Yellow Ribbon event informs families how to ease the strain of a deployment

Story and photos by Sgt. Alexa Becerra, 2/138th Public Affairs

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Soldiers and families of the 2/138th Fires Brigade receive information from various resources available to them during a Yellow Ribbon Program event at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky., July 14, 2012. (Kentucky National Guard photo by Sgt. Alexa Becerra)

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Being deployed is never easy on a Soldier. Most married Soldiers will tell you it’s harder on the spouses than it is on them.  Spouses don’t disagree either.

However, there is a way to help with the stress of a deployed love one — the Yellow Ribbon Program.

Soldiers and their families had the opportunity to attend a pre-mobilization Yellow Ribbon event in July at Keeneland in support of the 2nd Battalion, 138th Regiment’s deployment scheduled for later this year.

This event provided Soldiers and their families with information on the resources and training available to them during the deployment such as financial readiness, medical insurance and counseling.

“This event is basically a pre-mobilization briefing for the families,” said Joan Kivior, Family Assistance Specialist for the Kentucky National Guard Family Programs, and retired Army 1st Sgt. “Soldiers are briefed during their SRP’s (Soldier Readiness Program) and in all their briefings they get before they go. This gives the families the opportunity to get the same information and resources and also the opportunity for them to ask their questions.”

“The Yellow Ribbon event also gave families the opportunity to feel more a part of the deployment phase, more connected and informed about the deployment process,” Kivior said.

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A volunteer from the Ladies Auxiliary Post 4075 in Frankfort, Ky., spends time with the children of Soldiers who attended a Yellow Ribbon Program event at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky., July 14, 2012. (Kentucky National Guard photo by Sgt. Alexa Becerra)

During the event, activities were available for the children of Soldiers and family members attending the event. Volunteers from the Ladies Auxiliary Post 4075 out of Frankfort, Ky., played board games and constructed houses with building blocks with the kids while the parents learned about the Yellow Ribbon Program.

“Today has been beneficial for everyone,” said Carrie Webb, event attendee and wife of Staff Sgt. Bobby  Webb. “There are different aspects to the entire event. You get information for the family, the Soldier, the spouse and the children. I think the National Guard is taking good care of everything, like with insurance and childcare.”

“The hotline that the Kentucky Family Assistance Center provides is there for everything, every hour of everyday,” said Webb. “They are there for any aspect, anything you may need while our Soldiers are gone.”

“I truly believe, having deployed a couple times, the biggest burden is probably on the family,” said Col. Brian F. Wertzler, 138th Fires Brigade Commander. “I’m glad that we can show them they are not alone and we can assist during this process.”

No doubt this mobilization will be a little easier for the Soldiers’ families than the last thanks to all the love and support for our Soldiers and their families courtesy of the Yellow Ribbon Program.

For more information on the Yellow Ribbon Program in the Kentucky National Guard, click here

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