My guest columnist is Katherine Harris Szerdy, mother of Sgt. Katelyn Szerdy. Katherine recently had two of her children deployed at the same time. We thank God that both are safely home.
On July 10, families of 180 soldiers from the Ohio Army National Guard 112th Engineering Battalion welcomed home their loved ones after their 12-month deployment to Afghanistan. Unlike previous wars, today’s military is offering greater support to deployed men and women and their families.
The National Guard Joint Services Support, a relatively new organization within the National Guard, coordinates two post-deployment retreats as part of the “Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program,” whose mission is to provide family support during the entire deployment cycle.
Families join their soldiers at these retreats scheduled 30-days and 60-days after their return from theater. Free childcare is provided while spouses or parents attend breakout sessions on PTSD–what it looks like, stress management, relationships, finances, and veterans benefits. Both of the reintegration retreats for the 112th are held at Quail Hollow Resort in Concord, Ohio, and the National Guard picks up the entire tab, including meals.
“I was extremely impressed with the efforts of the NGJSS to offer these retreats for the families at no cost. I don’t know of any other branch of the military, which offers such support. I would really like to see some long-term studies done on these soldiers and their families to see if they actually have an easier time with reintegration than those military personnel who don’t get this benefit.”It seems that the National Guard is doing all they can to live up to the Joint Services Support motto: “Stronger Relationships Mean a Stronger National Guard.”
Thank you Sgt. Katelyn and the soldiers from the 112th Engineering Battalion for your service. Welcome home.