By Capt. Maryjane Falefa Porter
412th TEC Public Affairs
JACKSON, Miss.-- Family members of mobilized Army Reserve Soldiers of Detachment 23, 412th Theater Engineer Command, feel they are much better prepared to handle situations on the homefront, thanks to the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program and all who showed up to support their first 'Yellow Ribbon' event here at the Jackson Hilton.
For Sonja Powe, wife of Maj. Patrick Powe, the program "empowered" her, as she became more informed about the various stages of deployment and redeployment.
Others in attendance echoed similar sentiments, adding that Yellow Ribbon provides an excellent forum for Families to engage with military and community officials about resources, services and support systems available to them when their loved ones are mobilized for Active Duty.
Nearly 100 Family members and Soldiers showed up to absorb two days of information galore, as vendors lined up the hallways showcasing their colorful displays, handing out posters, brochures and video information about college education, financial management, youth camps, veterans and employer support groups, and plenty more.
Family members also sat patiently and eagerly through a series of presentations by guest speakers from ESGR, Family Programs/CYSS, and others.
Guest speaker Lisa McGowan, 412th TEC Family Programs/Child Youth Services, elaborated on a number of fun and educational programs for kids, news well received by parents who are looking to keep the young ones busy during the summer and winter breaks.
"You don't realize what's out there, until you come to a place like Yellow Ribbon. You find here a lot of caring people from the unit, veterans groups and others, that are willing and able to help us when our Soldiers deploy," said Powe.
The mother of two also recalled the last time her husband deployed in 2008, when Yellow Ribbon wasn't in the picture for her then. "We didn't have this back then. I didn't know where to go, what kind of services were available to us. It was very different then for Families, glad things have improved over the years," she said.
The plethera of valuable information also makes for a less stressful environment during family separations.
"Yes, it really makes a difference when you're informed about what's going on. More knowledge means less uncertainties and less worries for me. It's a very good feeling to know we're not alone in this process,' said another Family member.
"We're here to set up our Families for success. The more information available to them, the better equipped they are in taking care of matters here at home," said Jessica Harvey, 412th TEC G1 Yellow Ribbon.
Harvey acknowledged and thanked the vendors and volunteers that came out to support DET 23's first Yellow Ribbon event. "Couldn't have done it without them. They came through for our Soldiers and their Family members, gave out a lot of good information," she said.
"Our Yellow Ribbon was a success, thanks to the efforts of everyone involved, from planning to execution. It's truly a reflection of a collective effort, a team effort, to benefit our Soldiers and their Families in the long run," said Harvey.