Saturday, February 15, 2003

Military families needn't be alone


Organizations can assist in a crisis

By Howard Wilkinson
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Sons and daughters, husbands and wives left behind by loved ones serving overseas in the Armed Services are not alone.

MILITARY CONNECTIONS
As the chance of war with Iraq increases, the Enquirer wants to tell the stories of those who serve as well as the family left behind. If you are a serviceman or -woman willing to share your experience with our readers, contact us.
Most military reserve units and National Guard companies have family support networks to offer counseling, financial advice and information for the families of those called to active duty.

One of the most visible and active support groups is the American Red Cross.

The Cincinnati chapter offers military families access to a worldwide emergency communications network that runs 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

It allows military family members to get in touch quickly with servicemen and -women overseas in the event of family deaths, serious illnesses or births.

The Red Cross also can help families that experience a severe drop in income when a reservist or Guard member goes on active duty. The organization can help arrange grants and/or interest-free loans for family emergencies.

The Cincinnati chapter can be reached by calling 579-3000.

Members of the reserve and National Guard who have questions about how their civilian employment is affected by their active-duty military service can contact the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), an agency of the Department of Defense.

In Southwest Ohio, ESGR coordinator is Mark Wiete can be reached by e-mail at mark.wiete@firstfb.com.

E-mail hwilkinson@enquirer.com




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