The Allen family exemplifies what’s working with the Army Family Covenant.
Staff Sgt. Andre Allen is a three-time combat veteran. His wife, Spc. LaToya Allen, has deployed twice. Together they are raising four daughters between the ages of 13 and 7: Anashalique, Shawnay, Raynesha and Demarrie.
“The Allen’s are a dual military couple with a commitment to service and a devotion to their four beautiful daughters,” said Maj. Gen. Robert Brown, who invited the family to the Army Family Covenant signing Friday. “They represent the importance of what it is we’re doing here today.”
Andre is the operations NCO for the 197th Brigade while his wife is assigned to the Brigade Support Troops Battalion for the 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, at Kelley Hill.
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LaToya said the key to making things work in a dual military family is “a lot of sacrifices, patience and communication.”
“It’s hard you’ve got to leave the other stressors behind you when you go home to appreciate when you are home with your family.”
Though the pair has deployed multiple times, they never served in the same countries. Andre deployed to Iraq each time, LaToya to Afghanistan. Both are recipients of the Combat Action Badge.
“The first one was hard, for not having done it before,” said LaToya, who had to leave her husband to raise their daughters during her first deployment.
Though they could’ve packed the girls up to live with their grandparents, LaToya and Andre said they didn’t because they wanted the girls to feel comfortable in familiar surroundings. The Allen family relied on the services offered thanks in part to the Army Family Covenant.
A wealth of CYSS activities kept the girls engaged, and discounts on child care made the deployments easier to bear, she said. The girls attend schools on post and participate in School Age Services. They use the Teen Center and are members of the Girl Scouts troops on post.
“When I first came (into the service) there weren’t a lot of programs available,” she said. “Now, when we’re tasked out or heading to the field they have a lot of activities they can go to.”