Ear Acupuncture Assists Those With PTSD


Giving to Those Who Sacrifice

These silent military service people are the families and loved ones of those that wear a uniform. We don't hear much about them. We don't see their 'remembrance photos and names' on the various television shows or the news. They are out there, though! Isn't it time that we heard a bit about them?

Read the Complete Story

View All Articles

Those That Sacrifice For Those That Serve

by Jan B. Tomlinson

For every military service man or woman in uniform, there are those that have been asked to ‘silently’ serve and sacrifice on a daily basis. They may not see the tragedy and devastation of war, carry heavy back packs, or heavy artillery, but they carry other burdens just the same.

These silent military service people are the families and loved ones of those that wear a uniform. We don’t hear much about them. We don’t see their ‘remembrance photos and names’ on the various television shows or the news. They are out there, though! Isn’t it time that we heard a bit about them?

Being a college professor both online for a major university and on campus at a local technical college here in Savannah, Georgia, has put me on the front line to see and hear from service personnel as well as their dependents as they add getting an education to their list of things to do. I have gained such admiration of the sacrifices made on both levels. I am sure that most American’s are just like I used to be. They really don’t think about the family members as troops are deployed. Yes, we see the ships sail in to the families waiting on the docks and in the airports as their loved ones return. But, what happened within the family during the 12 to 18 month deployment of the service personnel? I see the tired loneliness of those dependents left behind. I hear it also from the deployed as they work in the battlefield under strained circumstances at best. They seek an education and, at the same time, a distraction from what is going on around them.

Most people would not or could not stand the separation of that period of time. What if your spouse or partner came home and told you that they were leaving for 18 months? What if this were the second or third time you had been told they were going to be gone that long? I have to be honest with myself, I am not sure that I am the type that could deal with this type of sacrifice. People become single parents that may work, go to school, and still manage to run the household and care for children. They are not rich by any stretch of the imagination. In our society our military dependents are more than likely receiving food stamps and other assistance because the income is so very low. The burden of making ends meet falls on the shoulders of those left behind.

What about the new babies that come into the world while the Daddy is deployed? The courageous women that build their own support system to bring a new life into the world do so without the presence of the other parent. At the same time, the serviceman may not see his child until it is already sitting up or walking. What about the children of service personnel? I remember as a child that days seemed to go on forever. I could not rationalize a month let alone a year. Yet we have children that try to understand time in that manner while a parent or loved one will be gone. Many times this separation causes extreme confusion in the minds of children. It has been known to lead to feelings of abandonment, depression, anger management issues, and poor academic performance. In many cases, these problems become a way of life and go on into adulthood if left untreated.

After a deployment, the service personnel return home. It is not always a smooth transition after the glorious hellos. The household has been being run without them for quite some time. Things may have changed so much that they no longer feel as if they are a part of their own family. Transitioning from deployment to home life is a very stressful situation. Many service personnel return and find that coping with family life and community life is so overwhelming that they develop complicated emotional problems such as depression and anxiety. In turn, this becomes a true family situation. The family that was left behind cannot comprehend the activities of deployment and war. They expect the person that was deployed to be the same person once they return. This is rarely the case. Some families seek counseling while others do not. Some service personnel believe that they do not need to seek out help and begin what has been dubbed ‘self medicating’ with alcohol or other things that they are hoping will just take the pain away. Other situations report an increase in domestic violence calls both on base and off base. The divorce rate in our military community is twice that of civilian society.

What if a family is not part of the big welcome home, but instead is called to meet a military medical aircraft? Their loved one has been wounded and is now coming home to face a totally different world that the one they left behind. Not only has the soldier’s life changed, but the family dynamics have changed as well. Of course the family members are grateful that their loved one is home and alive, but the recovery period can be long, challenging, and often more than a family can deal with. There are stages of grief provided in research for dealing with the death of a loved one. I my opinion, these same stages take place when a loved one comes home wounded. The difference is that each family member may be dealing with a different stage at different times. These families see the issues dealing with the death of the family as it was causing anger, depression, unhealthy addictions, and often suicide. These are the things that we do not often hear about.

Then there is the ultimate sacrifice when a soldier returns home in a flag draped coffin. It recent years families have elected to allow the off-loading of their loved ones to be filmed while others still want to preserve this ceremony as a private activity. Most often there are beautiful services performed for these heroes in which gun salutes are heard, taps is played, and a folded flag is presented to the family. What happens to the family after the services end? All too often these families have to rely on other family members to help them get on their feet while they are still grieving. I recall my step-daughter coming home from school one day with the news that one of her classmate’s father had been killed in Iraq. She was about 10 years old at the time. I could see the mixed emotions within her as she tried to determine how she was supposed to treat her classmate. Even at the age of 10, she understood that something major had happened in the life of her friend and she had no clue how to help her or what to say. The same is true for us as adults. Many times we shy away from these situations because we just do not know what to do or say. Sometimes families just need a shoulder, a meal, and time with someone that is just there for them if needed.

With this brief overview of the magnitude of sacrifices made by our military as well as their families, Gifting Warriors wants to be able to assist with families that make these sacrifices. They are usually silent in their search for a new way. Gifting Warriors depends on referrals as well as donations to help all that we can in whatever way is needed most. Donations are a small sacrifice compared to the sacrifices that are made every day by our military personnel and their families.

It has almost become a tradition these days to say ‘thank you’ when we see a service person in uniform. I believe that is great! However, if you see that same service person with family in tow, give them a big smile and a ‘thank you’ as well.

Donate Today and Become a Gifting Warrior