Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Guest Post

My friend Leta recently came home from Kosovo where she spearheaded a project to clean up the sewage in the town of Kllokot. Thanks to those of you who contributed (see sidebar) the children are well on their way to living much cleaner and healthier lives. She’s a terrific supporter of the Troops who obviously “walks the walk”, so when she asked me to post this, I was more than happy to oblige!

CivilWarrior recently had a post that included this…
I'm only going to say one other thing here this evening. I really, really miss my family, far more than I am able to write about; I simply don't have the words. Twenty years ago I lost a marriage to a year in Korea (and being VERY young, and not yet ready to be married), and now I am more than nine months into a tour in Kosovo with a very strong marriage anchoring me at home. My wife is the strongest influence and comfort in my life, and I could not do all of the things I do over here without her love and support; I can never, ever express adequately how grateful I am to her for all that she does. She is the best. My kids are pretty good too, but nowhere near as good looking.
...and it got me to thinking. Since I don’t have a blog site I’ll ask GunnNutt to post this for me.

Many of us are die hard supporters of our men and women in uniform as well we should be. But, it seems that all too often those family members and dear friends who are left behind by our military when deployed do get “lost in the shuffle”. So, I want to add a HUGE thank you to all of them for their strength, courage, support, patience, understanding and love that they provide at home while their husband, wife, father, mother, significant other, etc is serving “somewhere” in this world.

I was talking to a lady the other day whose husband is in the National Guard and was deployed to Iraq about 2 months ago. I called to ask how she was, if the Soldiers needed anything, etc. She said that she had the opportunity to speak to her husband recently and that none of the Soldiers were in need of anything at this time. Then she began to tell me about how her house had been struck by lightning – how all the appliances had been “fried”. How she had had to go out and buy replacements, file the insurance, have them delivered, set up, etc. Throughout this conversation she was eluding to the fact that she’d never had to “handle” situations like this alone before and that she would gladly (tongue in cheek) trade places with her husband because that experience had been very challenging and difficult for her to handle without him there as was normally the case. Now, this may seem like an insignificant situation to many of you but put yourself in her shoes. This is new ground for them. They have always shared the household burdens together and now, along with the children, her job and her husband’s absence it all falls on her shoulders.

The family and close friends of our men and women who are serving carry a HUGE burden. Often they are making ends meet on less money than they normally have coming in because the military pay is less than their usual paying jobs. The day to day challenges of life don’t stop whether it’s car problems, getting the lawn mowed, comforting and explaining to children who don’t understand why mommy or daddy doesn’t come home “from work” each day, homework, meals, housekeeping, bill paying, etc. Who do these “anchors” have to turn to themselves?

I’ve had the honor to meet both CivilWarrior and his wife on separate occasions and on separate continents. I met CivilWarrior on my 2 recent trips to Kosovo. He is one of the most amazing individuals I have EVER met in my life. He CARES. He cares about his family. He CARES about his country. He CARES about his student back home in California. He CARES about mankind period!!! He CARES about making any difference he can in anyone’s life in order to make it better and more worth living. I met his wife and youngest son while on a business trip to California. I was privileged to have dinner with them. I immediately saw why CivilWarrior is able to have the strength he does to be away and do what he does so well while leaving them behind. They were both very proud of him, very supportive of him, obviously love him very much. I felt AWFUL that I was having the opportunity to share a meal with them while CivilWarrior was in Kosovo and equally as AWFUL to know that I had seen him since they had

CivilWarrior and his family are not unique. There are thousands of military families around this nation who sacrifice on BOTH sides so that our men and women in uniform can do what they do so well. In my opinion we DO owe them more.

So, call your local National Guard Unit or Reserve Unit. Find out if they have personnel deployed. Find out if they have a Family Readiness Group or any support group. Get involved. Offer to help mow lawns, make minor repairs around the house, raise money for care packages or phone cards, help with insurance issues, assist with financial planning if needed, ANYTHING so that both the military personnel AND their families can have a bit of a break. You will be amazed at how wonderful it makes you feel as well as what a relief it is to the one in uniform and to their families and friends.