Military family support group to hold first meeting Sunday
March 23, 2010 at 6:03 p.m.
Updated March 22, 2010 at 10:23 p.m.
When a military family member is deployed, those left behind often feel frightened, confused, bewildered or hopeless.
To help family members realize they are not alone, the Red Cross organized a Victoria-area support group that will meet for the first time on Sunday.
"Many families endure significant emotional distress during the deployment cycle and as a consequence of the death or injury of a service member," said Debra Murphy-Luera, Red Cross regional support manager and coordinator. "Red Cross sponsored military support groups are designed to provide a confidential environment in which family members share their experiences and receive peer support."
Navy wife Alicia Scavo, who will lead Victoria-based Red Cross Military Families Connection, said the goal of the group is to help families through tough times.
Scavo is also seeking donations of items to help keep children occupied during the meetings. She asks for toys, coloring books, games or board games.
"If possible, donations of snacks such as fruit, drinks and bakery items would be appreciated as well," she said. "In order for this to be a success, we need as much community involvement as possible."
In addition to meeting at the Red Cross office, the National Guard Armory and the local Veterans of Foreign Wars offered space for future meetings, said Scavo.
Murphy-Luera said the Red Cross hopes to expand the number of groups.
"We are very excited about this," she said "Our plans are to help organize support groups in each of the counties we serve."
Group members will receive information about community and military resources, coping and resilience education, social support from their community and informal briefings, explained Murphy-Luera.
She also emphasized the military support groups are intended to serve as an adjunct to support services provided by military family programs and work collaboratively with other agencies and organizations.
Scavo said anyone with a deployed military family member is welcome to join the group.
"We need to pull together as a community to support our local heroes, no matter what branch, rate or rank," Scavo said.