Reflecting on military family life during Month of the Military Family

As part of the Month of the Military Family observance in November, two Minnesota National Guard families shared their thoughts on life as a military family.

The Trisco Family

Air Force Master Sgt. Alyson Trisco and her husband, Air Force Master Sgt. Shane Trisco, have been serving in the military a combined total of 29 years. Both are with the 133rd Airlift Wing in Minneapolis.

Alyson is the base service manager in the Force Support Squadron. She leads a Services flight of 28 members and oversees the dining facility, wing fitness program, and lodging program and serves as the unit deployment manager. Shane is the base functional admin manager and is part of the command support staff for the Maintenance Group. He ensures the 133rd Airlift Wing’s administration career field is equipped, developed, and sustained to provide the required Air Force capabilities at the installation-level.

Between the two of them, the Triscos have deployed four times. They said the biggest challenge of being a miliary family is knowing that at any moment they are a day or two away from spending months apart from each other and their children, Roman 3, and Rylee, who will be a year old on Thanksgiving Day.

“Thankfully, we’ve never deployed at the same time, and thankfully our family are standing by and ready to help,” Alyson said. “We have a huge support network of family and friends, but I would say my mother’s support is unlike any other. Aside from watching Roman and Rylee for us every drill weekend, she consistently drops whatever she is doing to help us when we need it. Having been enlisted in the Army, she understands military life and the uncertainty it brings.”

The Triscos have developed ways to cope with being apart during extended trainings, temporary tour of duties, or deployments. “We communicate as much as possible through video chat and send a lot of pictures of the kids and our dachshunds to each other. We also just try to keep our routine as normal as possible like we are both at home,” Alyson said.

For the Triscos, Month of the Military Family is about remembering the people who are always there for their family. “It reminds us that we are incredibly blessed with programs, like Beyond the Yellow Ribbon, that support our brothers and sisters in the military,” Alyson said. She is also glad to be able to bring their children to special events at the 133rd Airlift Wing to play with other children who understand how it feels to be a military child.

Alyson reminds all military families that “we are in this together, so please don’t isolate yourself. Reach out if you need a helping hand.” She would also like to let the public know that everything it does to support the military community “does not go unnoticed.” “We are grateful to have the opportunity to serve you and to be your first line of defense,” Alyson said.

The Polzin Family

Savannah Polzin has been a military spouse for 20 years. She is the Soldier & Family Readiness Specialist for the 1st Battalion, 194th Armor Regiment in Brainerd, where she provides support, resources, and referrals to soldiers and their families. Her husband, Army Master Sgt. Terry Polzin, has been serving in the Minnesota National Guard for 26 years. He is the first sergeant for the 850th Engineer Construction Company in Cambridge. He also works for Automated Target Systems at Camp Ripley Training Center.

For the Polzins, Month of the Military Family acknowledges and honors the strength it takes to be a military family. “The most challenging part of being a military family for us is our time apart from one another,” Polzin said. “With every deployment, it becomes more challenging.” Thus far, Savannah, Terry, and their children, Tegan, 13, and Tristan, 11, have experienced three deployments.

“It’s hard for individuals who have no military experience to understand what comes with being a military family and the hardships families endure when their soldier is deployed or gone for training,” Savannah said. “It takes a lot of emotional, mental, and physical strength. It takes a team to keep life on the home front moving forward, a lot of patience, taking on additional roles and tasks. Family members might not wear the uniform, but they make sacrifices just as much as their soldiers do while serving our country.”

Savannah added that since Minnesota National Guard families are geographically dispersed throughout the state and outside of Minnesota, it can be difficult for family members to connect with others near them who may be going through similar struggles.

However, despite the challenges, being a military family strengthens the Polzins’ bond and makes any connection with others in the military community special.

“Terry and I have a deeper appreciation for one another because we are a military family. We have also gained many friendships with other military spouses, parents, and soldiers over the years,” Savannah said. “Being able to have friendships with other military families is a true blessing as they understand the ups and downs of military life. I would be lost without those friendships in my life, especially during deployments.”

Savannah encourages military families to be kind to themselves, use their support systems, and ask for help. “You’d be surprised how many other military families are going through similar hardships and obstacles. Being able to connect with another military family helps knowing you have someone who you can relate with,” Savannah said. “If you don’t feel you have a good support system, reach out to a Soldier & Family Readiness Specialist, like me.”

There are 13 Soldier & Family Readiness Specialists throughout Minnesota providing support and assistance to soldiers and families. Every SFRS has military experience either as a spouse, service member, or retired from military service. To connect with an SFRS, call 1(888) 234-1274.

Cristina Oxtra, Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs