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The Reynolds family is such a special family to us. When Caleb arrived to his first unit back in 2015, he was feeling a little lost. He had, if my memory serves me correctly, six platoon sergeants in the first three or so months he was there. Often times you hear about how platoon sergeants really contribute to the officer’s understanding of the Marine Corps, especially when the officer is fresh out of TBS and MOS school. He was lacking that type of relationship with the platoon sergeants he had because of the quick turnover. Finally, Stephen made his way to 2nd Platoon, Fox Company.
The rest was history. These two were inseparable throughout Caleb’s first deployment. Part of me feels like they could have been brothers in another life. Stephen not only welcomed us into the Marine Corps, but also his family. Shelby, Stephen’s wife, had endured a couple of deployments already, so I silently took pointers from her as I watched her endure a third deployment, this time with two kids. She is strong and steadfast and the perfect balance for Stephen.
When Caleb and I pulled up to Stephen and Shelby’s home for the first time, I said to Caleb, “It looks like Ally and Noah’s house from The Notebook. It’s perfect.” I loved their home from the moment I saw it. It’s the quintessential North Carolina home in a quiet little nook of its own. The few memories Caleb and I made there are so special, so I can only imagine the amount of memories this family of four have made there.
Even though Stephen has been in the Marine Corps for fourteen years, this is his first PCS (Permanent Change of Station, a lot of words that simply means they’re moving). They will be headed to 29 Palms, which is the middle of the desert—obviously totally different than the coastal setting they’re accustomed to. I’m pretty sure Shelby was a mermaid in her past life because I feel like they are always out on the boat or at the beach!
In anticipation of this move, we documented all of their favorite parts of their North Carolina home—from the front porch swing, to the porch door and front yard, to the gravel driveway leading to their home. It is my wish that not only Stephen and Shelby, but also their children carry these memories with them throughout all of their travels and life adventures.
To Stephen and Shelby—this is not goodbye, it’s see you later! We will do our best to come visit you guys in the desert and get yelled at for playing slip and slide flip cup and using too much water! Safe travels as you all start this new chapter.
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