Gooch Family

A Salute to The Gooch Family

Spotlighting a Military Family Helped by Project Sanctuary

June 1, 2019

We are The Gooch Family! My name is Kimberly and I am a runner and full time Department of Defense employee of Fort Carson Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation. Erin has been Active Duty Army for 12 years and is currently a Chief Warrant Officer 2, Apache Helicopter Pilot. Before Erin was a pilot, he was enlisted in Civil Affairs and was a Patriot Missile Operator. We have been together for 4 years, but were recently married in May 2018. In addition to the challenges of being a military family, we are also a blended family. Our children are 10, 9, 7 and 6.

We were stationed to Fort Carson, Colorado in August of 2018. Just a few weeks later, with boxes of household goods to still be unpacked, Erin was deployed to Afghanistan. I was left with four kids (2 of whom were new step-children to me) in a new city, across the country from any family.

Erin and I were across the world from each other and in completely different situations but facing similar challenges. He was new to the Aviation community and I was new to Fort Carson and a brand new step-mom. We were both meeting new people and learning to take on new roles. The life that we had built together over the last three years was rapidly changing. Upon his return, we were in the “honeymoon stage” and elated to be together again but life with four kids and a full time job doesn’t slow down because “daddy is home”.

We applied for a Project Sanctuary retreat before Erin had even returned home. We knew we were going to need a safe place away from everything to literally retreat from the world around us. About three weeks after Erin returned home, we were headed to YMCA of the Rockies, Retreat #172 in Granby, Co.

Project Sanctuary immediately encouraged us to “unplug” and we did. Instead of scrolling social media, we were talking and communicating with each other and the kids. In the evenings, we played games and hung out with our kids. When they went to bed, Erin and I stayed up talking for hours without the pressure of cleaning house and doing laundry. We were able to go ice fishing and ride snow mobiles and spend time with the kids in ways that we normally wouldn’t be able to do. In addition to making memories with the kids, we probably benefitted the most from the group conversations during class time. We met couples who were all facing similar issues that we were. We all sat in a living room and were able to discuss the hardships of deployment from both downrange and the home front. For a change, we were able to sit and talk in a room full of people and we felt “normal”.  My husband was able to talk about his deployment experiences with people who understood exactly how he felt and had been in the same situations as he had and he knew he wasn’t going to be judged. We were even able to talk with a financial specialist and discuss our budget and financial plans for our future. Project Sanctuary was everything we needed post deployment. We were blown away by the kindness and generosity of everyone we met during the retreat and we can’t express our gratitude enough.