|Chapel program supports families of deployed troops
Source: Leavenworth Lamp Thursday, February 19, 2009
Chapel program supports families of deployed troops
Leavenworth Lamp Thursday, February 19, 2009
Almost 30 spouses of deployed Soldiers were treated to a Valentine's Day dinner and child care Feb. 14 during the deployed families dinner at Main Post Chapel.
The monthly dinners are a chapel program that began in October 2007. Dinner organizer Tricia Sheaks said the spouses come in and have dinner and the children attend child care.
"They don't have to bring anything, they don't have to pay anything, it is just a night off from all of their duties," Sheaks said. "There's not a program, it is purely a social event for them."
Sheaks said she gets positive feedback from the spouses who attend the dinners. After the dinner on Valentine's Day, she received an e-mail from a spouse who said it was a Valentine's Day she would always remember.
"It is a good thing," Sheaks said. "Her husband is gone and instead of remembering it as a Valentine's Day by herself, she'll remember the dinner."
Sheaks said the spouse liked the barbershop quartet, Purely Harmonic, which provided entertainment during the dinner.
"That's a nice touch for Valentine's Day," Sheaks said, "although it makes them cry."
Sheaks said there were almost 10 new spouses at the dinner, and even though new attendees might not know anyone when they arrive, they know that everyone else in the same situation they are in.
"I can't say this for sure, but I think that some of the ladies were exchanging phone numbers, because now they've met someone in the community whose husband is gone," Sheaks said.
Fort Leavenworth is different than other posts because there aren't usually entire organizations deployed at the same time, Sheaks said.
"Somebody might be at the end of your street and their husband is gone and, unless you know that, you would never get together with them and know that you have that in common," Sheaks said.
Family Life Chaplain (Maj.) Michael Thompson said the program is chapel sponsored and people support it through their chapel offerings. Each month a different chapel congregation volunteers to host the dinner.
"Our big focus right now that we're looking at through all of our programs ... is how we help these families in a time of persistent conflict," Thompson said.
The deployed families dinners are at 5:30 p.m. and usually last about two hours. The free dinner is open to all spouses of deployed service members. Child care is provided. For information or reservations, contact Sheaks at 758-1724 or firstname.lastname@example.org.