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Family Story

Back-to-School Brigade helps military family stretch their budget

By Operation Homefront

July 30, 2020

Codie Maile describes herself as an Army brat. Ten years ago, when her then-boyfriend, also named Cody, decided to enlist in the Army, she knew even better than him what to expect. The moves, deployments, and stretching a budget.

She was ready for the adventure.

“I told him we either break up or get married,” she said with a laugh. “I said, ‘I get to go with you.’”

The two got married and now have a daughter, Kaleigh, 12, and son, Kane, 10. Cody is a sergeant. He deployed to Iraq once in 2011. They have moved four times, and are currently stationed at Fort Campbell in Clarksville, Tennessee.

As Codie expected, the family often has to stretch their budget. Her family has found support through Operation Homefront’s Holiday Meals for Military (HMFM) program and the Back-to-School Brigade (BTSB). She first got involved three years ago  both as a volunteer and recipient when they were stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia. Another military spouse she knew signed her up for BTSB and after seeing how much work there was to be done, Codie also began volunteering. As the children grew older, volunteering at Operation Homefront (OH) events became a family affair.

“I wanted to be able to help and give back if I was also getting something,” Codie said. “My husband is there by my side and we are all doing something productive together and it brings us together.”

On July 30, the family was back, both as volunteers and recipients for the BTSB event held in Clarksville in partnership with CSX Pride in Service. The event was modified to adhere to restrictions and protocols related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Volunteers distributed 400 backpacks to military children.

“It’s been a huge help to us,” Codie said. “A blessing. My kids’ birthdays are both in August so it can be a really stressful month. I didn’t have to buy their school supplies and  especially as they got older and their school supply list got larger. It is definitely helpful because I was able to give my kids better birthdays.”

Codie wants the donors to know that they are giving more than physical items.

“First, thank you,” Codie said. “I think donors don’t always know it’s beyond the monetary value of what they are giving. People showing that they do care, it renews you.”

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