[Photo: The Rever family of Hoke County came home from a “staycation” to see the newly renovated home office. T-Mobile, Blue Star Families and Brock Cabinets came together to make it happen. (Catharin Shepard photos)]
By Catharin Shepard • Editor • When Alyssa Rever and her husband Matt Rever, a warrant officer at Fort Liberty, moved to Hoke County two months ago, she had to put together her work-from-home office as best she could.
At first it was just a folding table in a second-floor room, with boxes of the family’s belongings still stacked here and there. It wasn’t a workspace that could help her make the most of her time. Meanwhile, the couple were very busy getting their children settled and learning their way around a new community after coming from Fort Sill in Oklahoma.
That was how things were until last week, when volunteers with T-Mobile, working through the Blue Star Families program, descended on the Rever family’s home to do an office makeover and turn the space into something more comfortable and functional for the Army spouse.
The family had a “staycation” at a bed and breakfast while the volunteers and supporters turned Alyssa Rever’s office into a welcoming home workspace.
“We came in, Brock Cabinets did built-ins, shelving, cabinetry on one side, and on the other side, there’s a homework space for her two kids as well,” Penny Bolden of Blue Star Families said. “It’s absolutely beautiful. They know the room is being made over, but they don’t know what it’s going to look like, they don’t know about the built-ins.”
Last Thursday morning, the family returned – and was greeted with a “Magenta fanfare” by a crowd of dozens of people holding signs welcoming them home. Chalk drawings on the driveway and walkway led the family up to the stairs, and finally up the second floor where Alyssa Rever could see her new, more functional office.
“It’s going to be a huge impact. It’s going to make me want to go to work, and being that I have to work from home, it’s just a perfect space,” she said. “The kids, they’re going to be able to be in there and enjoy it with me as well.”
There are approximately 600,000 active-duty and transitioning military families relocating every year, and over 70 percent of them live off-base in their local communities, according to the Blue Star Families program. That often makes it a challenge for them to connect to their new surroundings.
“That isolation and loneliness that our families living in communities like this, like the Revers family, impacts them financially. If you don’t know anyone to network in a local community, how does a military spouse find a job? Mental health, if you don’t have friends or anyone to ask for help, who do you ask for a favor? It affects them,” Bolden said. “We created an initiative at Blue Star Families called Welcome Week, because our research tells us that if we create these moments of welcome when they move here, everything else improves for them. The concept is really simple, just say welcome to military families when they move into these communities, and that’s what all these people are doing here today.”
The Rever family’s office makeover will be featured on Moving With The Military, a home improvement and lifestyle series focused on military families, hosted by military spouse Maria Reed.
The cabinets were donated and work done by Brock Cabinets. The project was paid for by T-Mobile, which is donating $100,000 to Blue Star Families across the United States. T-Mobile volunteers helped complete the work.
“We are really excited to be able to partner with Blue Star Families and Moving With the Military, we’re excited to be here for this room reveal for the Rever family, so let’s give it up for them,” Terrance Glover, area vice president of retail for T-Mobile, said in comments at the event. “What we’re really excited is to help Blue Star Families all across the country. On behalf of T-Mobile, we are giving this check to Blue Star Families to have this opportunity for families all over the country, for $100,000.”
“This will support thousands more Blue Star Families across the country,” Bolden said. “Blue Star Families can’t do this work without organizations like T-Mobile.”
T-Mobile strives to give back to the community, Glover said.
“It’s not just something we say, it’s something we want to do,” Glover said. “When it comes to the military, the military is very important to what we do. So having an opportunity to do a room reveal and to surprise a family and allow them to be connected to their community with their first home that they’ve ever had, really means a lot to us.”
T-Mobile has 11,000 military employees and a “Veterans and Allies” network group.
“This is what we love to do. We bring tons of energy where ever we go. There’s two things that T-Mobile brings, we bring our magenta, and we bring our energy, we’re always pretty passionate about that,” Glover said.
Mr. Brock of Brock Cabinets said when he heard about the home office makeover, he wanted the business to get involved.
“We’re always willing to get involved in the community, and when Maria called, I knew nothing about her or the show. I immediately got online and found out about who she was and what she was doing, and decided instantly that we, Brock Cabinets, needed to be a part of this,” he said.
Todd Haley of Master Brands offered to donate the cabinets, and things moved quickly from there.
“Within 10 minutes of me speaking to Maria, we had a commitment from the manufacturer to donate the cabinets, and then we got them put in,” Brock said.
The company, local to the Sandhills, tries to give back to others.
“We’ve always been appreciative of the military families and all that they go through, and it’s really been a pleasure for us to serve this community for the last 50 years,” Edward Brock of Brock Cabinets said.
For more on Moving With the Military, visit http://movingwiththemilitary.tv.