Operation Shower Champions Military Families, Moms-to-be

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla., May 4, 2015 - A nonprofit organization geared toward helping military families -- especially expectant mothers whose spouses are often away fulfilling their duties  got a boost from the senior enlisted advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at a special event here yesterday.

Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan B. Battaglia, senior enlisted advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, speaks to military mothers during an Operation Shower baby shower in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., May 3, 2015. The nonprofit organization provides baby showers to military mothers-to-be. DoD photo by Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr." 


Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan B. Battaglia lauded Operation Shower, which is sponsored by the PGA Tour, The Players Championship and fellow nonprofit initiative "Birdies for the Brave" and has helped more than 2,500 military families since 2010.

Leanne Morrissey, Operation Shower's founder, said the group provides baby showers to military moms-to-be, and gives them items to help get started with the new baby. The organization also brings together military families in similar situations.

*Giving to Military Moms*

During a baby shower with the theme "Love is in Bloom," 40 mothers were honored and treated to various gifts during festivities hosted by Morrissey and Tabitha Furyk, wife of PGA Tour golfer Jim Furyk. Battaglia thanked the couple and praised Jim Furyk for his acumen as a champion on the golf course.

"How we all enjoy being in the presence of champions -- those who make a significant sacrifice to make a positive difference," the sergeant major said. "I think the room is filled with champions today."

Morrissey, he added, is herself a champion.

"Leanne, we wouldn't be here today if it weren't for you to bring such a vision and idea to a reality," Battaglia said.

"Over the years, you've given so much to our military moms-to-be. [You] give, give and give more, never asking for anything in return. You're really the reason that brings us here today to spend time with this other special group of champions: our military spouses and moms-to-be."

*Facing Hardships*

The sergeant major praised military spouses for overcoming the hardships they face as their spouses are away defending the country.

"Ladies, you take on a magnificent responsibility," Battaglia said, "and I just want you to know that while raising a family in the military has so many great experiences and memories, the hardships that you endure ... while your spouse serves in uniform doesn't go unnoticed.

"You are, at times, placed in some not-so-ideal conditions," he continued, "[with] children moving from school to school, the family relocating to a new city, the separation month after month."

*Military Families' 'Heart and Soul'*

Calling military families "the heart and soul of our armed forces," Battaglia told a brief story of a father who was a special operations service member and was often gone for long periods, missing out on time with his daughter.

The sergeant major said that while the story is an extreme example, it helps to illustrate some of the sacrifices that military families endure.

Battaglia told the expectant mothers that the nation is proud of them and their families, and he thanked the nonprofit organizations willing to serve the families in times of need.