Being A Cadet Sponsor Family

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                    September 18, 2016

                          

Charlie Wasz is a fine young man! He’s also a new cadet persevering through the first grueling months of dictated life at the Air Force Academy. This week will see him cross the three-month line. Three months of being told what to do, what to think, when to breathe, what to eat, when to eat, when to go to bed and when to rise.

Charlie is the third cadet our family has been the sponsor family for. We’ve had a Protestant, a Jew, and now a Catholic. It’s been an enriching experience for us, all begun because our daughter, Lizi, went to church camp thirteen years ago with a young man named Josh Larson. Three years later she told us that Josh was going to the Academy and would we be his sponsor family?

Justin Katzovitz came a year after Josh graduated. He had attended the same high school, Hinsdale Central (Illinois), as my wife Carol, as well as being a classmate of one of our nephews. We enjoyed getting to know him and his family, and then his mom told the Wasz family about us as Charlie was getting ready to head west from Hinsdale.

Being a sponsor family is a trip! Yesterday Charlie called us about coming over for a few hours. We headed to the Academy, picked him up, brought him home, and he chilled on the family room couch for a few hours. Carol baked him some chocolate chip cookies to take back. He was sincerely appreciative of being able to “get away” from the academy grounds for a bit. Conversation on the way to and from flowed easily. We talked about the Academy Ultimate Frisbee team that he is member of, his overnight camping trip planed that evening to hike up Eagle’s Peak, his studies, new places on the grounds that he has discovered, his swim and dive team roommate, and the Chicago Cubs.

Charlie is an outstanding individual from an outstanding family. His sister is on the Indiana University rowing team, his older brother is serving with the Peace Corps in Botswana, and his younger brother is enjoying having the whole house to himself. His parents, Dave and GiGi are wonderful people who we’ve enjoyed getting together with when they are in town. Nothing seems forced, but we’ve just naturally become friends.

Carol has become Charlie’s “sponsor mom!” She wants to make sure he has whatever he needs and is doing okay. He knows that our house is his home, his place to get away and just relax. He knows that he can bring another cadet with him who also needs some “bed and breakfast.” We’re pretty flexible. Short notice calls to see if he can come over are usually okay. We understand that first year cadets can get confined to the Academy at a moment’s notice simply for not being able to spout off what a military handbook says about a certain regulation. Their squadron leader can get a burr up his butt and decide to pass on the pain to the cadets…so when Charlie calls and we can make it work…we make it work.

It is somewhat inspirational to see him adjust and conquer academy life. The first couple of weeks are like an ultimate culture shock, like jumping into a ice cold lake. After the initial shock the adjustment begins…and continues…and gradually becomes ingrained in the person.

I’ll end this with how I began it. Charlie Wasz is a fine young man…who wants to serve his country!

Explore posts in the same categories: children, Community, Freedom, Grandchildren, Humor, Nation, Parenting, Story, Uncategorized, Youth

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