FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – As a military police unit prepares for an overseas deployment, the families they leave behind are preparing for a life without them.
Those preparations are made possible with the help of the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program, an organization of current and former military personnel that works with soldiers and their families through educational conferences. They focus on military benefits and where families can turn for help after a husband, wife son or daughter is deployed on an overseas mission.
At the Grand Wayne Center this week, members of the 384th Military Police Battalion are preparing for their third deployment since 2003.
Approximately 135 servicemen and women and 200 family members participated in classes surrounding healthcare, education and training opportunities, finances and legal benefits.
Among those in attendance today were Scott and Stephanie King, who have three children. Scott is preparing for his deployment while Stephanie and their 6-year-old twins and 14-year-old daughter prepare for a life without dad.
Stephanie says many of her questions revolved around the health benefits her family receives, but she also wanted to learn how everyday life could be made easier with the help of Yellow Ribbon.
“We had questions about the TriCare insurance. We had questions about who to call. Normally you'd call your husband when you have a question about things that just go on in daily life and they have a support system here that you've got multiple phone numbers and people that you can contact and get the information you need."
Scott says that while the focus of a solider on the battlefield is the mission at hand, a soldier never forgets about his or her family.
“While we're on our mission, we need to be concentrating on our mission as well as, you know, we're going to be thinking about our family as well but knowing that she's actually in good hands, knowing that there's good people to take care of her—it's a load off my shoulders.”
Dian Hager, a family support group leader with the 384th, says Yellow Ribbon also works with the reintegration process even before soldiers are deployed on their missions. She says the key to smooth transitions for families and soldiers both to and from the battlefield is communication.
As such, families will come together at Yellow Ribbon events twice before a soldier returns from action as they prepare to adjust back to a normal lifestyle. Following their return, soldiers will also participate in their own seminars.
Stephanie says her ability to communicate with the friends she made in Fort Wayne will go a long way in creating smooth transition for her family in Kentucky while Scott is overseas.
“We've got a few friends that we've met here and those wives and husbands would be good contacts while they're deployed. Just someone that you can talk to that's going through the same thing you are.”
From 2003-2004, the 384th served at Guantanamo Bay and from 2007-2008 they were deployed to Iraq. Details of their current deployment could not be released.
What are your thoughts CLICK HERE to leave us a "Your2Cents” comment.
© Copyright 2013 A Granite Broadcasting Station. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.