Opinion

Military Families

Written by Pamela Samash

Interior Alaska is going through a growth spurt. 3000 military heros and their beautiful families are moving into our region and I’m concerned about how this community is going to handle it.
Fairbanks has allot of growing up to do when it comes to families. I want these soldiers to feel happy while they’re here and at home, after all, if the Russians or North Korea gives us any trouble, these are the folks who are gonna save our butts. But, what are we doing for them and for ourselves?
Presently we have a few “issues” when it comes to family life here and it’s only going to get worse if something isn’t done to change things. Let’s start with DMV. I mean, I don’t even have to say any more then just that I’m sure. Just mentioning DMV is an instant dread reaction as a facility completely not child friendly except for the circle in front of the trooper window, and the wait times can be lllloooonnnggg. With the population growth, it’s gonna be a complete nightmare for everyone, including the employees.
What about the icy round a bouts? Are these wonderful newcomers going to be warned about the driving conditions they’ll be facing, or can we expect mounds of traffic accidents?
Let me also mention something near and dear to me, and that’s the overwhelmed daycare system and the fact that very very very few businesses in this town will allow new moms to bring their babies to work. It’s crazy since we all whine about the expensive healthcare costs, but knowing that skin to skin breastfeeding is the best way to prevent health problems in women and their children, yet still this society chooses to rip them apart. So we have all these young moms working in offices and schools while their now bottle fed infants are being raise by other people. Breastfeeding helps to prevent cancers, auto immune diseases, obesity, diabetes, SIDS and all sorts of other nasty ailments, but heaven forbid somebody calls an office and they hear the babbling of a baby in the background. Every job should have a daycare on site to promote mother/baby bonds and breastfeeding, period. If society doesn’t like it, tough.
Speaking of young children, during the 9 months of winter, there’s basically only 3 places to take toddlers for some family fun, a super crowed McDonalds playland, the Romper Room and Gym Inc. We need more child fun facilities in this town! I always wanted to open up an indoor park with a high ceiling, bright lights and an actual regular playground.
Am I the only one who’s noticed that the majority of doctors and dentist’s offices don’t even offer a children’s book to read in the waiting room? It’s like, sometimes I feel that children are just not welcome in Fairbanks.
And one more serious problem to consider, the Animal Shelter. The Animal Shelter is already broke and struggling to stay afloat. They do a magnificent job at reducing the euthanasia rates, but with more families comes more pets. I strongly believe that animals should be encouraged with all families as they are therapeutic and develop strong bonds, so this isn’t meant to deter anyone from getting dogs or cats or guinea pigs, Im thinking though that the military needs to fork over some cash to our shelter for expansion so these critters have a better chance and longer stays for successful adoptions.
I know these ideas are just the tip of the iceberg. My wish is that when these military families come and go, they leave with a good memory of interior Alaska, feeling welcomed and supported. I want them to be safe and have fun here. God bless our military!

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Pamela Samash

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