COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — Jeannie Puckett spent a significant part of her life as an Army spouse. She knows the toll that nomadic life can take on families – especially children.
She has recently started a non-profit organization with the goal of recognizing and supporting Army children.
Coins are a big deal in the military. Mrs. Puckett’s husband – Medal of Honor recipient Col. Ralph Puckett has one. Commanders on all levels have these to give out at their pleasure.
But this one is for the children.
“For a long time, I have felt that the military children have a difficult life that doesn’t equal anything else,” Mrs. Puckett said. “They are part of the military family, but they really have never gotten credit for all that they endure being a child of the military.”
She wants to change that. That is why The Dandelion Project was her brainchild. She watched her husband – retired Col. Ralph Puckett honored in 2021 with the Medal of Honor in the White House.
She now wants to see military children get the recognition they deserve.
“They are constantly on the move, leaving friends behind, leaving everything, sports teams moving to a new post and trying to make friends,” she said. “This comes at the same time that they are going through their self-development of who they are outside the family unit. … I have found that military children mature more quickly than their civilian counterparts, and so they are more flexible, they’re more independent, they are strong, and in the end, they end up being contributing citizens.”
Puckett tells the story of what happened when one of her children came home with an interesting question.
“When my child was about in the fourth grade studying the Civil War, she came to me and asked me if she was a Rebel or a Yankee,” she said. “And I said, ‘I don’t know how to answer that because you were born in Puerto Rico and your birth certificate is in Spanish.’ But my answer to her was, you are a citizen of the world, and be proud of that.”
And on one side of the coin are dandelions. And they are not there by accident.
“I chose the dandelion as the theme because the dandelion is already been established as the flower for the military child because it is planted, bloomed, and is scattered to the four winds and blooms where it is planted.”
Mrs. Puckett rolled this out about a month ago at the National Infantry Museum during a conference about military families. She says the response has been positive – and she can’t wait to see where this journey takes her.
The coins are available for purchase at Commando Military Supply on Victory Drive. They can also be found online. Go to this story on WRBL.com for more information.