them even while they’re apart. By the time her husband returns from his tour, they will both be fully vaccinated. “It’s freeing,” Leah explained. “I can see a bit of light at the end of the tunnel–for the deployment and for COVID!”
Together with our Blue Star Partners, we’re arming our military community–service members, families, veterans, leaders, organizations, and supporters–with information to make informed decisions about the vaccine. We’re doing this by removing barriers and improving access to the information needed to protect everyone against the virus. Join us at bluestarfam.org/beatcovid19, and follow along on social media with the hashtag #BSFBeatCOVID19.