December 1, 2023

Celebrating Military Families: One Student Shares His Story of Gratitude

By Jason Nazarenko

“I serve with the memory and pride of those who have gone before me for they loved to fight, fought to win, and would rather die than quit.” – Night Stalker Creed

I am a CW3 (P) MH-60M Black Hawk helicopter pilot in the best aviation unit in the world. I have been in the Army for just over 20 years and have been married to my beautiful wife Kammi for every day of it. We have two children, Samantha, 20, and Charlie, 16. I am sure that if you sat Kammi or the kids down, you would hear a different side of the story, but in the end, they would express some of the same feelings as I do.

I could sit here and tell you of all the birthdays, anniversaries, Christmases, Thanksgivings, first days of school and funerals that I’ve missed. But if I focused on all of those times, I wouldn’t be able to tell you how it feels to be standing proudly next to my family at a sporting event with my hand over my heart and a tear in my eye, listening to the Star Spangled Banner play over the loudspeaker.

I wouldn’t be able to tell you about the deep gratitude that I feel when others express their own appreciation towards my family, especially when I am not there. I wouldn’t be able to tell you of the immense pride that I feel when my family proudly wears a shirt with my company’s logo on it to school or throughout their day, because they know that they are a part of the military just as much as I am.

If all of my thoughts and focus were on the sacrifices that we make, I wouldn’t be able to tell you what a blessing it is that I am physically able to serve and for all of us to be called a military family.

Family life in the military can be full of challenges; I know that we have grown stronger and closer together from those very challenges. I am grateful and proud that I have had the opportunity to see my family grow stronger through our time in the military and wouldn’t change it for anything. God bless America, my home sweet home!

Bio: Jason Nazarenko is pursuing a degree in business administration from CSU and serves in the U.S. Army. He currently resides in Clarksville, Tennessee and is an active member of the CSU Student Veterans Association, National Society of Leadership and Success and CSU Knights Run.

Military Families Month