Introducing Blue Star Families’ Tampa Chapter: A BTS Look at the Launch Event

August 29, 2020

Guess what? We’ve welcomed yet another Chapter to our family! 

That’s right. If you haven’t heard the news we’ve excitedly been sharing on social media, we’d like to introduce you to the Blue Star Families Tampa Chapter.

Earlier this year, we were forced to press pause on our launch plans due to COVID-19. So today, we’re giving you a behind-the-scenes look at how the official celebration finally went down in a social-distancing-approved way on Friday, August 28th!


The Partnership

Without the support of CSX, a #BlueStarNeighbor, it’s safe to say this Chapter wouldn’t be possible. Through its Pride in Service initiative, the company has a long-standing commitment to honoring and serving those who serve our country and its communities—our nation’s veterans, military, and first responders. So a partnership with CSX to build strong communities of mutual support for military families who call the Tampa Bay area home seemed like an obvious one.


The Why

In our 2019 Military Family Lifestyle Survey, 40% of military families shared they do not feel a sense of belonging to their local civilian community and want more significant opportunities to connect with their civilian neighbors. 

That said, there’s an unmet opportunity for Blue Star Families programming in Tampa. And that’s why we chose this community to be home to our next Blue Star Chapter.

Through our partnership with CSX, we’re ready to empower more military families with career and training support and fun activities to engage and impact those who serve, as well as their neighbors, each year. To help us do just that, we hired a full-time, local Chapter Director, Courtney Bilyeu!


The Launch Celebration

Since March, Courtney has been working hard to connect with her local community and organize an impactful launch event that inspires new family memories in these anything-but-ordinary times.

All her planning efforts came to life on Friday, August 28th, upon joining forces with the American Legion Post 138 to host a “Dinner on Us” drive-thru celebration!

49 registered military families attended, taking home a gift bag featuring a gift certificate for dinner on us, board game, and a book to read before bedtime. We loved to see so many smiling faces and know they were receiving the supplies they needed for a family fun night!


What’s Next?

We’re just getting started here in Tampa. Thanks to our partnerships with Blue Star Neighbors like CSX and volunteers, many more exciting opportunities are to come.

To stay in-the-knowno matter if you’re a military family looking for support or a civilian neighbor wanting to helpjoin Blue Star Families of Tampa here, and follow along on the Chapter landing page and Facebook page.