Soldier & Family Times
Volume 8 issue 12
SURVIVOR OUTREACH SERVICES ACS/SOS Hours Mon - Fri 8:00 am - 4:30 pm Holidays: CLOSED Be aware of closing due to inclement weather The AER Office will take the last walk-in at 3:00pm After hours Emergencies call the RED CROSS 877-272-7337 Inside this Issue: HOW To Do Christmas Deployment
Cont. from Pg. 1
AFTB on Line/Immigration & New Comers
AFTB/Financial 5 Readiness Classes/ (SHARP) What is Sexual Harassment (SHARP) Cont. from Pg.5
FAP/EFMP & FSSA
Ft. Hamilton Market /Tree Lighting & Children’s Christmas
SOS Info. Board (Poem) How grateful I would be just to have one more day
Advice for Surviving the Death of a Spouse or Partner at a young age
Cont. from Pg. 10
(NAVY) Gold Star Mothers, families to be Honored
Annual Worldwide Candle Lighting
Gold Star Widow of Green Beret Army Master SGT Finds Resilience
Cont. form Pg. 14
Names of our Fallen Heroes
How To Do Christmas Deployment Military .com
I was born holiday blessed. Yet the moment I married into the military, I became holiday cursed. My husband has deployed four times over Christmas, suffered travel orders every December, and always pulled the duty section that worked on Christmas Day. I would like to say I was always completely OK with this particular chain of events. Indeed, I was not. So I took notes from spouses who seemed like they knew what they were doing when it came to celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah or Kwanza or Winter Solstice alone. If you are going through your first or second or fifth holiday deployment, here are some of the things we hear from our Military.com readers that really help couples get through the holidays: Carry Kleenex During our first Christmas deployment, every time I thought of my husband on the ship alone at Christmas, I overflowed with tears. I couldn’t imagine anything more lonely. I was all of 22. So every time I saw something that reminded me of Christmas, I imagined my darling and burst into tears (which is why I think certain people should not be married at 22 … just sayin’.) Other people did not understand this. Other people never really understand what it feels like to have your loved one deployed over the holidays. Our readers say that a Deployment Christmas happens to you alone -- even if you live in a town populated by other deploying military families. No one can help you with this more than you can help yourself. So carry your own Kleenex and keep moving forward. Drink Of The Milk of Human Kindness During a holiday deployment, you will be surrounded by opportunities to enjoy the holidays with other people. School concerts, holiday pageants, parties at work and volunteer opportunities will happen just like they do when your service member is at home. Don’t avoid the kindness of other people just because you are alone. Decide you will attend everything you are invited to for at least one hour. Then you can go home if you want and drink of the milk called Egg Nog and Skype your darling.. Cool It On The Care Packages Depending on where your service member is stationed, they may not have space for a lot of stuff you send in a care package. Now is the time to talk about what your service member wants most -- which will be YOU. And a bunch of other stuff that cannot go in a care package. Hear that and know that this means you are not required to send them something that will make them so happy that they will not notice they are deployed on Dec. 25. That isn’t possible. Instead, take some of the pressure off and send the little things that say you care.
Cont. on Pg. 3
ACS Programs & Staff ACS Director Carmen Borrero 718-630-4457 Army Emergency Relief Madeline Pastorella John Mapes 718-630-4754 Deployment/ Mobilization Relocation Readiness Madeline Pastorella 718-630-4462 Survivor Outreach Services Jacqueline Prince 718-630-4467/4754
Family Advocacy Exceptional Family Member Program Victim Advocacy (Vacant) (718-630-4754) Sexual Harassment, Assault & Response Prevention (SHARP) (Vacant) 718-630-4520 Sexual Assault 24/7 Helpline 347-452-4302 DoD Safe Helpline 24/7 877-995-5247
Army Volunteer Corps Employment Readiness Financial Readiness John Mapes 718-630-4498 Army Family Team Building Army Family Action Plan (Vacant) Front Desk/ Information & Referral Loan Closet
We are located in BLDG 137-C Poly Place Suite-1A, Brooklyn, NY 11252 Across the MEPS Station parking lot. Tall white BLDG. to the left side of the PX/Exchange. You cant miss it!
directors corner “ Diversity is not about how we differ.
Diversity is about embracing one another's uniqueness." – Ola Joseph Carmen Borrero Page 2
Related: The Ho-Ho-Ho Holiday Care Package Guide The Care Package Post Office Survival Guide Care Package Ideas Gather Your Team Ask yourself where you will feel happiest on the big day -- at home? With family? With friends? Then go there. When my kids were age 8 and 4, I wanted them to have Santa surrounded by lots of people who loved them. So I packed everything and went to my parents' house even though my neighbors thought I was crazy to take on the trip. My brothers spontaneously decided we would have an all-day Monopoly tournament Christmas Day, which really distracted me from the fact my husband was gone. Yay for awesome brothers! Do It For The Kids During my husband’s last deployment Christmas, I wished Christmas would just not come that year. I wished we could skip it. Instead, I had an eight-year-old who gave me the countdown to Christmas every single day. His sister wanted to bake a bunch of cookies. Their brother wanted to make out with his girlfriend in front of the Christmas tree. Creating holiday memories for our kids was the motivation I needed most. My husband eagerly read the emails with all our holiday details and our kids remember those Deployed Christmases just as happily. Totally worth it. Employ Whackadoo Holiday Traditions One of the things about being a military family at the holidays is that you often have to improvise. You can’t go to the same holiday service at your childhood church because you live 1,200 miles away from your childhood church. You can’t go to the same light show or concert you saw last year because you don’t live anywhere near where you lived last year. One important thing grown military brats say that made the difference was all the silly holiday traditions their parents carried from house to house. At our house, we wear these silky robes my sailor brought home from Okinawa one year. Our managing editor’s family looks for a local greasy spoon for pancakes on Christmas Eve wherever they are stationed. One of our bloggers relies on new pajamas and yet another showing of the Griswold's to make it through the day. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat until a tradition is made. Plan Your Endgame Sometimes during a holiday deployment you are having a good time. Sometimes you have just had enough holiday fun. Sometimes you get tired of trying to make everyone feel better about your holiday situation. Sometimes all this happens within the course of a single hour. Cheryl Gansner, one of our SpouseBuzz bloggers, says that the most positive thing you can do for yourself is to set a boundary for when it is OK to leave the festivities. Telling people you are going to head up to the shower (and then sneaking off to bed) is usually socially acceptable. Keeping up appearances does not have to last 24/7. Talk To Your Service Member Our Military.com readers report that when they were deployed over the holiday, the command went all out to provide a nice meal and holiday cheer. Still, it was just another day, which meant they could sometimes be short on the phone. Or a little irritable. Or hungry for every single detail of home. Be open to whatever spirit your service member brings to the phone or Skype or email that day. You are “home” to them and this is a great day to celebrate that. It Is Only One Day Our readers say that the loneliest moment in military life is when you deliver a baby on your own. The only thing that is lonelier is Christmas Day on your own. The last time we did a deployment holiday, I invited our usual houseful of guests -- our kids, the boyfriends and girlfriends, our friends the Petersons, the Petersons' visiting mother-in-law. I had them all. I talked to my husband twice that day. Everything was beautiful. The food was perfect ... and I found myself lingering in hall- ways, as if I could slip around unnoticed, uninvolved. I secretly wanted the holiday to be over and I didn’t want anyone else to know about it. I wanted to get to my bed and call Brad and have him tell me that I had done a good job. That he was proud of me. That we would be together next year. Your Turn Next Year December holidays roll around every year without fail. This time next year your service member will most likely be home. The cookies will taste a little crisper. Your tree will shine a little brighter. Your holiday hugs will be a little warmer. Use this holiday apart to bring your family closer than ever.
AFTB Online! “Military Life...What does it mean? Logon @ myarmyonesource.com and click the “online learning” tab in the upper right hand corner or call ACS @ 718-630-4754 for more information. Army Family Team Building (AFTB) Classes are open to all Service Members, their families and DoD Civilians
Mission Army Family Team Building empowers individuals, maximizing their personal growth and professional development through specialized training, transforming our community into a resilient and strong foundation meeting today’s military mission. AFTB Instructor Training Interested in helping Family Members learn the skills they need to cope with Army life?
Service provided to Active Duty Service Members, DOD Civilians, Retirees and their Dependents. Please be advise that Dependents Are those who are enrolled in DEERS! To schedule an appointment call: (718) 630-4462 Free USCIS DVD and CD’s available upon request Due to the High Demand of this Service, Appointment is REQUIRED!!!
What is the Army Family Action Plan? Have you ever thought, "If the Army would just ask me how to fix this I could tell them?!" The AFAP Program gives you the chance to do just that! AFAP boxes are located in the following areas. Submit your issues in one of theses locations: ACS, USO, BBC Housing Office, Visitor Control Center, Barber Shop, Child Development Center, Youth Services, I.D. Office and Bowling Center or by the Website below.
The Army Family Action Plan (AFAP) is one of the Army's principle programs put in place to ensure that standards of living in the Army keep pace with changing times. AFAP gives Soldiers (Active Duty, National Guard and Reserve), Retirees, DA civilians, and their Training is conducted at the Army Community Families the opportunity to let Army leadership know what is Services Center (ACS) in West Point NY. working and what isn’t and their ideas about what will fix it. For more information contact West Point ACS at: Go to: www.myarmyonesource.com 845-938-4621 or 633 -7084 Click on the Family Programs and Services tab. Click on the Army Family Action Plan and Issue Management System tab.
Become a Certified Army Family Team Building Instructor.
Financial Readiness Program
Financial Education Classes Offered to Service Members and their Families
8 December 2016 — Savings and Investments 17 November 2016 — Planning and Budgeting All classes start 11:00 am to 12:00 pm in the ACS Conference Room, Building 137– C Poly Place
To schedule an appointment: Call: John Mapes at 718-630-4754/4498 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Employment Readiness Program Employment Readiness Classes offered to Service Members and Families.
Upcoming Class: 15 December 2016 - Federal Employment & Resumes Class starts at 11:00 am (1 hr. class) in the ACS Conference Room, Building 137C.
To schedule appointment: Call: 718-630-4754 or e-mail email@example.com
What is Sexual Harassment? How Teens Can Recognize and Deal With Sexual Harassment. By Eric Metcalf, MPH WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Hansa D. Bhargava, MD
A new girl starts at a high school and soon begins dating a guy. They break up. Other students start calling her names and spreading sex-related rumors about her. Even though her teachers know what's going on, they ignore it. This isn't just bullying. It's sexual harassment. And if this happens to you, you shouldn't put up with it. Here's what you need to know about sexual harassment, and how to deal with it. What Does Sexual Harassment Look Like? Sexual harassment comes in many forms, says Susan Fineran, PhD. She's a professor at the University of Southern Maine who studies this problem. Sexual harassment includes:
Name calling. Insults related to a person's sexuality are a form of sexual harassment. This includes calling someone a "slut," "gay," or a "fag," Fineran says. It doesn't matter who's saying it, or whether the person being harassed is gay or straight, male or female. What matters is that you're using those words to insult them -- that makes it harassment. Unwanted touching. If someone touches a gir l' s br easts and she' s not OK with it, it' s har assment. If someone grabs or hits a guy in the genitals -- even as a prank -- that's harassment, too. Unwanted behaviors. This includes someone asking you on a date or pressuring you for sex repeatedly after you've said no. If someone stalks you, gets in your personal space, or acts threateningly, that may be a form of sexual harassment, too. Pressure from authority figures. Harassment doesn't just come from other teens. Adults may sexually harass you, too. If a teacher offers to give you a better grade -- or a boss offers a better work shift -- in exchange for sex or some kind of physical favor, that's harassment. It's still "absolutely" harassment if a teacher is just looking or making comments "in a sexual way that makes the student uncomfortable," says Melissa Holt, PhD, an assistant professor at Boston University. Page 5 Cont. on Pg. 6
Hassling. If a classr oom is mostly made up of guys who star t picking on one of the few gir ls dur ing class and making her life uncomfortable, that could be termed sexual harassment, Fineran says.
Harassment often takes place in person. But it happens online too -- like if someone emails or texts photos of you in which you're not dressed or you're in a sexual situation, Holt says. Take Action to Protect Yourself If you feel like you're being sexually harassed at school, here's the first step to making it stop: Call it sexual harassment, not bullying, Fineran says. The government has clearly told schools that they are responsible for stopping sexual harassment at school, she says. You could file a federal lawsuit if a school doesn't do its job to protect you from sexual harassment. That's a very big deal. So your school may take your concern more seriously if you call it sexual harassment. And remember, the law protects you so that no one can retaliate or take revenge for you reporting him or her. You can take these other steps to confront sexual harassment at school, Fineran says:
Speak up. Tell your harasser to stop. Say that the words or actions are making you uncomfortable. Keep a record. Take note of who harassed you, what the person said or did, and how you responded. Write down when and where it happened. Keep any harassing emails, texts, or online postings, too. Tell a parent or trusted adult. Sometimes it's hard to know whether events cross the line from teasing to sexual harassment. Talking to an adult can help you figure out what's happening and how to deal with it. If a boss starts scheduling you for early in the morning or late at night so the two of you are working alone, an adult in your life should know. Report it. Tell a teacher, staff member, or your school principal. Share your records of what has happened. If the people at your school aren't helpful, then tell the school's superintendent. Your parents can help with this. Go legal. If you don' t get r elief, consider whether a lawsuit is necessar y. Again, your par ents should be involved in this. Tell your boss. If your boss is the problem, then tell his or her boss. Businesses can be sued for sexual harassment, too, and many will take action if they're concerned about a lawsuit. If you are afraid to do this alone, get your parents or another trusted adult involved. Consider quitting if you feel unsafe.
How You Can Avoid Being the Harasser If you're checking someone out, joking with your friends, or being persistent in asking for a date, is that harassment? It may sometimes seem tricky to tell. Here are some pointers:
Remember where you are. Jokes or comments that you could make with your close buddies may not be OK with someone you don't know as well, Holt says. Don't label people. Never call anyone a "slut," and never use "gay" as an insult. Hands off. Don't touch people -- especially in a personal or sexual manner -- unless they have told you it's OK to do so. Be respectful. If someone asks you to stop doing something that' s bother ing them, stop immediately. It doesn't matter if it's someone you're dating or someone you don't know -- if they say "stop," stop. Don't spread rumors. Respectfulness also means not spreading rumors. Don't share personal details or sexy photos that would embarrass someone. Watch for signals. If someone seems uncomfortable or afraid when you're trying to start a conversation or ask for a date, stop.
FAMILY ADVOCACY PROGRAM (FAP) If you are a Victim of Domestic Violence/Intimate Partner Abuse or want to report an incident of Domestic Violence/or Partner Abuse Please call: 718-630-4242 For Help!
*Important Information* Exceptional Family Member Program EFMP is a mandatory enrolled program that works with agencies to provide medical, educational, housing, community support and personnel services to: Families with Special Needs
EFMP is designated to include all eligi- ble family members, children, spouses, and dependent relatives requiring on- going medical treatment or special edu- cational services
EFMP Identification Criteria: Family Members that have a potentially life threatening condition/chronic medical condition or physical disability . For Example: Family Member has asthma or Reactive Airway Disease. Family Member has had chronic/multiple episodes of out patient or in-patient mental health treatment in the past 5 years. Special Education services as indicated by an IEP.
Family Subsistence Supplemental Allowance (FSSA) Summary Family Subsistence Supplemental Allowance (FSSA) program is a voluntary financial benefits program for military families intended to increase a service member's income in order to remove their household from eligibility for Supplemental Nutrition Allowance Program (SNAP) benefits (formerly the food stamp program). The purpose of this package is to inform and assist Senior Enlisted on the FSSA program. Official policy is contained in Section 402a of title 37, U.S. Code and DoD Instruction 1341.11, Family Subsistence Sup- plemental Allowance (FSSA) Program. The FSSA website (https://www.dmdc.osd.mil/fssa/) is only accessible to Active Duty Service Members, National Guard, and Reserve component members on Active Duty status. FSSA instr uctions, policy, and guidance for eligibility can be found on the Resources Tab on the website. Eligibility is based on the income for all members of the household and the number of people living in the household. T he following table indicates the income limit for a given number of persons in a household. (For example, if you have 5 people living in your household then you must have income below $2,987 per month (when living in the 48 states to be eligible.) Certain entitlements and income may be excluded when calculating total income;; therefore Service members should be encouraged to use the FSSA website to determine eligibility.
For EFMP Enrollment and Support please contact West Point @ 845-938-6881
.sos information board
How Grateful I Would Be To Have Just One More Day If I could have just one more day and wishes did come true, I'd spend every glorious moment side by side with you. Recalling all the years we shared and memories we made, how grateful I would be to have just one more day.
Where the tears I've shed are not in vain and only fall in bliss, so many things I'd let you know about the days you've missed. I wouldn't have to make pretend you never went away, how grateful I would be to have just one more day. When that day came to a close and the sun began to set, a million times I'd let you know I never will forget. The heart of gold you left behind when you entered Heaven's gate, how grateful I would be to have just one more day. By: Kathy J Parenteau
Advice for Surviving the Death of a Spouse or Partner at a Young Age Becoming a young widow is an experience that completely turns your life upside down. Everything that once made sense, no longer does. The pain feels unbearable, and you are suddenly thrust into unfamiliar territory. Even if your spouse died from an illness, and you knew that death was near, you are never mentally or emotionally ready for this type of life-transforming loss. Aside from the grief, being a young widow can add an extra level of complication to the healing process. It can be very isolating to be a woman in today’s society, who has lost her spouse before the age of 60. People don’t know what to say, how to approach you, and you may feel like you don’t fit in anywhere. To move through the grief process in a healthy way, it is important to know that you are not alone. There are practical tools that can help you nurture yourself, honor your loss, and bring you comfort and strength. By making use of these tools, you can once again learn to live whole-heartedly, find new passions or reclaim existing ones, and rejoin your community with strength and purpose.
Talk about your loss
Find a support system
Practice self-care Grieve at your own pace
Isolate yourself Try to “get over” it Deny your grief Expect others to know what you need Be too hard one yourself
Do talk about your loss It is incredibly therapeutic to talk about what you have just experienced. Losing your spouse is very traumatic, and it can take years to process your feelings and emotions surrounding the story of your loss. It can bring you great comfort to talk about your loved one and most importantly, “remember” who they were and what they brought into your life. You may find that certain stories bring you great joy to share. This is a huge step towards healing. Make sure that you talk with someone who will compassionately support you. Seeing a professional counselor or coach, in addition to speaking with close family and friends who you trust, can be extremely helpful.
Do find a support system Being a young widow can be very isolating. You may feel like you are the only one going through this type of loss. Our society is not properly equipped to handle the grieving process, and you may feel awkward in social situations, especially if many of your friends and family members have significant others and can’t relate to your experience. It is important to find a support group specifically for young widows. You can find support groups online, such as www.SoulWidows.org, www.sslf.org and www.theWiddahood.com. These websites have a variety of resources and will help you find a group that meets near you. In-person groups are very effective and will offer you a strong sense of community and belonging. Even if you are nervous about attending a group, try at least one or two meetings so that you know if the experience will be a good fit for you. You will quickly learn that you are not alone.
Do practice self-care When you are grieving, it is so easy to let go of your health. Grieving can cause aches and pains in the body and make it difficult to eat properly and stay hydrated. You may find yourself gravitating towards unhealthy habits. Grief can make you feel like you have a perpetual flu. It is important to nurture your body with activities, such as taking a bath with aromatherapy salts, getting a massage or doing self-massage, drinking lots of water, taking a walk, gentle exercise such as yoga, cooking healthy meals or having someone prepare them for you. When you take care of yourself physically, this also will affect your mental and emotional state. If you are having difficulty getting out of bed, ask a close friend or family member to help you in accomplishing these acts of self-care. You deserve it.
Do grieve at your own pace In today’s society, we are all about rushing and getting things accomplished as quickly as possible. However, grief is the opposite. Moving through the grief and healing process takes time. There is no specific start and end date. You must allow yourself time to process and work through your feelings. Page 10 Cont. On Pg. 11
Other people around you may not understand the pace at which you are moving, but remember this is your loss. Your life has been altered in every way, and you have the right to take things one step at a time. So, don’t be afraid to tell the person who doesn’t understand why you aren’t feeling better after three months, that you are still coping with your loss, and that all you need is their ongoing support and respect. Even though they may not understand, it is vital to give yourself the time and space to move through it in a way that feels right to you.
Do not isolate yourself If you cut yourself off from the world, you will most likely end up sinking into depression and despair. You will need some personal time to process what you’re going through, but don’t become a hermit and never see the light of day. If you do this, you will end up getting stuck in your grief and feel even worse about your situation. Community and compassionate support are necessary to help you move forward and heal. The more you withdraw from life and living, the harder it will be to get out of bed and find the motivation and strength to discover hope and healing.
Do not try to “get over” it
When you lose a loved one, you never actually get over it. If you have ever heard this, it is a myth. While it is possible to move through grief and progress forward with your life, getting over a loss suggests that you will never again feel sadness or longing for your spouse or that it will never impact you again. Do not pressure yourself into believing that you should eventually get to a point where you are over it, and you can simply move on and put it behind you. This is unrealistic, and you will end up wondering what is wrong with you and why you are not “over this” yet. You will always carry the love you had for your spouse in your heart and nothing or nobody can take that away. Give yourself permission to move forward, but don’t worry about getting over it. It is a loss that has changed you forever, and it can transform you in incredible ways if you allow it to.
Do not deny your grief Grieving is a messy and complex process. There is nothing neat and tidy about it. You will experience a rollercoaster of emotions. Some days, you will feel like you are taking two steps forward, and other days, you will feel like you are taking ten steps backwards. But whatever you do, don’t try to stuff the grief away and ignore it. Listen to what you are feeling and allow it to guide you on what you are needing. If you feel like you are putting on a face for other people to protect them from your true feelings, you are often doing a disservice to both yourself and them. Be honest with yourself and what you are feeling--and go from there. Grieving is normal and healthy. It is a part of loss, and it should be recognized, witnessed and honored. By listening to your emotions, you will give yourself the opportunity to grow and expand in new ways. It is a time to get to know yourself on a deeper level, and you may discover that you uncover new wisdom in the process. Perhaps this will be wisdom that you can pass on to others someday.
Do not expect others to know what you need It is important to speak up about your needs while you are grieving the loss of your spouse. Many of the people around you might think they know what you need or want, but they may end up angering you in the process of trying to help. Don’t be afraid to be straightforward with them, even when it comes to what they should or should not say. This can save you many headaches. Unless they also have lost a spouse or partner, they will not be able to fully understand what you are feeling or going through. They may feel lost and unsure of what to do. It can help to give them some direction or simply ask them to sit and listen if they don’t know what to say. You may lose some friendships in the process, but also gain new relationships with people who can truly sit with you and support you in your grief.
Do not be too hard on yourself Grieving the loss of your spouse can make you realize how little control you have in the world. No matter how much you may have willed them to stay alive or wanted to protect them, you ultimately did not get to decide. There can be many feelings of guilt, anger, shame and blame that can arise as a result. You may find yourself thinking: “If only I had done this differently,” “If I could have been there sooner, “I should have known...” and the list goes on. It is important to accept and recognize your humanity. You are only capable of so much, and you can only do your best in any situation. Holding on to guilt or shame will not change the situation or result in anything positive. Remind yourself of the things that you do have control over and that nobody can take away, such as the love that you shared with your spouse, the ways that you can continue to love and honor them or the things that you can do now to make a difference. Page 11
Gold Star Mothers, Families to be Honored By Stephanie Hunter, Special to Navy Installations Command Public Affairs
WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Throughout history, bells have been used to announce a death or to express the gravity of an individual's passing. They are struck to communicate the depth of sorrow and the extent of loss. On Sept. 22, in association with Gold Star Mother's and Family's Day, Navy installations across the continental U.S. will participate in Bells Across America for Fallen Service Members where the names of the fallen will be read and a bell will toll to honor and remember them. The Navy is proud to recognize the sacrifices of our fallen service members and the Gold Star families left behind through these coordinated ceremonies. "It's amazing to see how our installations are coming together to remember our fallen," said Lisa Bauch, Navy Gold Star Program analyst. "Many of our Navy bases from coast to coast are taking the time to pay tribute to these heroes and their families." Since 1936, the last Sunday in September has been designated as Gold Star Mother's Day to recognize and honor those who have lost a child while serving the country in the United States Armed Forces. In 2009, fallen service members' families were officially recognized and added by presidential proclamation, renaming the observance to Gold Star Mother's and Family's Day. Each year the president signs a proclamation reaffirming our commitment to honor the individuals "who carry forward the memories of those willing to lay down their lives for the United States and the liberties for which we stand." On Sept. 25, we pay tribute to those mothers and families who have sacrificed so much. "The amount of heartfelt camaraderie at not only these events, but all Gold Star events, is inspiring and overwhelming," said Mike Bruner, Navy Gold Star Program manager. "The Navy Gold Star Program is both honored and proud to be able to continue to provide enduring support to survivors." The Navy is committed to helping foster resiliency for families of fallen service members, regardless of how they died. The Navy Gold Star Program honors Gold Star families throughout the year by hosting events which pay tribute to their lost loved ones, providing resources and opportunities to connect with one another.
For more information on the Navy Gold Star Program or the location of Bells Across America for Fallen Ser- vice Members in your area, please visit http://www.facebook.com/navygoldstar/ or http://www.navygoldstar.com/ or call 1-888-509-8759. Stephanie Hunter is a Program Analyst for the Navy Gold Star Program. For more information, visit http://www.navy.mil, http://www.facebook.com/usnavy, or http://www.twitter.com/usnavy. For more news from Commander, Navy Installations Command, visit http://www.navy.mil/local/cni/.
Annual Worldwide Candle Lighting December 11, 2016
The Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting unites family and friends around the globe in lighting candles for one hour to honor the memories of the sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, and grandchildren who left too soon. As candles are lit at 7:00 p.m. local time, hundreds of thousands of persons commemorate and honor the memory of all children gone too soon. Now believed to be the largest mass candle lighting on the globe, the 20th annual Worldwide Candle Lighting, a gift to the bereavement community from The Compassionate Friends, creates a virtual 24-hour wave of light as it moves from time zone to time zone. TCF’s WWCL started in the United States in 1997 as a small internet observance, but has since swelled in numbers as word has spread throughout the world of the remembrance. Hundreds of formal candle lighting events are held and thousands of informal candle lightings are conducted in homes as families gather in quiet remem- brance of children who have died, but will never be forgotten. The Compassionate Friends and allied organizations are joined by local bereavement groups, churches, funeral homes, hospitals, hospices, children’s gardens, schools, cemeteries, and community centers. Services have ranged in size from just a few people to nearly a thousand. Every year you are invited to post a message in the Remembrance Book which will be available, during the event, at TCF’s national website. If no Worldwide Candle Lighting service was held near you last year, please feel free to plan one open to the public this year or next year. You are welcome to use TCF’s “Suggestions to Help Plan a Memorial Service in Conjunction with The Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting©” to help in planning the service. All allied bereavement or- ganizations, churches, funeral homes, hospices, and formal and informal bereavement groups are invited to join in the remembrance. When you confirm plans for your candle lighting, please return to this site and submit the event infor- mation form so TCF can list your service with the many hundreds held in the United States and around the world. The Worldwide Candle Lighting gives bereaved families everywhere the opportunity to remember their child(ren) so that their lights may always shine!
GOLD STAR WIDOW OF GREEN BERET ARMY MASTER SGT FINDS RESILENCE
By Tricia Simmons, Spartan Guest Writer Obstacles in life can rock you to your very core, and we all need someone or something to carry us through. My husband and my hero, Green Beret Army Master Sgt. Shawn E. Simmons, laid down his life in 2008 during Operation Enduring Freedom. My world, and my family’s world, were shattered. As a result, I was forced to raise my family without the man who could fix any broken appliance, always make me laugh and be the unshakable pillar of a father my children could lean on. We Americans truly revere our Special Forces personnel as leaders and supermen, and my husband was such a leader, with numerous awards and decorations to show for it. With the loss of such an exceptional warrior, our country suffered greatly;; however, for my family and me, it wasn’t just a warrior we lost. We lost a baseball coach, sage oracle of advice, and constant source of support that we ached for. Like any grieving parent, I knew that to get my family through this grief journey I needed to find a shared community that would walk with, and sometimes carry, me on my post loss journey – and that led me to Special Ops Survivors. WHAT IS SPECIAL OPS SURVIVORS? Special Ops Survivors suppor ts the spouses of Special Ops Per sonnel who wer e killed in tr aining or in service since 1980. With them I found comfort, resilience and a reminder that I could once again find joy and laughter in my life without having to let go of what my husband and I shared. In SOS, I received support and guidance from other surviving spouses who have been right where I was standing, and, after some time, where I could mentor newer survivors who stood where I was. Grief is painful, but at SOS we all share it and endure the journey together.
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A SECOND BLOW Without warning, my life was shattered again. My only daughter lost her life just as quickly and senselessly as her father lost his. How could my surviving son and I survive this latest blow? We found an answer again in Special Ops Survivors. Special Ops Survivors has become more than an organization to me;; they are my family. I am a woman of faith, and I know that God has given me the strength I needed to pick myself up and continue the journey, just as I know that He gave me the courage to lean hard on my network of survivors and seek peace in a tumultuous world. I also knew that my son needed me, and I could not abandon him in my grief. LOOKING FORWARD, LOOKING UP It has been a long and difficult journey, but today I am proud to say that my son has grown up to be a dedicated college student, a proud American, and a shining example of his father’s dedication, kindness, and wisdom. When I think about the strength and endurance it takes to do a Spartan Race, I can’t help but see the same kind of struggle in my own daily journey following the loss of my husband and my daughter. In life, you jump over obstacles, fight against pain, and stay the course battling next to one another. Sometimes it is being shoulder to shoulder with another battle-worn warrior that pushes you past the point of submission. Sometimes it is the internal fortitude that simply won’t allow you to quit. But I hope it is the knowledge that you are a part of a group that will carry you toward your goal when it feels like you can’t endure one more moment of pain, one more obstacle that demands super- human strength, and that all hope is lost. When you hit your next obstacle—whether it be at a Spartan event or in your daily life—I hope you remember that sometimes you’re the one getting carried, and sometimes you’re the one carrying another who needs it most. That, friends, is true strength and endurance. To the Spartan athletes participating in the race at Fenway Park in November, I am excited to say that I will be there to cheer you all on. I invite you to join TEAM Special Ops Survivors as they compete to honor the bravery and sacrifice of Special Operations surviving spouses. My son Justin intends to runs his first Spartan race in honor of his father, Shawn. — Tricia Simmons, Surviving Spouse of MSG Shawn Simmons – USA, 7 SFG(A) As the Fort Hamilton SOS Coordinator I , Jacqueline Prince was invited to attend the Spartan Race. This race was very dear to me heart because the Simmons are my Family. MSGT Shaun Simmons and Erin will always be Remembered. Much Love………NEVER FORGOTTEN……….
Air Force Staff Sgt. Louis M. Bonacasa December 21, 2015 Air Force Technical Sgt. Joseph G. Lemm December 21, 2015 Army Sgt. 1st Class Ramon S. Morris December 12, 2014 Army Sgt. 1st Class Kevin E. Lipari December 14, 2012 Army Staff Sgt. Nicholas J. Reid December 13, 2012 Marine Lance Cpl. Anthony J. Denier December 2, 2012 Marine Sgt. Nicholas J. Aleman December 5, 2010 Army Spc. Jason M. Johnston December 26, 2009 Army Sgt. Jason C. Denfrund December 25, 2006 Army Pfc. Travis C. Krege December 6, 2006 Army Sgt. Yevgeniy Ryndych December 6, 2006
Army Spc. Kenneth W. Haines December 3, 2006 Army Spc. Lance S. Sage December 27, 2005 Army Staff Sgt. Julian S. Melo December 21, 2004 Army Spc. Victor A. Martinez December 14, 2004 Army Cpl. Joseph O. Behnke December 4, 2004 Army Sgt. Cari Anne Gasiewicz December 4, 2004 Army Staff Sgt. Henry E. Irizarry December 3, 2004 Army Spc. David M. Fisher December 1, 2004 Army Pfc. Charles E. Bush Jr. December 19, 2003 Army Sgt. Steven Checo December 20, 2002 Navy Electricianâ€™s Mate Fireman Apprentice Michael J. Jakes Jr. December 4, 2001
DISCLAIMER: These names are those that were (KIA) Killed in Action.
Names were retrieved from the Military Times (Honor The Fallen) Page 16