Sherri and Joe Savino knew that their son Vincent toyed with the idea of joining the military. They didn’t, however, expect that their daughter Lisa was considering on joining, too.
Even more unexpected was that they broke the news to their parents on the same day within four hours, and neither sibling knew of the other’s plans.
“They must have thought we planned it out that way,” said Private 1st Class Vincent Savino, “But I was just as shocked as them to learn that my sister was joining the military as well.”
Sherri said, “Lisa was the first to leave. She had given me a ‘Build-A-Bear’ wearing military clothing as her going away gift to me.
“It had a little device with her voice recorded on the inside. I sat at the MEPS center holding on tightly to the bear, with tears running down my face. It was more than my daughter leaving; she had become my best friend, too.”
Shortly after, Vincent left, too. Vincent decided that the Marine Corps was a good fit for him while his sister joined the Air Force.
“My favorite part of being in a military family comes in two parts,” said Airman 1st Class Lisa Savino, 375th Communications Squadron. “One is the support and love I have from my family back home.”
The other, she said, is that her family has extended to include the brothers and sisters she serves with. She credits them and the support of her family for how far she has come. As for her parents, supporting their children, even while they serve, is still a priority.
“My parents are amazing supporters of the military now,” said Lisa. “They volunteer at countless military and related events to show support not just for my brother and I, but for all of our new military family members.”
Sherri has helped pay it forward to other families who see their loved ones go to basic training by volunteering with the Lansing Freedom Center.
There, she has helped with fundraisers, spaghetti dinners, silent auction baskets, and care packages for deployed troops. Additionally, her parents have helped with Wreaths Across America, an organization that puts wreaths on every tombstone in the Great Lakes Military Memorial Gardens.
“Volunteering saved my life,” said Sherri.
“I was so depressed after the kids left, but throwing myself into volunteer work used up the excess time in my life and gave me something to look forward to ... a purpose.”
Despite the how close the family is, there is a healthy dose of competition between the siblings.
“Along with the Marine Corps comes many challenges that would never happen in the Air Force,” said Vincent. “As I talk about these issues with my sister there is one phrase that always comes out of her mouth: ‘Should have joined the Air Force.’”
One day, however, Vincent said he hopes to take advantage of the moment when he can look at his sister and say, “Should’ve joined the Marines.”