The American Red Cross of Wyandot County is forming a local Armed Forces Family Network to provide support to service members and the family members of active duty, National Guard and reserve personnel. An introductory program will be held from 6-7:30 p.m. April 26 at John Stewart United Methodist Church, 130 W. Johnson St., Upper Sandusky. A free meal and free childcare will be provided.
Executive Director Todd James says the Armed Forces Family Network will hold monthly meetings featuring programs and speakers presenting information important to military families.
“We want to present information that meets their needs,” James said. “If the families want to know how to change the oil in their cars, we’ll bring a mechanic to show them. If they want information on helping children deal with a parent’s deployment, we’ll bring in an expert to talk about the issue.Â We’ll have some family fun nights, with movies, games and other activities. The meetings will be a chance for the families to learn about the resources available to them in the community and to enjoy time with others who understand the unique challenges and joys of being in a military family.”
James says the goal of the program is to provide the support for local military families that they would find if they were living on a military base.
“This is an underserved population in Wyandot County, because we don’t have a family readiness group or the other resources that are available on base,” James said. “The Red Cross is stepping up to fill the role as the central point of contact for military families in need of support and to guide them to the resources they need. It is a natural extension of our role as the provider of emergency communications and support for service members and their families. We are expanding our continuum of care to include the complete cycle for service members and their families, from pre-deployment through reintegration.”
James says the program is open to all family members — spouses, partners, parents, children, grandparents, aunts, uncles, nephews and nieces.
“The whole family is affected when a loved one joins the service and we want to provide support to everyone in the family,” he said.
A volunteer leadership team has been formed to oversee the Armed Forces Family Network and coordinate the meetings and programs. Members of the leadership team include Matthew Stombaugh, of Carey, and Kevin Lok and Don Burkey, both of Upper Sandusky.
Today’s military families — active duty, National Guard, Reserve and veterans â€” are spread across the United States. Many live far from military installations and the support services they offer â€” but few are far from a Red Cross chapter. The Red Cross addresses the unique characteristics of today’s military service members and their families, enabling and empowering military families to successfully prepare for, manage and transition through the challenges of military life.
The Wyandot County Red Cross Armed Forces Family Network meets the last Thursday of each month at 6 p.m. at John Stewart United Methodist Church, 130 W. Johnson St., Upper Sandusky.Â Free child care is available.
For more information, call 419-294-1935, visit www.wyandotredcross.org or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.