December 20, 2019
“My husband served in the United States Marine Corps for 12 years and was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, so he had three tours,” Pat, military spouse, recently told Blue Star Families. “Unfortunately, he was injured in combat and suffered TBI and PTSD, so my role as a spouse changed overnight.”
When Pat’s husband was wounded in combat, she became a full-time caregiver. She left her beloved job and put her dreams on hold to care for him and their young son. In doing so, she found a real passion for the military-affiliated nonprofits who helped her family—and many more—thrive during an extremely challenging time. And she’s since become an active volunteer for them, as well as a fierce advocate for the caregiver community.
Because of Pat’s efforts, our military families are stronger. That’s why we’ve selected her to be a “Champion of Chunky!” Her efforts fuel her family and the military community, every day.
Hold up. What’s a Champion of Chunky?
“Champions of Chunky” is a new campaign we just launched with Campbell’s Chunky Soup—our awesome Blue Star Neighbor! Now through the end of February, we’re recognizing military family champions holding down the fort in support of their service member who works long days and nights to keep Americans safe. Together, we’re fueling these rock stars all winter long with Champions of Chunky care packages.
Not to mention, this campaign is part of the Campbell Soup Company and Dollar General Corporation’s pledge to give back to military families. These companies recently teamed up to create limited-edition cans of two best-selling flavors of Chunky Soup: Classic Chicken Noodle and Sirloin Burger with Country Vegetables. As part of the initiative, a monetary donation will be made to Blue Star Families. (And you know we’ll put those funds to good use, providing members like YOU free access to our annual programs and events! 🙌)
But, the real winners here are the folks making a significant difference in their communities, like Pat.
So, to kick-off the campaign, here’s a glimpse into Pat’s real-life, mil-life, and a short overview as to why we selected her as a “Champion of Chunky!”
Get to know Pat:
Patricia, and her husband, Jimmy, are both U.S. citizens who were born in Uganda. He served in the United States Marine Corps for 12 years. They have been happily married for 12 years and have one son William (9), who is an avid golfer.
Pat and her family are very active members of their community in Arlington, VA. The Ochan family volunteers every year with Wreaths Across America at the Arlington National Cemetery, where they lay Christmas Wreaths on the graves of heroes and also participate with the clean-up in January. During the past Memorial Day weekend, Pat’s family volunteered with the Tragedy Assistance Program (TAPS) and took time to hand goodie bags to 600 children who had lost a loved one in military service.
The family also volunteers to register and support new wounded warriors who attend the Links to Freedom golf program on Saturdays. And as if that wasn’t enough, they make time to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity Northern Virginia.
Even more, Pat has volunteered as an Elizabeth Dole Foundation Fellow, representing hidden heroes in Washington, D.C., and advocating for services for the military caregiver community.
She also volunteers for the military spouse network at her workplace (Booz Allen Hamilton), serving as the director for community impact. Additionally, this year, she’s coordinating with 13 Booz Allen Hamilton locations all over the country to volunteer for Wreaths Across America. And we can’t forget that she gives her time as a board member for Blue Star Families and Vacations for Warriors (V4W).
So, all that to say, it’s clear why she’s undoubtedly a Champion of Chunky!
Over the next three months, Blue Star Families and Campbell’s Chunky Soup will recognize six “Champions of Chunky,” and you can watch all of their heartwarming stories at https://bluestarfam.org/campbells/.
Lastly, beginning in November, Campbell’s Chunky Soup collectible cans will be available at more than 16,000 Dollar General stores while supplies last.
Visit a store near you today, and share your support with us on social media by tagging #FuelingBlueStarFamilies!