Families Prepped for Deployment
By Lt. Col. Randy Parlett , 139th Airlift Wing
/ Published April 27, 2009
4 April, 2009 -- "Unless you tell me you have problems going on, we may not know," said 139th Family Program Coordinator Jane Lackey. "Don't ever feel like you have to keep to yourself or you'll be a burden or you don't want to say anything. We'll have monthly activities where we can find solutions." Lackey and her volunteers presented the first of several 2009 monthly family support meetings on March 12. At least three dozen spouses and family members attended the evening meeting at Rosecrans.
The Family Program offers both pre and post mobilization family assistance support. Last year the program served 1,085 families from the Air and Army Guard, Reserve, and active duty rosters. Program volunteers solved financial issues including tuition, medical benefits, military pay questions, and creditors and bankruptcy questions. They provided counseling sources (see separate story) for child custody, separation problems, and family issues. Legal sources were offered for litigation, powers of attorney, wills, and evictions. Marriage enrichment programs helped 50 couples and more than 500 families attended the 2008 Family Day at Rosecrans.
"We've learned a lot over the course of the last five, ten, or 15 years on family support," said 139th Wing commander Col. Steve Cotter. "It's easy for us to get on an airplane and go overseas because the military takes really good care of its members. When our men and women get on an airplane and go overseas everything is taken care of. The real work is at home. There are two givens in every deployment - the member will be missed by his or her family, and that'll work both ways and the family will have problems. We do everything we can here to take care of the member's family - that's our obligation. You make one phone call and you get help."
For the first time in more than 30 years members of the 139th could be deployed for up to a year. The extended time - common for Army Guard units - places an extra burden on unit members. "We've done things I didn't think were possible," added Cotter. "We've found volunteers and resources to do everything from fix a broken water pipe, mow a yard, or help with upset kids. There will be problems and I don't care if it's a 30-day deployment or a 300-day deployment. One call gets it all."
"It's a physical battle and it's a spiritual battle," said 139th Chaplain Capt. Andrew Forester. "We want to commend you for being here and commend you for the service you're doing. The task we have is not just what your job is or where you're going. It's a just cause. Chaplains offer resources including a June 6 seminar by Chaplain Maj. Andre D'Arden. The seminar is "Laughing Your Way to a Better Marriage" and will be held from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Rosecrans. Registration is due May 3 and the cost is FREE."
Family members were also briefed by three officials from Military One Source, a federally funded resource for military members, spouses, and families. Families are eligible for six free counseling sessions, free tax preparation services, and a host of pre and post deployment services. The number to call is 1-800-342-9647 or militaryonesource.com. The Rosecrans Family Support number is 816-236-3511.