Blue Star Families launches new chapter in Puget Sound

By Blue Star Families release on September 12, 2023

SEATTLE - Blue Star Families launched its newest Chapter in the Puget Sound region of Washington last week. This Chapter joins 12 others to serve the more than 1.5 million military-connected individuals across the United States. Sonia Garza will lead the Blue Star Families Puget Sound Chapter as Executive Director. Garza is an Army spouse and City Councilperson for Dupont, Washington.

In partnership with Health Net Federal Services, Boeing, Starbucks, and Craig Newmark Philanthropies, Blue Star Families celebrated the launch with an event at the iconic Starbucks Reserve Roastery. Congressperson Marilyn Strickland, Congressperson Adam Smith, and Major General (Ret.) James Johnson were honored as special guests at the event.

"Blue Star Families was founded to strengthen and empower military families across our nation, and the heartbeat of our expansive network of community support resides within our Chapters," said Kathy Roth-Douquet, CEO of Blue Star Families. "We are thrilled to introduce this new Chapter, extending a heartfelt welcome and lifeline of support to Washington's 95,000+ military personnel and their families."

Every year, 600,000 military families move on government orders and need to be welcomed into communities, and they often face a number of challenges in the process such as finding affordable housing, stable employment, and child care. In Puget Sound, programs such as the Summer Music Mania with Spouses' Club of Lewis-McChord and an outdoor event with Military Wild at the Billy J. Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, will launch in the coming weeks to help local families address these issues and build valuable connections.

"I am so grateful to Blue Star Families and its partners for recognizing the value of providing vital support to military families in this area," said Sonia Garza, Executive Director of the Blue Star Families Puget Sound Chapter. "With housing and food security challenges looming large in this region, I'm incredibly honored to lead a team crafting solutions on the ground. As we face a challenging relocation season for military families, this Chapter's presence in the Puget Sound region is invaluable."

The launch event was at the Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Seattle, and Starbucks partners with Blue Star Families beyond Puget Sound to host Coffee Connections for new military families in Chapters across the country. These events allow families to build relationships with each other and become fully integrated into their new cities.

"We are excited to support the growth and expansion of Blue Star Families to more regions across the country in order to help local military families find community and resources," said Kathleen E. Redd, President and CEO of Health Net Federal Services. "Creating a supportive environment for military families honors their sacrifices and improves the local community as a whole. Blue Star Families knows how to help its chapters thrive, and we're honored to be a part of its expansion."