Fort Bragg kicked off the holiday season by naming its 2017 Family of the Year, Nov. 28. During the annual ceremony, installation leaders honored all 31 Families nominated for the award before announcing Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Clark, his wife Tracie, and children Dreshon, 18; Demaree, 12; Dezariyah, 10; Devrae, 7; and Damir, 2, as the Family of the Year.
On their application, the Family described themselves as “relentless” and explained how that word perfectly fit their unpredictable days.
“Although we lead a busy life, we never let that stop us. Regardless of what storm may come about, we are there pushing through as a unit, a team, a well-oiled machine.”
Clark and Tracie said they experienced the value of volunteerism at a young age.
“Both of us, our childhoods were all about someone giving back to us, so we felt we need to return the favor and give back to the community,” Tracie explained.
She said this is something they have instilled in their children as well. Last year, the Family visited shelters with donations of toiletries and other items for Hurricane Matthew victims.
“We just tried to assist in whichever way that we could,” she said.
The Clarks also serve as basketball and soccer coaches at Stoney Point Recreation Center in Fayetteville 10 months out of the year, while volunteering in the greater community as well.
Clark said it was an “honor and a privilege” to be named the Family of the Year. He hoped it would serve as a morale booster for his Soldiers and show them that it is possible to serve as an Army leader and still make an impact outside the unit. He serves with the 307th Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division.
Tracie agreed and advised other military Families to get involved in activities outside the installation as well.
“…these brave women and men wear these uniforms so we can all stand here tonight and be able to speak, so we just need to be more profound in the community,” she said.
Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, commanding general, XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg, also stressed the importance of military Families in maintaining a ready force. He praised the Families in attendance for going above and beyond their service requirements.
“You represent what is the best of our community here on Fort Bragg,” he said.
After the ceremony, the Clarks helped light the Fort Bragg Christmas Tree as their first official Family of the Year duty.