BLOOMINGTON, Minn. –
When Soldiers deploy, they must prepare. They conduct health assessments, deployment specific training, briefs, equipment inventories, as well as other various training unique to the unit’s mission and area of operation. But it is the training of the Families that plays an equally if not more important role to the readiness of the individual Soldiers.
The 88th Readiness Division hosted a Yellow Ribbon event on April 23-24, 2022, here to help prepare Soldiers and their Families for their upcoming mobilizations. The event hosted more than 230 Soldiers and Family members and covered topics such as finance, legal, social media, healthy coping skills as well as a variety of topics related to a deployment's effects on Families.
“This allows the Soldier who is down range to perform their mission because they are not worried about their spouse, their Family or their loved ones who are back home, because they know there is support for them back in the rear,” said Brig. Gen. Scott Linton, the 88th Readiness Division’s deputy commanding general.
The information presented at the event allowed servicemembers and their Families to evaluate their own unique situations and see what they can do to prepare for the deployment. For example, the financial subject matter asked attendees to think about which bills are in whose name and if the installments can be set up as auto pay. The legal presenter talked about making sure all the beneficiaries are correct on the servicemember’s insurance policies.
“It has been very helpful for our family to talk about the things we are going to go through while my husband is deployed,” said Brittanie Presley, the spouse of a servicemember and attendee of the event.
The event also put Soldiers and their Family members in contact with community partners who can provide additional services to them. Representatives from both internal – Chaplin, Behavioral Health, Suicide Prevention, Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention Program, as well as others, – and external partners such as Military One Source and Veterans Affairs were present.
This event was the first 88th RD hosted Yellow Ribbon Event in-person since February of 2020, said Michael Sprague, the program manager for the Yellow Ribbon Program. “The past events, due to the pandemic, have been conducted online through Microsoft Teams. By meeting in-person the Families can develop a better connection with the community partners and each other,” Sprague continued.
“What's unique is we get to meet each other and foster and create new relationships so we have more of a support system,” said Crystal Linton, the spouse of Brig. Gen. Linton who also attended the event. “Disseminating information is one thing but making those connections and talking to other Families is what is really important.”