When you are deployed and your loved ones who are left behind need assistance, who can you turn to?
As the Charleston District’s Family Readiness Network coordinator, my role is to provide support to deployed personnel and their families through active involvement. In doing so, I ensure that deployees and their family members have a consistent point of contact to be there for them during deployment, and that they are being contacted regularly. I give both pre- and post-deployment briefs to make sure that the deployed personnel and family members are familiar with who I am and the role that I play during deployment. Through various channels, I ensure that deployee and family concerns are directly addressed, or that they are being referred to the appropriate resources.
During the year, I develop and release materials concerning deployee and family support. Each deployee and family member gets a copy of the Palmetto Castle to keep them up to date with what’s happening at home. I try to find ways to familiarize family members with the various Army community services and family support programs. A few examples of that are by including the family members in District events such as our annual Bridge Walk, and providing complimentary tickets to select Riverdogs baseball games. Each month, we are also sending boxes, cards or emails to deployed personnel and family members to let them know that they are always in our hearts and minds.
When a deployee returns to their home station after their deployment, I coordinate post-deployment celebrations and awards, which always seem to go over really well. It’s a time to honor the deployee’s service, but also time to thank those that remained behind to help fill in the gaps during their absence. This celebration is as much for the District as it is for the person returning from deployment.
I also attend briefings and video teleconferences with other FRN coordinators around our Corps division. In these meetings, the FRN coordinators from each District brief about their program, and share knowledge among the network. This is a helpful forum as we all benefit and get fresh ideas to execute from each other for our deployees and family members.
The Family Readiness Program is alive and well in the Charleston District. I continue to strive to fulfill the primary purpose of keeping deployees and family members informed by being a support system that emphasizes that you are not alone. I am very humbled and proud to serve as the District’s FRN coordinator and would like to thank each and every deployee and family member for their selfless service. What you do does not go un-noticed.