This month’s Volunteer of the Month, Lauren Fagan sat down with Hope For The Warriors to discuss a variety of topics.
How did you learn about Hope For The Warriors?
“I learned about HOPE through a friend who told me to reach out for resources when my family was really struggling through a difficult time. This was when I was introduced to HOPE’s Career Transition Case Manager/Scholarship Program Manager, Kristy Warren; she and I became friends from the get-go. She is just wonderful! It was such a relief to know that there were resources for people like me and my family during a time when reaching out to the people around us wasn’t something we felt comfortable doing.”
How has HOPE helped you and your family?
“HOPE has assisted my family with countless resources that have contributed to getting us where we are now. HOPE awarded me with a scholarship that greatly assisted me with the financial burden of continuing my education in 2023. Our family struggled during active duty and while my husband was retiring. HOPE has helped me to navigate the unknown and continues to be a beacon of hope for myself and so many other families. I have had many struggles of my own mentally. Honestly, having the blessing of writing blogs each month has been such an outlet for me because I can pour my heart out and pour into the hearts of other individuals who have experienced what I have. Also, friendships! I have made some incredible lifelong friends while volunteering with HOPE! We talk about our trials, our children, and life, all without judgment, because we know the “hard” stuff is different from other people. It is wonderful to feel heard and validated in your feelings by someone who has been there.”
Why do you enjoy writing?
“I have always loved writing, even as a kid. I feel like my brain never stops. I am always thinking of new ideas, processing a feeling, reading, doing schoolwork, and homeschooling my kids. Writing is such a gift, and our thoughts and feelings are ever-changing. There is no better way to process emotions, relay information, and put permanency with your thoughts than writing things down. It also serves as an irreplaceable tool for reflection. Writing and reading, in my opinion, are two of the most helpful resources for healing. Writing has been a vessel for me since I was a child, and I feel very blessed to have a mother who encouraged me to write. I know that when I put my pen to paper, I leave something my children can read. I encourage that in them as well.”
How does it feel to see your blogs on the website?
“It’s a bit surreal. To see how much life has transformed for my family, more than once, to see my words for all to see on the internet, makes me feel accomplished. It makes me feel like the things we have worked so hard for and the struggles have been for a reason. I pray over my blogs, that someone who needs to see them will feel less alone. Or even reach out and ask for help.”
What does it mean to you, knowing that military families are reading these, and they are directly impacting their lives? You’re making a difference!
“It means the world to me knowing that there are military families reading the blogs I write. I know the struggles that come with military life; they aren’t easy. Knowing that a young mom may take time to read the blog between the chaotic times in her day, I see myself in that. Maybe an active duty or retired individual struggling in their life and reading about our struggles would be a light for them in a dark time. My husband and I are transparent for a reason, and that is because we have been there. My most significant prayer is that when someone feels hopeless, they don’t have to continue grabbing at straws to find that hope. So many resources are available at HOPE to help individuals who need it. Maybe they’re just a blog away from hearing something they need to hear, that will open that door for them.”
What was it like to be on the HOPE Podcast?
“Uhhhh, AWESOME! Kate did SUCH an awesome job, made me feel incredibly comfortable, and asked questions that were on point. I love to talk about my family’s experiences while on active duty and as a retired family. Some experiences are far from pleasant, but they make us who we are. Usually, when I share these times with others, I am nervous. My anxiety gets the best of me; I am worried about what I will say, how it will sound, and that I will say something wrong. I felt like I was with an old friend, and we were chatting casually over coffee. It was a great experience!”
How did it feel to share your story over the airwaves?
“It was different! It is really hard to step up and share something so intimate and so deep. When I first started sharing our story, I was afraid. I didn’t feel important. I didn’t feel like the things I had to say were big enough that people wanted to hear them. As I have journeyed along with this, grown, and continue to share my “developing story,” I realize that the importance of what people want to hear is not nearly as critical as what someone may NEED to hear. I also know that being able to reflect and share my not-so-beautiful past, compared to how beautiful my life is now, is an offering of hope for people suffering. I remember that suffering, and I am so thankful to God, HOPE, my husband, and everyone who has played a part in the growth of our family for seeing us through to this stage of our lives. We are blessed beyond measure, and there are such great rewards in hard work and, sometimes, just being still.”
Want to read some of Lauren’s work?
- A New Perspective: Making Simple Changes for the New Year.
- A Caregiver Story: Awakening From a Nightmare.
- Lauren Dives into National Fishing Day.
- The Sacrifices of Military Children
- The Purple Heart.
Want to get involved?
Lauren volunteers her time to help military families, and you can too! Click here for more information on how to participate in events in your area, commit your time virtually, or learn how to spread the word about HOPE!