Care packages bring smiles, support to Guard Families

Story and photos by Sgt. David Bolton, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs Office

20120831-Z-WA628-002

Chaplain Brent Kelly, Kentucky National Guard Yellow Ribbon Program Manager, passes out care packages to Families of Soldiers deploying with the 2nd Battalion, 138th Fires Brigade to the Horn of Africa at the Frankfort Convention Center in Frankfort, Ky., Aug. 31, 2012. The boxes contained teddy bears and books that could record the Service member’s voice as they read and be played back at any time. (Kentucky National Guard photo by Sgt. David Bolton)

FRANKFORT, Ky.— As Soldiers of the Kentucky National Guard’s 2nd Battalion, 138th Field Artillery prepared to serve their country abroad, the Guard’s Yellow Ribbon program prepared to serve the Families of these service members at home.

More than 500 care packages with special gifts for the Families of the deploying Soldiers were presented to children, spouses, aunts, uncles and grandparents prior to the farewell ceremony for the 2/138th Aug. 31, 2012 at the Frankfort Convention Center.

“The boxes have a teddy bear with a recordable book in it so that the Soldier can read it and record their voice so that the child can have that while they’re gone,” said Linda Jones, Child & Youth Programs Coordinator.  “There is also a memory box that the kids can decorate and put things in that their parents send to them or something that is important to them.”

The boxes provided a way for the children and Families to stay connected and maintain ties with loved ones throughout the duration of the deployment.

“The bags have all sorts of goodies so the kids wind up having a really good connection with their parents who are deploying and spouses wind up feeling supported,” said Chaplain Brent Kelly, Yellow Ribbon Program Manager.

20120831-Z-WA628-001

Workers with the Kentucky National Guard’s Yellow Ribbon Program pass out care packages to families of Soldiers deploying to the Horn of Africa at the Frankfort Convention Center in Frankfort, Ky., Aug. 31, 2012. (Kentucky National Guard photo by Sgt. David Bolton)

Supplying care packages isn’t the only thing that the Kentucky Guard Yellow Ribbon Program does however.  They also provide National Guard and Reserve Members and their Families with information, services, referral and proactive outreach opportunities throughout the entire deployment cycle.

“Anytime a spouse has any kind of problem, if a child is having trouble in school, if they can’t pay their electric bill, maybe they’re stressed, anything you can think of, they can call and get help from somebody,” said Jones.  “We want the spouses to think of Family Programs as their extended family, we’re there for them when their spouse is gone.”

This isn’t the only type of event that the Yellow Ribbon Program has provided to the Service members of the Kentucky Guard.

“We support Operation Military Cheer, Summer camps; we have a whole host of other events throughout the year to support Kentucky Guard Families,” said Kelly.  “We understand what the Soldiers are going through and we are happy to support them and their Family because we in the Kentucky Guard are a Family.”

For those interested in finding out more about the Kentucky National Guard’s Yellow Ribbon Program, you can contact Ms. Kim Coyle at 1-502-607-1177

or visit http://www.jointservicessupport.org for more information.

About kentuckyguard