HAHIRA – Military spouse, Tara Burgess, knows all too well the effects of deployments on families with young children. Tara has been a military spouse for over 14 years and has seen her husband through several deployments including one as recent as earlier this year. During these times, Burgess relies on her friends and neighbors to be her “chosen family.” Daniel and Tara have been together since before he left for basic training.

Tara lives in Hahira with her husband, Daniel, and two children, Quinn (age 9) and Madilynn (age 4).  

Tara has been the dance instructor at Moody Air Force Base for the past 9 years. She teaches classes focusing on ballet, tap, jazz and more for ages 3 and up. Classes are held on base weekly and a recital is held at least once a year.  Tara got her start as a dance instructor years ago as a substitute dance teacher for her old high school in Maryland before becoming the full-time dance instructor. She has also taught dance classes while living overseas in Okinawa, Japan!

Her hobbies include activities with her family like riding bikes, arts and crafts like painting, and anything outdoors. “The thing that makes me the happiest is doing things with my family when we are altogether. I love riding bikes and swimming with the kids.

When asked how she juggles her busy life as a dance instructor, mother, and military spouse, Tara responded, “My life is very busy but rewarding in lots of ways! I keep my calendar right next to my computer and refer to it each day. Some days are hectic and takes a lot of planning, but I absolutely love it!

The family is headed to Tennessee for a family reunion this summer with Daniel’s side of the family and then to Maryland to visit Tara’s side of the family and go to the beach. “Many of Daniel’s family hasn’t seen him since he returned from his most recent deployment so this will be good.

Deployments are not a new experience for the Burgess family. In fact, Daniel was deployed years ago when sweet Madilynn was born. “I am so proud of my kids for coping so well with Daniel’s deployment, especially Madilynn for being so young this time around.”

A favorite family memory for Tara is the hanging of traditional ornaments on the family Christmas tree as each person shares about events of their life throughout the year. “We start with the oldest person in the family and each person comes up and shares about what’s been going on in their life throughout the year before hanging their ornament on the exact same tree my grandparents have had for years. This will be the first Christmas without either of my grandparents this year but we will keep the tradition going.”

Living in Hahira is perfect for the Burgess family. “I am very happy for where we live in Hahira. I absolutely love our neighborhood and I have neighbors who are like family. Many of our friends have become our family. When Daniel was deployed I had to rely on them a lot for helping when I had to go to a doctor’s appointment or to go teach dance classes on base.Everyone is always so helpful to make sure everyone is well taken care of each day.



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Kadence Bennett
Kadence is a young Cook County teenager who loves her smart watch, smart phone, iPad and all other forms of digital media overload. Some of her accomplishments include making the middle and high school cheer teams, the golf team, maintaining Honor Roll status every semester in school, and winning the school's writing fair two years in a row. Kadence will begin Cook County High School in the fall of 2018, and also will attend Georgia Military College as a dual-enrolled student. She enjoys service projects and loves to volunteer in her local community. Helping people has always been her passion. Kadence has set her goal to become a pediatric surgeon, after studying at Harvard Medical School.


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