Story by: Master Sgt. Corinne Lombardo - 42nd Infantry Division Dated: Sat, Mar 28, 2009
Valerie Bennett and her six-year old daughter Haley, pickup information on the New York Army National Guard Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program during the National Guard’s Family Program mid-deployment event, March 28, at the Latham headquarters. Bennett’s husband, Sgt. First Class Robert Bennett is deployed to Iraq with the 3rd Battalion, 142nd Aviation, and is expected to return this summer.
Photo by Master Sgt. Corine Lombardo, 42nd Infantry Division (Released)
LATHAM, NY -- Families of New York National Guard aviation Soldiers serving in Iraq, prepared for their homecoming with a series of presentations and service provider briefings at locations across New York on Saturday, March 28.
“We want families to be better prepared for their homecoming, so we share information with the families on some key indicators and signs to look for in their returning Soldiers,” explained Dyette Putnam, a Military Family Assistance Center specialist.
Homecoming is joyous, but there are tensions and strains associated with welcoming the soldier back home after a long absence, and families need to know what to be prepared for, Putnam said.
The 3rd Battalion 142nd Aviation has been serving in Iraq since September, and is expected to return to its New York bases in Latham and Ronkonkoma in June.
The day consisted of briefings aimed at providing information about the anticipated homecoming and issues to expect once families begin reintegration upon the Soldiers’ return. Also on hand were several presenters and organizations providing information on various veterans’ benefits and healthcare options, as well as suicide and sexual assault prevention.
The briefings for family are part of the New York Army National Guard’s Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program, which is designed to help Citizen Soldiers fit back into home and work when they return from combat. When the Soldiers return they and their families will be invited to a new hotel for two weekends of counseling, informational briefings and relaxation time as part of this effort.
“I came today to get information on what the Guard will have to offer families and when the 30 and 60 day reintegration weekends will take place,” said Valarie Bennett, a volunteer coordinator with the 3-142nd Family Readiness Group.
Similar events took place in Long Island, New York City and Buffalo to reach out to other 3-142nd families throughout the state.