Tina Sager laughs as she says it was a moment of insanity that made her agree to open up her house to strangers for Sunday’s Fort Benning Tour of Homes.
She and her husband, Lt. Col. Thomas Sager, and their four children have lived in one of Fort Benning’s historic homes for four years. It has five bedrooms and three-and-a-half bathrooms. Each child -- Noah, 5; Hannah, 11; Zachary, 19 and Matthew, 24 -- has his or her own room.
Sager said the fifth bedroom, in the basement, would have been the maid’s room in the 1920s-built home.
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 is miles away).
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When we visited a week ago, Sager said Hannah was still working on getting her room clean for the tour. Everything was picked up off the floor, but her mother said, “I prefer it to be spotless.”
Sager loves to decorate and move furniture around. She 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 each room, but before they move, they will have to repaint the rooms neutral white to comply with Fort Benning rules. The Sager family will learn next month whether they’ll move or stay at Fort Benning.
Most of the home’s rooms will be available to tour guests but the oldest boys, Zachary and Matthew, have said their rooms are off-limits. They are sons from her first marriage.
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.”
Married 13 years, 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.”
Homes on the tour belong to be officers and enlisted personnel. Riverside, the commanding general’s home will be open as will the homes of the Armor and Infantry commandants, as well as the Marshall House, the VIP quarters.
“We knew Tina has a beautiful house but we had to twist her arm a bit,” Amy Catterton said.
The 2010 Tour of Homes netted the Fort Benning Community Spouses Club $2,000, which is used for projects and scholarships.