Sumter's Next Generation, presented by CCTC: Charles Pulcher embraces change, finds camaraderie in Sumter and Shaw community


Moving to a new place can be a daunting task for anyone, but for military children, it's a familiar facet of their upbringing - as is the case for Charles Pulcher, a 15-year-old freshman in high school.

His move from Fort Hood, Texas, to the Gamecock City of Sumter, South Carolina, was nothing new to him - and a welcomed chance to indulge in his interests on a new Air Force base. But in the two years the Pulcher family has lived in the city, he got a whole lot more than he bargained for.

"When I was told we were going to Sumter, I did not at all focus on the Sumter aspect. I solely focused on the Air Force base and nothing around it," Charles reflected. "When I got here, it was a bit more of a shock, not in a bad way in any way. It was a very different attitude."

Shaw is a much smaller base compared to Fort Hood, making it much easier for Charles and his family to embrace more community than in Texas.

"I get to meet more people here; I get to see more things here," he said. "That is definitely one of the perks of moving to Sumter, and the shock of it."

By seeing more things, Charles has been able to join and volunteer at several Sumter organizations, building up his own community of creatives at Sumter Little Theatre and military enthusiasts as a member of United States Air Force Auxiliary Civil Air Patrol. In his free time, he turns his sights to the sky, capturing images of aircraft that enter and exit Shaw.

Coming from a long lineage of servicemen - his father, Thomas, is stationed at U.S. Army Central Command in Sumter, and his grandfather served in the Air Force for decades - Charles hopes to one day follow in their footsteps, becoming a pilot for the United States Air Force.

"I enjoy aircraft, I enjoy tanks, I enjoy different aspects of the military," Charles shared. "I enjoy the camaraderie that comes with it."

With April celebrating military children across the world, Charles embraces the change that comes with being a military child - both its good and bad aspects, from getting up close to the brave men and women who serve to long stints without family and missing your friends from across the world. Though technology makes it easier to keep in touch now, Charles embraces expanding his horizons and finding new interests in a new, exciting place - and he has Sumter to thank.

To his fellow military children, he encourages them to prioritize school, as it ensures they will be prepared for what's ahead - in life and in terms of relocating. But when free time permits, get involved and figure out more about the community you're currently in. You may find out there's more to it than what meets the eye.