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Fort Benning family falls in love with historic home

Tina Sager's home in one of Fort Benning's historic districts is a comfortable one that's the haven for her husband, Lt. Col. Thomas Sager, and their four children.

They've been married for 13 years and have lived at Fort Benning for four years, though they may have to move, depending on whether Thomas Sager will be stationed on another Army post.

Their home on Lumpkin Street, is a two-story home with a basement. Built in the 1920s, it has four bedrooms upstairs and what would have been the maid's room in the basement.

Because it's so large, each child gets his or her own room, something that was welcomed when Sager's two oldest sons came to live with them. They are sons from her first marriage.

The youngest kids have themed rooms. Noah, 5, has a dinosaur-inspired room, while Hannah, 11, has a typical tween room that's colorful and has a huge, stuffed monkey "roommate."

Zachary, 19 and Matthew, 24, have rooms that are off limits to visitors.

She loves living in the area on Main Post because of its proximity to schools, the movie theater, parks and a dog park. The only thing missing, she says, is a grocery store (the Commissary and Post Exchange are miles away).

Sager laughs merrily when she admits that it was a moment of insanity when she agreed to be on the annual Fort Benning Tour of Homes in March.

But it wasn't a tough thing. She loves to decorate and move furniture around. Sager confessed that she was so full of decorating ideas after last year's home tour that she had her husband moving furniture in their home that night.

Her husband, she said, is a good sport and does all the moving without complaining.

"He does whatever I ask," she said. "But we go 100 percent either way."

Yardwork is not a problem, since they both love to work outdoors. They've planted azaleas all around the house and they are blooming now.

Sager has painted almost every room, but when they move, they are required to repaint the rooms neutral white to comply with Fort Benning rules.

She passed along one helpful hint for home decorators -- use one color as an accent. Sager's favorite color is red and you'll find splashes of red in every room, whether it's a wall, a pillow, a picture frame or a spray of faux flowers.

Many of the home's furnishings have passed down through the family or are antiques that were purchased near the various Army posts where the family has lived.

An antique china cabinet holds Sager's grandmother's plates and decorative items. Her grandfather was in the Army and when they were stationed on Okinawa, Japan, they bought the plates and such.

Interestingly, when her grandpa was stationed at Fort Benning, Sager's grandparents lived in home just down the block from Sager's current home.

Despite her grandpa's service, Sager didn't grow up a "military brat." Marrying Thomas Sager was Sager's first experience with the military. She grew up in Fayetteville, which is to Fort Bragg as Columbus is to Fort Benning.

"My mother was mad because I met a soldier," Sager said. "She didn't want me to leave."

Sager says her family hasn't really moved a lot though they've called Fort Bragg, Fort Leavenworth, Tampa and Fort Benning home.

"It's stressful and exciting" being a military spouse, Sager said. "I'm still learning lots."

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