2009-09-03 / News

Jamestown home to new batch of military families

New in town
By Adrienne Downing

First of two parts

Every summer brings a new batch of faces to the island from around the globe. Jamestown gets its share of summer residents and tourists, but unlike those two groups, these faces don’t disappear after Labor Day.

As word spreads about what a great community Jamestown is, more and more military families have made Conanicut Island their temporary home. Most of the new military faces belong to families who are in Rhode Island for a one-year tour at the Naval War College in Newport.

This year, the group includes families who have moved from as far away as Guam and as close as Boston. Here is an introduction to two new families who will call the island home this year.

The Strickler family, a Navy family, traveled a long way to Jamestown from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam. But travel is not new to Andrew, Brandi and their children, Jacob, age 10; Josh, age 8; and Meghan, age 5.

The family has been stationed in Pensacola, Fla., Corpus Christi, Tex., twice in San Diego, and two times in Guam.

The oldest children were born in Guam.

“We had a wonderful three years there and were very happy to get orders a second time,” Brandi Strickler said.

Strickler said she chose Jamestown as the family’s home because of its schools.

“Most of our friends live in Middletown or Portsmouth. We didn’t know anything about Jamestown until we started researching schools. Our oldest son starts middle school this year and I was concerned about him being in a large school like in Middletown or Portsmouth,” she said. “Through our research, we found Lawn School. Once I started asking around, I heard only wonderful things about the schools in Jamestown. And, the fact that the schools are so small was the deciding factor.”

Her favorite thing about Jamestown so far is the sense of community the family felt as soon as they moved here.

“I already know we are not going to want to leave next year. Everyone has been so nice,” she said.

Strickler said that while she is enjoying the local community, she also appreciates the military community that exists in Jamestown.

“What I love most about military life is how welcoming other military families are wherever you go. For example, a couple of weeks ago, I took my children to the Kid’s Day at Jamestown Community Farm. While there, I met another military wife and she immediately asked for my phone number and has since had us over for dinner,” she said. “The instant kindness and camaraderie that military families share is unique and special. We’ve all been the new person, we’ve all been without our spouse’s at one point or another, and we understand

how difficult moves and transitions can be. It’s like extended

family.”

The family plans to spend its year in Jamestown reconnecting after a hectic military schedule.

“After so many years of deployments, it will be nice to have us all together for a whole year. We would like to take some road trips that we haven’t been able to do for the last two years, and go apple picking, hiking around the island, and just exploring what Rhode Island has to offer,” she said.

The Cassidy family traveled north from Fort Bragg, N.C. to get to Rhode Island, but New England is not uncharted waters for the family of four, which includes husband, Bob; wife, Chris; and 12-year-old twins, Hailey and Robert.

Bob and Chris are both originally from Massachusetts, so they are familiar with the area.

The schools were also a draw for the Cassidys, who came to Jamestown on the recommendation of friends.

While the Stricklers spent their fair share of time exploring the Pacific, Europe has been the stomping ground of the Cassidys.

“Our best year was when we got to live in Paris, France for a year. We have also been stationed in Germany twice and had a great time seeing Europe,” Chris Cassidy said.

Their twins have been competitive swimmers for a few years and are considering spending some time honing their talent while in Rhode Island.

The family is also looking forward to exploring the outdoors while here.

“We’re planning a fall foliage trip and look forward to exploring Newport,” Cassidy said.

No matter what the future holds for these two families, both plan to make the most of Jamestown and all it has to offer.

Be sure to see next week’s Press for more introductions.

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