A special military connection

by Betty Wrenn Day - Posted on Jun 20, 2012 - 02:22 PM

Photo: Linda Monastry, right, a staff member of Blue Star Families, looks on as Lia Rudon, takes part in the recent Families in the Kitchen event. She was from one of about 20 families participating.

Linda Monastry, right, a staff member of Blue Star Families, looks on as Lia Rudon, takes part in the recent Families in the Kitchen event. She was from one of about 20 families participating.

An evening meant to draw people together, Families in the Kitchen, was held recently at the Hampton Roads Blue Star Families and Armed Services YMCA.

Approximately 20 local military families took part, preparing a healthy meal together. The event emphasized meal time as a way to stay connected as a family before, during and after deployment.

Health Net Federal Services, LLC partnered with the Y to bring this event about, recognizing the unique pressures and challenges military families face. "In observance of the Month of the Military Child, we have partnered with Blue Star Families and ASYMCA to host an evening that brings families together. It’s important to establish and continue healthy family routines and meal time is an ideal time to reconnect and decompress as a family unit," said Tom Carrato, president of Health Net Federal Services.

During the hour-long event, parents and children prepared their own fresh garden salads and healthy pizzas to take home. There they would bake and enjoy it along with a cookbook created by Health Net. This book is filled with fast easy recipes kids can help prepare. They also received copies of Health Net’s journal, My Life, designed for military children who are experiencing the deployment of a loved one.

Lia Rudon and her family, Ava, 7, and Anthony, 4, were among the many military families participating. Lia explained why she took part. "Even before becoming vice president of the USS McFaul’s Family Readiness Group (her husband CS3 Humberto Rudon is a member of the ship’s crew), I always thought that being involved in as many community events as possible was a very important thing. It’s great to have events like this where the whole family can join in, and it also allows families to meet other military families who share that same common bond, all while doing something family-friendly and fun. My kids had an absolute blast and I didn’t have to worry about clean up afterwards, which is always a plus."