Last month, I had the pleasure of listening to the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor football coach, Pete Fredenburg, speak. What an awesome human. What a great speaker. What an inspiring leader.
Coach Fredenburg was the keynote speaker at our unit’s gala. It was a special night after a long-awaited homecoming for our servicemembers and their families. The room was filled with gratitude for our servicemembers that had returned and remembrance for those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
It was evening to reconnect with each other as an Army family. Stories were shared and memories were made.
Coach Fredenburg touched on three different things in his speech. As he spoke, his heartfelt stories really touched my heart as a military spouse. I wanted to share them with you this week because I think we could all learn and grow from them. The three topics he talked about were: trust, commitment, and care. These qualities are instilled in his players and coaches by his leadership and mentorship.
At first, Coach Fredenburg talked about trust. Trust is defined as the firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something. Other words that go hand in hand with the word trust; confidence, belief, faith, and conviction. As the coach was talking about trust, I was struck by the fact that as we build relationships, we build them on trust. When our trust is broken, those relationships suffer. The coach used an example about a player saying he was going to do something and sticking to his word.
As a military spouse, I have trust (and faith) because without trust, it is impossible to have a relationship. People must trust you and you have to trust others.
The second thing the coach talked about was commitment. The dictionary defines commitment as the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc. The coach talked about his team when defining commitment. The same way the football team is committed to each other and the game, we as military spouses are committed to our servicemembers and our Army families.
We must be committed to doing everything to the best of our ability.
Lastly, he touched on care. It is important to look after and provide for the needs of not only yourself but others around you. This is something military families do all the time. We care. We care about our families and friends but we also care about our neighbors. We care about the other families in our units. We care about our entire Army family.
As a military spouse, these three qualities resonated with me because I find most military spouses embody them. With trust, commitment, and care comes a sense of community. As we scatter across the country and the world every few years, we achieve this sense of being and community by living these qualities day in and day out. We teach these qualities by our actions and words to our children and those around us. The importance of living the qualities of trust, care, and commitment lead to a full and fulfilling life.
If you don’t know much about Coach Fredenburg, he has coached at Baylor University, Louisiana State University, and Louisiana Tech. Coach Fredenburg started the football program at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in 1998 and continues to lead their football team. His trust, commitment, and care of his players, his coaches, and our community is inspiring.
Coach Fredenburg — thank you for sharing your stories. Thank you for your candor. And thank you for the reminder of the important things in life.
Reena O’Brien is a military spouse and a Herald correspondent. She lives on Fort Hood.