Being an Army wife in Alaska is a role that Sara never saw herself filling. Growing up, Sara pictured the perfect life with a white picket fence, a husband that was home every night, and a successful career. Life began for Sara in Lafayette, Louisiana. Her father works in the oil business, and her mother is a stay at home mom. Due to the nature of her father's job, Sara has lived in Louisiana and all over Texas. She grew up in an upper class family: Cotillion, etiquette classes, weekends at the country club, and debutante balls were everyday events in her family. She has a sister that is ten years younger and a brother twelve years younger. Due to the age gap, Sara grew up nurturing children, and her experience as an older sister would lead to her passion in life – taking care of children.
After high school, Sara attended Texas State University in San Marcos. She flourished in college, where she started teaching group exercise classes such as kickboxing, Pilates and spin classes. As a Family and Child Development major, two professors asked her to begin writing in collaboration with them, and she began to do qualitative and quantitative research – which was published in three academic journals. She graduated cum laude in three and a half years and then continued on to get her master's degree in early childhood education. During this time, Sara was a graduate assistant and worked on a new project that focused on teen moms, and was published once again.
The last semester of her senior year as a master's student her best friends dragged her to a bar. Sara can count on one hand how many times she went out drinking in college, and she reluctantly went, choosing to stay in her sweater and jeans. They were sitting in a booth when this incredibly handsome, dark haired man with huge biceps slid into the booth and said "It's my 25th birthday and my name is Dusty." They began talking and he told her stories of growing up in the country, graduating in a class with 16 people, fishing on his lunch break at school, and his desire to join the Army. They didn't exchange phone numbers and went their separate ways, but that night Sara found him on Facebook. He went to Tarleton State five hours away. The next weekend they met halfway and went on their first date. They went fishing on his grandparents land, ate a picnic, and then swung on a porch swing and watched the sunset. He had his arm around her and he said, "I could get used to this." After their first date, Sara got in her car and called her best friend: "I am going to marry that man, he is the one." Seven months later they had a huge wedding in Austin, Texas.
They bought their first home in Fort Worth, Texas. It was a 2,400 square -foot foreclosure and they had to rip up every inch of carpet and repaint every wall, but it turned out beautifully. Sara began teaching third grade and Dusty was a computer technician for a small company. Much to their surprise, they got pregnant the first month they were married. Once they had Wyatt, Sara began to stay at home and Dusty began to get restless in his job. He wanted more; he wanted to serve his country. He left for Basic Training, Sara was 16 weeks pregnant with their second child, and Sara sold their home by herself and moved in with her parents on the other side of Texas. During Basic, Dusty got to make four phone calls in 12 weeks. The rest of their communication was through letters, and they completely fell in love all over again. It was a unique and truly amazing experience. When he got out of Basic, he went straight to Airborne school which meant more time apart. He had 18 days off after Airborne school and Sara was 36 weeks pregnant. They went to the beach and then visited everyone in Texas; at the end of those amazing two weeks, he had to report to Alaska alone.
Specialist Dusty got to come home for two weeks when their second son Gunner was born, arriving just 22 hours beforehand. Saying goodbye with a two-week-old and two-year-old was heartbreaking, and they wouldn’t see each other again for nearly three months. For the first time in nine months they were finally living under one roof as a family in Alaska, and then three months later he left for Afghanistan. Less than a year after he left for Basic Training, he left for War, leaving behind a wife and two sons in Alaska. By the end of this deployment they will have lived together three months out of the last 22.
During deployment Sara has re-discovered fitness, and when the weather is nice Sara will run in races with one of her best friends who is an Air Force wife. She has learned to expand her horizons and meet people from all walks of life. Sara has become very close to Salina – she sees the strong Army wife she wants to become in her. Sara does not cry in front of her kids, or much at all. Dusty taught her that as an Infantry family they cannot crack – they are the strong of the strong. She has never seen her husband cry.
Sara is so looking forward to her husband being back, to getting to live as a family again. They are hoping to add another addition to their family in the next year, and Sara is planning on returning to work when the baby is older. They plan to stay an active and fit family.
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