PEOPLE All-Stars Among Us: Kat Lanigan
Earlier this month Major League Baseball, PEOPLE and the Washington Nationals announced the three local finalists for the 2010 “PEOPLE All-Stars Among Us” national campaign, which debuted in 2009 and recognizes individuals who are serving their community in extraordinary ways.
The Nationals finalists are Mark Bergel of Bethesda, Md., Kat Lanigan of Herndon, Va., and Joe Mornini of Rockville, Md. Notes From NatsTown will feature thoughts from each local All-Star on why they should represent the Nationals at the 2010 All-Star game in Anaheim.
The choice is yours. Vote HERE through Sunday, June 20.
My dad was deployed for the first time in 2001. I was 10, my sister was nine, and my mom was left to take care of us by herself while he was in Bosnia. Over the nine months our dad was gone, my sister and I became keenly aware of the sacrifices children make when their parents are deployed. Our extracurricular activities became more difficult to negotiate as we dealt with the limited availability of one parent and a reduced income, and championships and awards lost some of their luster without our whole family together to share it with.
Added to these hardships were the even more difficult everyday problems of having a deployed parent. Every day, we missed seeing our dad at breakfast in the morning. We missed him when we went to the park, to a baseball game, or on a vacation. And, every day, we worried that our dad might not come back home.
Since then, my dad has been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. We went through it all again and again bu we decided to try to help other kids across the country who were going through the same things we were. In 2006, my sister and I started A Thousand Thanks to Military Children. Through this program, we send thank-you letters to kids with deployed family members. Requests include information we can use to customize the letter for each child and can be submitted through our website at http://www.saluteourservices.org. They also include a choice of character from whom the letter will be sent; we are lucky enough to be able to send letters from the Looney Tunes and the Scooby-Doo as well as sports stars like Shaquille O’Neal and Tony Schumacher.
There is no way to relieve kids of all the stresses they face during a parent’s deployment. I just hope that the letters we send give kids something to be excited about and let them know that people recognize the hardships they must deal with and the sacrifices they make while their parent is deployed to serve our country. To date, we have sent over 30,000 letters to kids nationwide, and I hope to be able to send many more.
Being the Nationals’ representative at the All-Star Game would give me an amazing opportunity to tell more people about the program and be able to send more thank-you letters to kids around the country, as well as allow me to see some of my favorite baseball players. I am so excited and grateful to the Nats for giving me this chance to share A Thousand Thanks with more people, and I hope you will go vote for me.