Family members have always been important to Soldiers, especially those preparing to head off to deployment. After Soldiers, family members are the Army's most valuable asset and we need to salute their efforts and support.
In my previous deployments my family members have always been supportive, from letting me park my car in their driveway to receiving my mail and then forwarding it to me.
But what about friends? Our friends who support us are truly the unsung heroes of military personnel. Only until recently Army programs have ignored the support we get from non-family members and even now it's not always enough. And I must say...I have the best friends in the whole world!
Even way back in Bosnia in 1998, when deploying Soldiers were the minority, my friends stepped up to the plate and kept up my morale. Suz sent me cookies and Star Trek: Voyager videos while Michelle sent me untold amounts of funny e-mails and stories. In Kosovo the videos and cookies and emails continued and then B and Kel sent me West Wing videos.
For this deployment planning has been difficult. The hardest thing to organize is my mail. I don't get a lot of mail (yay for auto pay on the Internet) but still...I need to have it collected and forwarded. Step in Judy. She and I basically grew up together back in Alabama...we were inseperable. We had a lot of fun times. But we grew up, I moved away, and life moved on. Now Judy lives just down the road from me in Austin and we had a chance to reconnect. She has generously offered to gather my mail at a PO box and forward it to me every week or so. It might seem to some like an insignificant task, but to me it's a huge relief. One less thing that I have to worry about. And she's also offered to start my car up once a month or so while it's parked in the garage of yet another friend. Both of these tasks are time-consuming and a big responsibility and Judy has never even hesitated to offer her support. And this past week over Thanksgiving her and another Alabama transplant, Jennifer, both stated that they wanted to send packages not only to me but to the unit. Whatever we need just ask and they'll send it to us.
Oh yeah, thanks Barbara for checking in on my stuff in storage! And to B for holding and eventually sending the Keeping Up Appearances DVD.
So, we need to remember the families of our Soldiers, how much they have sacrificed and what they go through when a Soldier deploys. But let's not forget those who aren't related but who nonetheless offer us support, making our lives just a little bit easier when we're dealing with a lot of difficulty. :)