For 16-year-old Joey Pleinis, what started as a hobby, quickly became a passion.
“They’re not all championship medals, but they’re all just representations of being on a team,” Joey said as he showed off some of his medals.
The team has become crucial for Joey and his 14-year-old sister, Grace, especially when their parents couldn’t always be there.
“We got to entertain ourselves a lot, but we knew our parents were doing the right thing by serving our country,” said Joey.
Mom Teri, a 23-year Army vet, and her husband Greg, who spent 20 years in the Air Force, faced the challenge of raising a young family, often times with only one parent around while the other was deployed.
“Not having mom and dad available to help them on a test or get their drivers license…” said Teri Pleinis, explaining some of the challenges.
But, she says it was doable with help.
“It is great that Our Military Kids is looking out for our kids,” said Teri.
The organization offers grants to kids all over the country who have a parent actively serving in the military, or who has been disabled in service, with the idea of helping them find a passion.
“It takes a weight off their shoulders and part of that is we are recognizing them for the sacrifice they’re making during a really difficult time,” said Kara Dallman, executive director of Our Military Kids.
Dallman says the grant money can be used for kids to pursue any activity they want to get involved in.
For the Pleinis’, the answer was obvious.
“Wherever we are, whatever’s going on at home, there’s kind of that consistency of the game of soccer for them,” said Greg.
A game that’s helped to fill a void, in more ways that one.
“It also builds a lot of relationships so we’re able to make friends. It’s like another family,” said Grace.
If you would like to donate to Our Military Kids, or know a family who might be eligible for their services, visit https://ourmilitarykids.org.