For twenty years, there was a place by my front door reserved for boots. Not just any pair of boots, not cowboy boots or steel toe work boots, but combat boots. The boots that work long hours without overtime pay, the ones that are caked in dirt and sand from foreign lands, the ones that held sweat and blood. Now, even though the boots are tucked away in a closet, the roller coaster ride of military life is still fresh in my mind.  

Like most military families, the spot by the door held a piece of home. If my husband’s boots were at the door, I knew he was safe. I knew he would probably be home for dinner and that I could count on him to help with the dishes. Military families live with a lot of unknowns, but the boots by the door held more than sand and grit, they held a piece of home.

I know what it’s like to pick up and move, to have to find a “new” everything. There’s the new hair stylist, the new favorite restaurant, the new school system. There’s the new grocery store when its payday weekend and when the Commissary is out of, of course, everything (hello, Blue Bell ice cream). For the first six months of a new duty station, it was a constant state of panic and newness, except for the spot by the front door. No matter what house we lived in, which state or country, the boots never changed.

One place that most military families visit on their trek for all the “new” places they need is the local public library.  Albert Einstein said it best, “The only thing that you absolutely have to know is the location of the library”. Dorothy Bramlage Public Library helps any family in transition, whether it is a new to the military family, a new to our area family, or a newly retired family, we are here to help! With many retired military spouses on staff, we understand. That’s a big bold statement, but it’s true. We know the fears and understand the look of frustration from a long day while your spouse is away, or the feeling of unknown and uneasiness at juggling it all.

The Dorothy Bramlage Public Library plays a key role in the success of our military community.  Recently, we created a bookmark featuring twelve helpful resources for our active duty and retired military families. This bookmark is one way for us to show you that we got your six! Full of helpful websites such as the Veterans Crisis Line, USA Jobs, and Team RWB, this bookmark is a handy guide to military support.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated there are more than one million active duty members and 19 million veterans in the United States. I’m not sure what the numbers translate to for our state, but one thing is certain, we have to provide support.  In addition to our bookmarks, we have expanded our collection to include memoirs and biographies to support those returning from combat. Transition is difficult, especially if your veteran is returning with injuries or transitioning from the war zone to civilian life. No matter the stage of transition, we got your six with stories to uplift and support.

When you think of transition assistance and support, think Dorothy Bramlage Public Library! Through the pages of a book, you can find fellowship in similar stories. One of my favorite stories is that of Kyle Carpenter. We recently added his book, titled “You are Worth It: Building a Life Worth Fighting For”, as part of the expansion of military titles. While serving in Afghanistan in 2010, U.S. Marine Carpenter threw himself in front of a grenade to save the life of a comrade. In his memoir, he tells the story of the long process of rebuilding his life and body. Kyle’s story is phenomenal and one that reminds each of you that you are worth fighting for!

We are committed to supporting our active duty military and retirees in our community. It doesn’t matter if those boots are tucked safely by the front door, resting next to a cot in the Middle East, or stuffed inside a duffle bag in the closet, we got your six! Stop in today to pick up a bookmark and check out one of our new titles.

Five NEW Military related titles

1. Rise: A Soldier, a Dream, and a Promise Kept by Daniel Rodriguez

2. Craig & Fred: A Marine, a Stray Dog, and How They Rescued Each Other by Craig Grossi

3. We the People: Portraits of Veterans in America by Mary Whyte

4. Soldier Girls: The Battles of Three Women at Home and at War by Helen Thorpe

5. Moving Past PTSD by Jamie Parent

DONNA PORTER  is the Assistant Director at the Dorothy Bramlage Public Library.

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