Military families endure long distances

Olivia Hartman , Contributing Writer

   Saying goodbye, no phone calls, no texts, and no sign that your loved one is okay. This is what military families go through every time they send a loved one away. 

   Addison Spencer is a freshman at Nixa High School and her mother is Renae Cutbirth. Her brother, Westin Spencer, went into the United States Marine Corps on June 14th, 2021. He is 19 and working with aviation supply for the Marines. 

   “He keeps track of supplies and parts for aviation vehicles, like helicopters and airplanes,” Cutbirth said. 

  Cutbirth said that Westin had always talked about joining the military when he was younger and respected those who had served. He especially appreciated the benefits of the military, like his college being paid for and earning money while training. 

   Cutbirth said that she fully supported Westin joining. 

   “As a mother, all moms worry about the safety of their children but I’m proud that he wants to protect our country,” Cutbirth said.

   However, Spencer did feel a little lonely once Westin left. 

   “In the beginning I told myself I wasn’t going to miss him, but once he did leave I got kinda sad because I’ve lived with him my whole life and grew up with him,” Spencer said. “He used to be really mean to me but he still means a lot to me and so him leaving and me not being able to talk to him or see him was a lot harder especially while he was in boot camp.”

   Cutbirth said that if she could tell Westin anything right now it would be that she is proud of him because he’s grown to a level of maturity that most eighteen year olds don’t reach. 

   However Spencer explained that after boot camp it was a lot easier to contact her brother.

   “While he was in boot camp it was really hard because we couldn’t talk to him but now it’s not as bad because we can FaceTime him quite frequently,” Spencer said.

   However, even though Spencer and her brother can talk, she still has constant thoughts about him.

   “I do worry about him, especially when he was going through boot camp, but mostly I’m just really proud of him for overcoming a lot of struggles he has had,” Spencer said.

   Cutbirth worries a little bit more about Westin. 

   “I’m really proud but sometimes just seeing a news story about things going on in our country affecting the military makes me worry,” Cutbirth said. 

   Seeing your loved ones after a long time while they are in the military can be hard. 

   “When I got to see him after boot camp I was definitely overwhelmed with emotions and it was really exciting but it was also nerve racking since I hadn’t seen him in so long and I wasn’t sure if he was going to be changed or different,” Spencer said. “People usually say that Marines are gonna be changed when they get out of boot camp because they go from being humans to being Marines.” 

   Cutbirth said Westin is very motivated to finish his MOS school on Dec. 20th so he can come home sometime after.