Army Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Hoffhaus, a member of the South Carolina National Guard, shares his personal story of balancing military service and family.
Hoffhaus, a squad leader in Company A, 4-118th Combined Arms Battalion, 218th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, joined the National Guard in June 2005. He recently participated in annual training here. He reflected on his nearly 12 years of service with Company A, which includes deployments to Japan, Kuwait, Afghanistan and also support to the state during the 2015 flood and Hurricane Matthew in 2016.
Hoffhaus is married to Sgt. Cecilia Hoffhaus, another soldier in the South Carolina National Guard who is a member of the 151st Expeditionary Signal Battalion in Greenwood, South Carolina.
Throughout their time together, the couple learned to manage their civilian careers, their National Guard schedules, deployments and family time.
When they welcomed a baby girl into their lives in November 2016, the challenges continued for the family. Kennedy was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, a condition that occurs in less than 1,000 births in the United States each year.
Now the couple is working to balance their schedules as well as doctor’s appointments and surgeries for their young daughter who has already had two operations. Despite it all, they have remained committed and steadfast to the National Guard.
Hoffhaus said he has stayed in the National Guard for opportunities that include professional development. He also believes that being a soldier has made him a better civilian employee and a better person.
Personal Challenges, Military Support
Caring for a young infant with HLHS can be difficult for any parent, but serving away from family in the military can magnify the challenges. However, the couple discovered there is a bond with fellow soldiers in the National Guard that makes overcoming these challenges possible.
“We’ve received nothing but support from the National Guard, from the state chaplain all the way down to my platoon sergeant and everyone in between,” Hoffhaus said.
Hoffhaus said his company’s top kick, Army 1st Sgt. Eric Gallman, was very supportive.
“I couldn’t ask for anything more from the National Guard,” Hoffhaus said. “The support and encouragement have been amazing.”