Mr. Sean Cartwright struggles to balance serving in active duty with the Pennsylvania National Guard while trying to maintain a healthy family life and a full-time job as a Southmoreland High School science teacher. But he said nothing is worse than missing pieces of his children’s lives, being absent in numerous occasions that will become fond memories for them, and lacking the joy of his presence in their lives.
“During my deployment to Jordan, my kids were in second grade, so I missed all of the things they did that school year,” said Mr. Cartwright. “I also missed out on their soccer seasons, both spring and fall, as well as their wrestling season.”
These recollections will always hold a place in their thoughts and are the beginning of their abiding education and sport years. Being so young and still dependent, it was difficult to rely on only one parent, especially in regards to sports. The stereotypical “sports-father” did not pertain to them during that year.
“It was kind of detrimental,” Mr. Cartwright said. “There seemed to be a little bit of an issue, but I think we’ve gotten past that when I got home – and obviously they missed me.”
Being so far from his family for a total of 11 in 2016 months, Mr. Cartwright made sure to keep in contact with his family. Although writing letters is something that is no longer commonly practiced, his family made sure they kept some kind of communication with him, even if it wasn’t ideal.
“We did talk on Face-time from time to time,” said Mr. Cartwright. “In fact, we Face-timed while they opened their Christmas gifts in 2016.”
Although such sacrifice is hard to deal with, some moments harder than others, the rewarding feeling of contributing to one’s country makes it ultimately worth it.
Mr. Cartwright explains his profession as simply a “full combat-oriented military occupation specialty that runs the breath of many operations, mainly overseas.”
His dedication to the country is easily perceived, while being committed for 22 years this month.
Recently being promoted to First Sergeant, Mr. Cartwright now gets the chance to motivate and influence other men to not “throw in the towel” and to keep pushing through. Just three years ago he became head of a 220-person unit, which added to the responsibility he had to obtain while away from the comfort of his hometown. But among the midst of the hardship faced with being away from his family, he formed a new one.
“I have to talk other guys into staying whenever things like that come up, but that’s one of the reasons why it’s called a sacrifice,” said Mr. Cartwright. “We’re giving up part of our personal life and part of what we want to do and doing something for the greater good.”