A helping hand in times of need

  • Published
  • By Maj. Katrina Curtis
  • 90th Contracting Squadron commander
The holidays are an especially important time of year. It brings about the joy of being with family and friends, eating turkey and watching football. Whether the family you choose to spend the time with is related, your neighbors down the street, or those crazy people you work with, they are family just the same. The military family has a big definition and a very big job to do. From all the moves, training, deployments, and having to meet new people and make new friends we all share a special bond of being a military family and look out for and stick together as if we knew each other all our lives. We couldn't do what we do without the support of the military family.

As my family sat down for Thanksgiving dinner with new friends that I have made in the past six months, we all thought about the people who could not be with their family and friends during the holidays. As a commander and one of the many service members who have spent many holidays away from family, I thought about all the ways to make sure everyone gets the support they need. That support doesn't just end with the military member either.

From sending a care packages to those who are deployed to giving their family a call to see if they need anything, every little bit counts. The family left behind is especially dear to me. To me, they have the hardest job. Keeping the household running and keeping faith that their loved one will come home safe and sound. The first time I deployed a former commander of mine, retired Col. John Gilmour, took the time out of his very busy schedule to personally hand write letters not only to my husband, but to my mother and father as well. He expressed his thoughts and prayers along with a heart felt thank you for your loved one's service. It is amazing the small acts that another military family member expresses to you that can change not only your heart and mind but those of your loved ones as well.

During my last deployment, I left my husband with a 3-year-old and a six month old at home. It's quite a big adjustment being a dad alone with a small baby and toddler. He did a fantastic job, but being a typical guy he would never actually call someone or ask for their help. This is not all uncommon for military spouses. They just don't want to feel like they can't do it by themselves, since they are military spouses and "that is what is expected" is in a lot of their minds. We should take a minute out of our time to make sure our military family doesn't struggle. Even that one phone call, letter, card or email can do wonders. It's just knowing that the unit is thinking about them and has not forgot about those left behind when the service member deploys. It also will put the deployer's mind at ease that someone is checking on their family just to see if they are all right and have everything that they need.

There are a lot of people who would be there in a heartbeat for a deployed family if called upon. Never forget the family might not want to reach out for that help when it is needed. Also, look around and you will notice that not everyone has their family here with them. That brand new airman who just moved to F. E. Warren, the new lieutenant, or the geo-bachelor who is separated from family could be struggling. Take some time to get to know the people around you. Ask if everyone has somewhere to go. It would be unacceptable if even one person spent a holiday by themselves.

The next time you sit down with your family and friends bring up the topic of how we can help out by reaching out. Be proactive. If you are not sure of something that you can do, go to the Airmen and Family Readiness Center on base, which is a fantastic resource for ideas and information on various programs and resources available.