Deployment comes with the expectation of certain extra expenses. Childcare, care packages, travel, and the catastrophic failure of a major appliance are fairly normal, but many deployed are surprised to find that they have to pay for internet to have quality communication with their families at home. This unexpected cost moved an Army wife and her family to start a non-profit to cover the cost of WIFI for deployed military members.
Morgan Resha met her husband, Michael, in Birmingham, Alabama, where they went to high school together, and they continued on to the same college. After they had their Bachelors degrees, Morgan went to graduate school to become an audiologist, while Michael went to Ranger school. When he went on his first deployment, he expected to be able to use the provided internet and phones to talk to his wife. What he found was long waits, glitchy internet, and dropped calls.
“We could use messenger,” Morgan says, but trying to hear her husband's voice was a frustrating and often fruitless endeavor. “By the time we got it to work, his time was up. We also had no privacy.” WIFI was available for purchase, but $100 a month is no small price for many military families. Thankfully, their family and friends pitched in to cover the cost, and the idea for WIFI for Warriors was born.
Before his second deployment, Morgan and her husband traveled home to see family. During this visit, the family solidified plans and began to raise money. They focused on funding Michael's platoon first, but soon expanded. “It has really taken off,” says Morgan. “There are local businesses and people donating, a t-shirt company partnered with us to raise money, and we're really just so grateful for the support.”
Some of the challenges they face are just a matter of finding the best way to do things, like how to get the money to them in the most efficient way without needing sensitive information and figuring out how much to send. Time is also a factor. “We all have jobs,” Morgan says. She works full time at the VA and part time at a private practice, and helps run the non-profit during her off time. Other obstacles are a bit more difficult to overcome. People are cautious about sending money, and rightfully so.
Scammers have been posing as military members needing money for internet for years. There are also many civilians skeptical of the need. They know most places provide internet, but don't understand how difficult it is to use. Many people simply think military members are paid so well during deployment that the charity is frivolous. Still, the support overshadows the doubters, and WIFI for Warriors are committed on moving forward with the cause.
WIFI for Warriors doesn't think being able to afford internet should disqualify the deployed from getting support. “This is not for any particular rank or pay grade, just anyone who wants it. I don't think any of them should have to pay for it” They keep it simple. If you are a deploying military member, you qualify.
Though WIFI for Warriors is still a small, young non-profit, they are looking to reach more military families. Morgan says, “Spread the word.” You can apply for assistance at wififorwarriors.com, and they are available to answer any questions you have through email at firstname.lastname@example.org or through their Facebook and Instagram accounts.
Catherine Wehrman lives in Washington state with 3 children, 3 cats, and only 1 retired Marine. She home schools her children, hoping to send them out into the world knowing they will never beat their mother at “Phase 10.” When she isn't educating her children or writing, she is most likely to be found collecting rocks, books, and red lipstick. She also enjoys hiking, midnight living room dance parties, reading, trying to pet things that could land her in the hospital, drinking ginger ale, watching her houseplants die, and un-ironically referring to herself in the third person omniscient. Connect with Catherine at MilSpo Co.’s blog and online community!