I have thoroughly enjoyed SW’s ever-welcoming disposition towards me during the times I could attend (I try to attend when I’m able to do so). Being part of SW for nearly 10 years, I’ve seen SW’s inviting nature positively impact the lives of so many military families. It goes without saying that SW always present a full-schedule of engaging running and fitness activities, but what I’ve really admired is the familial bond its creates amongst its members.
SW’s equally invites both those who are veteran Marathoners, as well as those who have never ran before. It accommodates all who attends, being indifferent to any member’s specific running or fitness goals, but always eager to help one achieve their goals whatever they might be. What I’ve always been impressed with is how the bonds created through fitness endure the test of time and distance. Some of our best family friendships (to this day) started on overseas runs nearly 10 years ago, and these friendships have thrived despite the test of time and distance. I know this is common to many SW families, and it’s a very positive and unique dynamic that really brings out the best parts of the at time challenging, but often rewarding lifestyles we lead as military families. For instance, we’ve had the opportunity to meet up with SW family friends, traveling back to Europe, to run races, and to reunite our children, as if no time passed at all. These are all good times, and we couldn’t ask a better crew to share these times with.
However, times can also be challenging…life happens, and I’ve seen SW unwaveringly support its members through these situations too- for both longstanding members, as well as brand-new members. I’ve observed an unbreakable bond, and loyalty amongst members during tougher times- deployments, illnesses, times of loneliness, even family deaths. SW members have offered the warm embrace of support through meal-trains, logistical support (babysitting, rides, etc), advice, and a willingness to listen to someone during difficult situations. This type of support is imperative to military families as they are often hundreds, if not thousands, of miles away from their families back at home. I can say firsthand that our family has leaned on SW when times were difficult, and I’ve seen SW offer the same support to its members at each of our assignments. This is important as SW proves its incredible value by standing by its members during the good times, but arguably more importantly, through the challenging times too.
So, though I can’t attend SW as often as I’d like, I can say without any hesitation, that I’m always welcomed during the times I can attend (for instance when I took a random day of leave earlier this week). More importantly, I know our family can always rely on SW in any situation, no matter what corner of the Earth we’re located. While attending SW earlier this week, there was a young family who newly PCS’d sharing a base park with SW families. Within minutes, a conversation began, and invite was made, and someone new to base was again welcomed by the ever-present force known as SW; thus, the cycle of support started again in the most positive way. To me, this support is what has made, currently makes, and will continue to make SW such a special and important force-multiplier.