I had the opportunity to present my Key Note speech at a Yellow Ribbon event on April 9 for the 96th MPBN combined with the 321st MP DET CI Army Reserve families.
Yellow Ribbon events are broken down in a numbered series from 1- 7. Series 1-Starting Planning Phase of deployment through Series 7 – 90 days after returning from active duty.
This Yellow Ribbon event was addressing Series 3 and 4, present deployment with educating on how to help your solider on re reintegration. This one day event started at 8:00 am through 5:00pm . The Family Readiness coordinates these events for adults and the children. Each military family was given a prepared scheduled agenda, outlining sessions to attend that would help them with their current and future issues they were about to experience. I only wished I would have had this when I was caring for my granddaughters.
The Yellow Ribbon event included other community partners like ourselves, organizations providing assistance to the military families. These partners provided table top displays along with their information. For our table top display we brought a display board, our books -Deployed Grandparents being Parents and Deployed Kids and business cards . The display board, our daughter created when she returned from her deployment in Afghanistan in 2008. She created this for our family’s Welcome home party. Who would of thought at that time I would be using it for a Yellow Ribbon event for deployed families.
The picture you see is Major Johnson, surprisingly we learned he was deployed and stationed in Baghram the same time our daughter was there. He worked in the back of the building our daughter was working in. Small world! My husband and I enjoyed hearing what his deployment experiences were like.
The military families enjoyed seeing our display board and sharing their stories of their military loved one’s current deployment with my husband Alan and I. Alan and I shared our support and tried to give suggestions on how hope to cope with their present situation. Military mom’s always shed a tear or two with us when they explain how they are dealing with deployment. I reassured these moms, it’s OK to cry, your entitled we are the moms,we are all in this together, and we understand what you are going through.
Yellow Ribbon events are a way for everyone in the family to better understand what are the stages of deployment , how to handle those stages and most importantly- this event is for everyone in the family.
I worked with Jhoselyn Ramirez -CFLE Family Readiness Support Assistant. She provided me with complete instructions on my prior arrival, the day of the event and what I needed to provide. I found this event was so well organized, educational, and a big stress reliever for the families. Families shared with me how happy they were to learn how to handle their situation and now knowing where to get support.
I encourage if you are invited to attend your families Yellow Ribbon event you go!
President Obama has said” Military families are the force behind our Force.” And we are those families.
My next blog I will share with you a woman I met, a married grandmother. Her husband deployed last year, then just recently her single parent daughter deployed leaving her daughter’s children with her. She was a Deployed Wife and a Deployed Grandma at the same time!