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The Chain of Concern MarchApril 2008 The Maine National Guard

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The Chain of Concern MarchApril 2008 The Maine National Guard Powered By Docstoc
					The Chain of Concern

March/April 2008

The Maine National Guard Family Program Newsletter
Family Assistance Center (FAC) 1-888-FMLY-CTR (1-888-365-9287) E-mail: kerry.birmingham@us.army.mil may be directed to editor: Michelle Darveau at Michelle.Darveau@us.army.mil or by calling 207.430.2132

NEWSLETTER COMMENTS or SUGGESTIONS

Embedded Training Team (ETT) Unit
On Wednesday, January 23, an elite group of eighteen service members who have trained to assist and in-turn train Afghan National Guard Army soldiers left for their mobile station in Ft. Riley, Kansas. We are proud to report our soldiers completed M4 Qualifications (day and night) and on range until 2 a.m. and Maine was the only team that had everyone qualify both day and night. The unit also had the highest overall scoring average in their company. They also qualified on the 9MM and again, led the company with all first time go’s and the highest scoring average. Once again, MAINE SOLDIERS set the standards – HOOAH!
Our Family Readiness Group Open House held the day prior to send off was a fantastic opportunity for spouses to meet, children to play, for photos and for assembling flat daddies. Thank you so much families for making this event successful and for opening up to share your concerns, stories and support with other fellow family members.

Maine State Military Family Readiness Retreat and X-Treme Teen Youth Challenge Weekend
Sugarloaf Resort, Grand Summit Conference Center

“Beyond the Yellow Ribbons”
PLANNED GUEST SPEAKERS: Dr. Bridget Cantrell, author of Down Range and Back - Dr. Cantrell is a nationally known speaker on reintegration and brings years of experience to help leaders and volunteers work with troops and families coming home. You can learn more about Dr. Cantrell at www.heartstowardhome.com. Additionally, COL (R) James L. "Scotty" Scott, II, Director, Individual and Family Policy at the Office of the Secretary of Defense will provide a global view of family readiness and how the new policies affect our military members and families. X-TREME TEENS: This full packed weekend starts in Augusta & Bangor at 0800 on Friday as the teens load the busses heading to Sugarloaf. The schedule is packed with high energy team building training, and more. Nationally known trainer, Bill Cordes will be teaching the teens about the YOGOWYPI factor. For information on Bill’s program, go to www.billcordes.com. This retreat is designed for volunteers and staff of those servicing our military community in Maine. Commanders, First Sergeants, and other key leadership are encouraged to attend this valuable training. BREAKOUTS: Building your unit FRG & Filling your Key Volunteer Tool Boxes, Grief & Loss, Casualty Assistance for troops & families, Suicide Prevention, Helping Children Through Deployment & Reintegration, and more. Registration will begin end of March. See www.me.ngb.army.mil/family for updates on our program.

A Note from Company Commander of C Co 1-126th Aviation Unit
(Condensed version, complete address to the families can be found at www.me.ngb.army.mil/family under 126th AVN tab.) Dear Family and Friends of Charlie Company, I want to thank all of you for the support you have given the unit over the past three months. I fully understand it has been the Families of Charlie Company that paid for our extended home station training. It has been a long three, and for some, four months in preparation for deployment. All soldiers have undergone the most intense home station training of any unit previously deployed from the State of Maine. Our soldiers have been fielded with the best equipment the Army has to offer and we are continuing to train on it. Our transition to Active Duty has gone relatively well. Thanks to the hard work of our soldiers, we successfully moved the entire company to Fort Sill with no injuries or accidents. This was not a small task. As many of you know it was a major undertaking to fly a fleet of helicopters from Maine to Oklahoma. Despite bad weather and mechanical problems all our aircraft and crews safely arrived. Fort Sill recognized our unit for having some of the best-prepared containers it In closing I encourage all of you to participate in the Family Program events and help each other over the coming months. If you have any questions or need assistance please direct your questions to the following people: SFC Drisko at the 126th Armory (207) 430-5335, FAC 1-888-3659287 or Paige Dennison, FRG Leader at pagekevin@hotmail.com Thanks again for all your support, MAJ Brian Veneziano

C Co 126th AVN send off based in Bangor on January 8th. The sendoff was held at the University of Maine in Orono and hosted at the Alfond Arena by Coach Tim Whitehead and the Maine Black Bears men's and women's ice hockey teams. Additional photos of the send off can be found on www.me.ngb.army.mil/family

Families Are The Heart of The Maine National Guard Family Assistance Center, Serving All Military Branches with Services Available 24/7 Toll Free 1-888-365-9287

Family Assistance Center News
Well I do hope all you winter sports ‘nuts’ are having a great time with all this snow. You certainly have had the opportunity to enjoy the outdoor winter sports season this year for sure. Personally, it’s Bah Humbug for me. I’m getting pretty tired of all this white stuff and can’t wait till spring….come on SPRING!!! Anyway, now to the business at hand. Shortly after welcoming in the New Year, Maine Army National Guard soldiers were, once again, asked to answer the call to duty in support of the Global War on Terror. On January 8th 126 soldiers from the Bangor based C Co 126th AVN was given a rousing sendoff by family and friends hosted by the University of Maine at the Alfond Arena in Orono. These soldiers are presently at their mob station at Ft Sill, Oklahoma and will leave soon for their deployment to Iraq. Many of these soldiers will be serving their second tour of duty there. Another 18 soldiers, who make up the Embedded Training Team (ETT), completed their in state training recently. They departed the Augusta State Armory, after their enthusiastic sendoff, on January 23d. These soldiers are now at their mob station at Ft Riley, Kansas and scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan sometime in the near future. Certainly our prayers, thoughts, and best wishes are with these soldiers as they prepare for the missions ahead. And, as our MEARNG soldiers continue to deploy, the Family Assistance Centers carries on with our duties to provide support and assistance to those families left behind. However, it is not just MEARNG families we service. Our FACs support and assist all military families regardless of branch affiliation and whether they are deployed or not. If you know of any military family living in Maine who may need support and/or assistance, please provide them our FAC Hotline Number, 1-888365-9287 and encourage them to give us call. The bottom line is no military family should ever go without support. We are one family…a military family…period. We continue to get great support for our families from our community outreach partners. Since our last Chain of Concern newsletter was published, we have been able to provide 50 $200 oil certificates to some of our deployed military families. These certificates were donated by the Maine Oil Dealers Association for the fifth consecutive year. We were also pleased to give out 27 $100 military commissary certificates to some of our families who needed a little extra financial help this winter. These certificates were sent from National Guard Bureau and were greatly appreciated by those families who received one. Finally, I would like to give special recognition to Skip Chappelle and Operation Community Support. Recently OCS received a $10,000 grant from the Wal Mart Corporation to continue their support of our military families. Military families have had opportunities to attend some of the OCS sponsored events i.e., tickets to the University of Maine Black Bears men’s ice hockey games and UMOs Center for the Arts events, tickets to some of our Agricultural State Fairs, tickets to the Bangor children’s museum, and tickets to see great shows like Disney on Ice at the Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland. Without Skip’s Operation Community Support many of our military families probably would not have had the opportunity to attend these events. To Skip and all the other wonderful people and organizations who support our military families throughout our great state, thank you and a big HOOAH to you all.

POSTAL SERVICES OFFER DISCOUNT SHIPPING TO APO AND FPO ADDRESSES
WASHINGTON, Feb. 14, 2008 - Military families have long used the U.S. Postal Service's flat-rate shipping boxes to send care packages around the globe. Beginning March 3, they'll get a price break. The discount applies only to the new "Priority Mail Large Flat-Rate Box," which normally carries a $12.95 price tag for shipping. However, when the 12-by-12-by-5.5-inch box is sent to an AFO or FPO address, a $2 discount applies, dropping the cost to $10.95. "This is the first time the Postal Service has offered a special price for our armed forces serving overseas," said Postmaster General John Potter. "We're proud that family and friends will be able to use the new, larger-sized box to send much-appreciated packages from home to our dedicated troops overseas." The new boxes will be available in post offices nationwide on March 3. Boxes can also be ordered from www.usps.com/supplies beginning Feb. 20. They're also available by calling 1-800-610-8734. Some of the new boxes carry the America Supports You logo. America Supports You is a Defense Department program connecting citizens and companies with service members and their families serving at home and abroad. The boxes bearing the America Supports You logo will be available only online or at select post offices near military bases. All flat-rate boxes are available for international shipping, though the discount applies only to the large flat-rate box, and only if it's being shipped to an APO or FPO address.

Plug into God’s word and fellowship with women in a FUN, safe and caring environment. Protestant Women of the Chapel, located at Brunswick Naval Air Station, offers Biblically Centered Life Studies Tuesday mornings from 9:15-11:15 (child care is available). For a list of current studies, as well as upcoming studies and special evening programs visit our website www.myspace./pwocbrunswick or email us at pwocbrunswick@yahoo.com. Courtesy of Shunna Graves representative of POWC chapter, located at Brunswick Naval Air Station. Shunna’s husband was deployed with the 133rd in 2004.

Feeling Disconnected??

Colds: 10 Ways to Stop Spreading Them
• • • • • • • • • • Wash your hands a lot. Don't share cups. Use tissues when you blow your nose, then throw them away. Keep your hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth. Use disposable paper towels in the kitchen, not cloth ones. Wash your children's toys once a week. Cover your mouth with a tissue or your hands when you sneeze. Open your windows when the weather is decent. Consider buying a humidifier. Frequently clean doorknobs, light switches, telephones and counter tops. Don't let anyone smoke in your house.

Richard S. Hatch, SFC, MEARNG, State Safety Specialist

Families Are The Heart of The Maine National Guard Family Assistance Center, Serving All Military Branches with Services Available 24/7 Toll Free 1-888-365-9287

A 'Bogus' Refund email may be sent to you 'DO NOT' connect to the link in the email and give any personal information. Please read the below taken from the IRS.GOV website!!!!

Be Aware of BOGUS Refund Offer On-line

"Refund e-Mail” The IRS has seen several variations of a refund-related bogus e-mail which falsely claims to come from the IRS, tells the recipient that he or she is eligible for a tax refund for a specific amount, and instructs the recipient to click on a link in the e-mail to access a refund claim form. The form asks the recipient to enter personal information that the scamsters can then use to access the e-mail recipient's bank or credit card account. This e-mail is a phony. The IRS does not send unsolicited e-mail about tax account matters to individual, business, tax-exempt or other taxpayers. Filing a tax return is the only way to apply for a tax refund; there is no separate application form. Taxpayers who wish to find out if they are due a refund from their last annual tax return filing may use the "Where's My Refund?" interactive application on this Web site, IRS.gov. The only official IRS Web site is located here at www.irs.gov.

Military OneSource (http://www.militaryonesource.com) is once again partnering with H & R Block to offer their free tax program to military members. Log onto MOS and start your tax return today. Military OneSource tax consultants are available by calling 1-800730-3802 to help you with personal tax related questions and financial planning.

H & R Block TaxCut Program FREE to Military Members

The Scholarships for Military Children Program was created in recognition of the contributions of military families to the readiness of the fighting force and to celebrate the role of the commissary in the military family community. It is the intent of the program that a scholarship funded through contributions be awarded annually for each commissary operated by the Defense Commissary Agency worldwide. The state of Maine has two commissaries: Bangor ANGB Commissary 101 Maineiac Ave , Bangor Maine ME 04401 and Brunswick NAS Commissary 35 Dominion Ave, Topsham Maine ME 04086. The Scholarships for Military Children Program is funded through the generosity of manufacturers and suppliers whose products are sold at military commissaries, worldwide. The purchase of products from these companies funds the Scholarships for Military Children program. A minimum of one $1500 scholarship will be awarded at every commissary location where qualified applications are received. More than one scholarship per commissary may be available based on response and funding. The scholarship provides for payment of tuition, books, lab fees and other related expenses. Details can be found at: http://www.militaryscholar.org

Kids Across Maine Easter Egg Hunt
2008 State Park Passes
For those soldiers who have been deployed in support of OIF/OEF, are Maine residents and have served OCONUS for a minimum of three consecutive months, you are entitled to a year of free admission into the Maine State Parks. If you received a pass in the past, but did not received at least 12 months of entrance opportunities, contact me for the 2008 State Park Pass. Please contact Wendy J. Moody via e-mail at wendy.moody@us.army.mil or call (207) 626-4221. The Family Program Office, Family Assistance Centers, Unit Family Readiness Group volunteers and Operation Home Front have teamed up to bring ALL of our military kids and families regional Easter Egg Hunt events at the following locations: • Central, Augusta, Augusta Armory, Saturday, March 22, 10-Noon (RSVP by March 19th with Michelle @ michelle.darveau@us.army.mil or 207.430.2132) • Northern, Bangor, 126th Bangor Armory, March 22, 10-Noon (RSVP March 19th with Amy @ amy.munroe@us.army.mil or 207.430.5324) • The County, Houlton, Calais and Caribou (To Be Determined) • Southern Area, Windham Veterans Center, Windham, Saturday March 15, 10-Noon (RSVP by March 12th with Jeff @ jeffrey.d.young@us.army.mil or 207.430.5528 Updates may be found at our website: www.me.ngb.army.mil If we have not contacted you yet, and you want to help, please contact the point of contact listed above for the area you wish to volunteer your help.

Families Are The Heart of The Maine National Guard Family Assistance Center, Serving All Military Branches with Services Available 24/7 Toll Free 1-888-365-9287

http://www.grantham.edu/index.php brave men and women in uniform, Grantham University would In honor of all of the

Free Blue Star Flag for Military Service Members and Their Families

like to offer every service member a FREE Blue Star Flag that your family can display to pay tribute to your hard work, dedication, and service to our country. The Blue Star Flag first appeared in 1917, when an Army captain who had two sons serving on the front line designed it as a tribute to their dedication and service. The flag quickly became the unofficial symbol of a child in the service. Today, families who have a loved one serving in the military display a blue star flag in the inside front window of their homes to show the family's pride in their loved one who is serving and to remind others that preserving America's freedom demands much. Grantham is dedicated to providing military service members, veterans and their families access to a high quality college education. Many Grantham students are currently serving our country domestically and around the world. We thank you and your families for the sacrifices you make. To request your FREE Blue Star Flag go to www.grantham.edu.

Military Ball Save the Date
Who: All current and past members of the Maine National Guard, to include Army, Air Force and Civilian Employees! What: A formal military ball, complete with live music and a sit-down, catered dinner Where: Augusta Armory, 179 Western Avenue When: 1800, Friday, 05 September 2008 Why: Share a good meal, enjoy some dancing, and finally put that dress uniform to good use! Uniform: Mess/Dress blues, if available; Class A with white shirt and bow tie otherwise (Army Regulation 670-1, para 15-1 / Air Force Instruction 36-2903). Formal eveningwear for civilians. Point of Contact: LT Chris Elgee, christopher.elgee@us.army.mil, or 626-4288 Details and invitations to follow…

Sea World, Busch Gardens and Sesame Place FREE Admission
Any active duty, activated or drilling reservist, or National Guardsman is entitled to free admission under the Here's to the Heroes program. He or she need only register at http://commerce.4adventure.com/store/os_application.asp to submit his or her information. Or in the entrance plaza of participating parks show a Department of Defense photo ID. As many as three direct dependents of military personnel also are entitled to free admission. Dependents may take advantage of the offer without their service member, though an adult must accompany minor dependents, and dependent ages 10 and over must present valid dependent I.D. Busch Gardens Williamsburg and SeaWorld San Antonio are seasonal operations that will remain closed until spring 2008. Military personnel interested in visiting those parks should check operating schedules. Check www.ww.buschgardens.com for Busch Gardens Williamsburg. Check www.seaworld.com for SeaWorld San Antonio. Check www.sesameplace.com for Sesame Place. The remaining parks, SeaWorld Orlando, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and SeaWorld San Diego are open year round. Valid for one complimentary single-day admission per person, per year, to one of the following Anheuser-Busch Adventure Parks: SeaWorld Orlando, San Diego, or San Antonio, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay or Williamsburg, Sesame Place, Water Country USA, Adventure Island: www.herosalute.com

Families Are The Heart of The Maine National Guard Family Assistance Center, Serving All Military Branches with Services Available 24/7 Toll Free 1-888-365-9287

Book kits, “Making Meaning through Early Literacy” are kits that include activities for toddlers through early school-aged children. Our goal is to filter these kits out to our local schools and other child care facilities through our military families and their children for educational purposes for FREE. Included are instructional materials, objects for learning, and hard covered books which would be a wonderful gift for any classroom. Kits will be sent directly to the school and child care facility in your child’s name as a gift from the Maine Military Children Education Coalition and the Maine National Guard. To see the amazing choices of kits, application, and instructions visit www.me.ngb.army.mil/family. This is a limited opportunity while supplies last !!

Maine National Guard Youth Symposium
Who: Military Teens Ages 13-18 (Mandatory training for teens who want to be Junior Counselors at camp) When: 27 – 29 June 2008 Where: Sugarloaf Ski Resort, Carrabassett Valley, Maine What: Amazing event packed with activities. Bill Cordes, a nationally known motivational trainer will spend much of the time as we learn about the YOGOWYPI factor. To learn more on Bill Cordes visit him at his web site www.billcordes.com/biography.htm. Other exciting activities will include teambuilding events, games, swimming, dancing and wrapping up the weekend, Sunday we will leave Sugarloaf for a day on the wild Kennebec River!!! Yes, White Water Rafting with Windfall Outdoors. Transportation: Teens will load two busses from Augusta & Bangor on Friday morning at 8:00 a.m. and will be delivered back to these points on Sunday early evening. Cost: Cost for the event includes two nights lodging, food, and training materials is $75.00 How to apply: Go to www.me.ngb.army.mil/family to print off application and mail it to the Family Program Office no later than 15 May 2008. Space is limited to 80 teens so apply today! A confirmation and further instructions will be mailed out no later than 1 June. Time to Start Thinking Summer – 9th Annual Youth Camp 2008 Deadline for Volunteer and Jr. Counselors is fast approaching – April 1st Campers deadline is May 1st

The Maine National Guard Youth Camp is designed to offer an active, healthy environment where Guard children will grow in confidence, character, and friendships with other Guard children. Activities include rappelling, archery, kayaking, confidence course, overnight bivouacs, arts & crafts, hiking and swimming. Youth Camp – Ages 9-12 -- Cadets – Ages 13-14 Jr. Counselors – 15 – 18 Day Campers – 4 – 8 (must be a accompanied by a parent volunteer) Dates: Week 1 - July 27th - August 2nd Week 2 - August 3rd - 9th. The cost for an entire week of fun at camp at scenic Bog Brook is only $50

Camp Scholarships from the Armed Services YMCA and the YMCA Camp of Maine
The Armed Services YMCA in cooperation with the YMCA Camp of Maine in Winthrop is awaiting approval for a limited number of full camp scholarships for children of service members in Maine. Campers from all components: active, guard, and reserve to include Coast Guard are welcome. Priority will be given to families of deployed service members. The YMCA Camp of Maine is a youth residential camp for children ages 8-15 and has a long and ongoing affiliation with the Army Corps of Engineers and the Maine National Guard. Interested families should contact Eric Cain, Child & Youth Services Coordinator at the Maine National Guard Family Program Office at eric.cain@us.army.mil or (207) 626-4384 Please provide name, date of birth, home address, email address, name & branch of service of the sponsor, and telephone number no later than April 1st, 2008. Selection and notification will be made by May 1st. Campers will attend camp during session 1A, June 29 – July 5th.
Families Are The Heart of The Maine National Guard Family Assistance Center, Serving All Military Branches with Services Available 24/7 Toll Free 1-888-365-9287

Section 504 Program May Help Save Money and help Mainers stay warm this winter.
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Helping Mainers Stay Warm
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USDA Rural Development’s Section 504 Loan Program helps homeowners remove health and safety hazards and improve and modernize their homes. Uses of the loan include updating an inefficient heating system or purchasing a new central heating system, replacing or adding insulation, and replacing broken or drafty doors and windows, which can help Mainers save money and stay warm. As heating costs continue to rise, many people are looking for cost-effective ways to stay warm. The 504 Loan is an affordable solution, with interest rates at one percent with terms up to 20 years for qualified homeowners. Example of one percent interest for 20 years: *plus escrow for taxes and insurance. Loan Amount Payment $5,000 $23 per/month $20,000 $92* per/month For more information on this program, call 1-800-352-8963 ext.161. You may also send an email to rdhelps@me.usda.gov with the Subject: 504 Loan. Please include your name, phone number, and the county in which you live to find out if Rural

DO YOU LIKE TO VOLUNTEER? DO YOU LIKE TO HELP MILITARY FAMILIES? DO YOU ENJOY WORKING WITH THE PUBLIC, COMMUNITIES AND LOCAL BUSINESSES?
If you answered "yes-yes-yes", then OPERATION RECOGNITION is the place for you. Operation Recognition is a non-profit organization founded in Edgecomb, Maine for the main purpose of saying “Thank You” to military service members and their families with a week of relaxation, rejuvenation and healing as a family unit. To date, Operation Recognition has provided 20 military families with a week of R & R at The Sheepscot Harbour Resort and Village in Edgecomb, Maine. As the request for this opportunity grows, so does the need to have volunteers. They need a few good men and women to volunteer their time to help with some terrific fundraising opportunities. If you would like to know more about who they are and what projects they have coming up, please contact Tina at (207) 582-0854, send e-mails to oprec2007@yahoo.com, or visit the website at: www.operationrecognition.com

Does the cost of medical insurance keep you and your family from being covered?
Tricare Reserve Select (TRS) is a low cost comprehensive medical insurance available to actively drilling members of the Guard and Reserve. Only members who are eligible for Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) are excluded from enrolling in TRS. Coverage may be purchased as member only for $81 a month or as a member and all family members for $253 a month. For more information about benefits and enrollment contact Wendy Moody, State Benefits Advisor at 626-4221 or SPC George O’Keefe, Tricare Reserve Select Specialist at 626-4424.

Credit Reports, Credit Bureau and Unclaimed Treasures Compliments of Linda Newbegin, State Family Program Volunteer
Thinking of buying a house, a car or new appliances? Before you shop you should check your credit report. Even if you have never had credit- check it anyway. There may be someone with your name and bad credit. You will want to correct any errors before you go to make your purchase. Your credit score determines the interest rate you will pay on a mortgage or credit card and bad or incorrect credit information can cost you thousands. To get your report go to https://www.annualcreditreport.com. You will have to go through the process three times to get credit reports from the three major credit reporting agencies. Just follow the online instructions. If you find errors, contact the credit bureau who has the incorrect information. They will work with you to rectify the problem. If you are overextended with credit cards and other bills you should contact your local Credit Bureau, their service is free and they will help you set up a budget, reduce your interest rates and get on track. Once you've checked your credit, fixed any errors and got yourself on a good budget, don't forget to contact the VA to see if you qualify for a VA home loan. This is a great deal- it may enable you to buy your house without a down payment. And lastly, ever wonder if you have some money out there; an account you opened as a child or deceased relative who may have left millions. Well, you can go to the http://maine.gov/treasurer/unclaimed_property/ and search your name or all your relatives. This is an official State of Maine site and it is free. I've done several searches and found $60 for me and more for my bother and niece. Happy hunting and good luck. Families Are The Heart of The Maine National Guard Family Assistance Center, Serving All Military Branches with Services Available 24/7 Toll Free 1-888-365-9287

Marriage Enrichment Seminar
Where: Bar Harbor Regency Hotel, Bar Harbor, ME When: May 16-18. Friday is a travel day Saturday class is conducted from 8:30 a.m.4:30 p.m., and Sunday class will be conducted from 8:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Who: Military married couples are invited. Maine Army National Guard couples are funded for hotel, travel and per diem. Other military services should check with their unit of assignment to see if funding is available. First priority will be given to couples who have experienced the challenge of deployment since 9/11. Cost: FREE – Army spouses will be placed on an invitational travel order and will be reimbursed for mileage, hotel and food. MEARNG Military members may be eligible for pay and allowances you should check with your unit. Sign up today by calling Jeff Emonds at 207-430-2005 or e-mail: Jeffrey.Emonds@us.army.mil by April 11th. Please provide the names of the soldier and spouse, the social security number of the spouse for invitational travel orders, home address and phone number. Once Jeff confirms you have been registered for the seminar you may then call the hotel at 800-234-6835 to register for a room. Please keep in mind that we encourage your interest in the seminar, however priority is given to first time couples. What you’ll learn Enjoying the good times: More than “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” learn the secrets of keeping busy lifestyles from crowding-out the fun in your relationship. Viva La Difference! Gain fresh insight into why men and women see life so differently. You’ll leave with a whole new appreciation for who you are and whom you love. Danger Signs: Learn the danger signs that can lead to marital discord and can eventually breakdown relationships. Discover how to express your concerns constructively and how to examine hidden issues and expectations that can build quickly in a marriage. What is PREP? PREP is an educational program designed to help partners communicate and build a stronger connection to each other. It is a research-based approach to helping couples prevent divorce and preserve a lasting love. Developing and keeping open communication lines is key to maintaining a successful marriage especially after experiencing long separations associated with deployment. A FREE Service provided by National Guard Bureau Family Program & Chaplain Services’

RETIREES, DEPENDANTS, AND ACTIVE-DUTY FAMILY MEMBERS
Do You Have Questions About You’re TRICARE Benefit? FREE One-on-One Consultations

VA Medical Benefits EXTENDED
Great news! Our returning veterans are now entitled to 5 full years of medical care at the VA following their discharge from deployment for OIF/OEF. This medical care is only available to the soldier. Currently enrolled veterans and new enrollees who were discharged from active duty on or after January 28, 2003 are eligible for the extended VA benefits, for 5 years after their discharge. Veterans discharged from active duty before January 28, 2003 who applies for enrollment on or after January 28, 2008are eligible for the extended benefits until January 27, 2011. Please contact Wendy J. Moody via e-mail at wendy.moody@us.army.mil or call (207) 626-4221

Thursdays at Two Convenient Locations In AUGUSTA and BANGOR
AUGUSTA 1ST AND 3RD THURSDAY EACH MONTH 9 am–3 pm, Camp Keyes Bldg. 7 Bottom Floor, Room 009 (Near Barbershop and Family Program Office) BANGOR 2ND AND 4TH THURSDAY EACH MONTH 8:30 am–3 pm, Bangor Air National Guard Base Personnel/Recruiting Bldg. 489 102 Ashley Ave., Bangor, ME

Your US Family Health Plan representative, Tom Breault, SMSgt, USAF (Ret.), is available to help you understand your TRICARE options. This is a free consultation. No appointment is necessary! Find out why the US Family Health Plan is a great choice for your TRICARE Prime benefit. Active duty family members, retirees, and their dependents are eligible—including beneficiaries over age 65. Appointments are also available on other days and times by calling: (207) 798-4458 1-800-431-0777, ext. 4458

Families Are The Heart of The Maine National Guard Family Assistance Center, Serving All Military Branches with Services Available 24/7 Toll Free 1-888-365-9287

Family Readiness Group UNIT SPOTLIGHTS
A Message from Your State Family Readiness Assistant, Michelle Darveau
Family Readiness is vital to the success of our Maine National Guard, its service members and their families. A Family Readiness Group unites service members’ families by providing a positive forum where spouses, children, parents, friends and other extended families can meet, share experiences, and provide comfort and support at the unit level. As the Family Readiness Assistant for the State of Maine, I work with FRG Leaders daily as a resource for questions, guidance and training. I also work closely with unit commanders, their Military Point of Contact and volunteers to establish brand new FRG for Guard units. An FRG is comprised of volunteers ONLY. The National Guard admires volunteers who truly are passionate about making a positive impact on service members’ families and their experience in the unit, while deployed and the National Guard. FRG provides and effective way of gaining and giving information, support and control during annual training, deployments and other times, as well. Find out more about volunteering for your Family Readiness Group by contacting Michelle Darveau at Michelle.Darveau@us.army.mil or at 207.430.2132.

169th / 488th Military Police Unit – Waterville/Houlton Megan Bell – Family Readiness Group Leader, mbellrn@hotmail.com Amanda Peacock – Family Readiness Group Co-leader, missamanda_18@yahoo.com

NEW Family Readiness Group Underway, PLUS Next FRG Meeting: March 7, AFRC, Bangor

Hello everyone! If we haven’t spoken yet, I am the new FRG leader. My name is Megan Bell and my co-leader is Amanda Peacock. We hope to get this FRG jump started with your help and ideas. We are a fairly new unit, therefore we are a new FRG! We are still looking for people to fill our FRG volunteer positions. These positions include: Secretary, Treasurer, Fundraising Committee Chairperson, Special Events Committee Chairperson, Communications Chairperson and phone tree “branch” volunteers. If anyone is interested in any of these or interested in just “helping out” contact myself or Amanda. We are planning some fun and exciting events this year and we need your help with fundraising and fundraising ideas. Some events include a homecoming celebration for the deployed soldiers, a military ball in August and a Christmas party at the end of the year. The only way to make these events fun and memorable we need your help. We are currently having monthly meetings for all family and friends of the deployed and un-deployed soldiers. Our next meeting is planned for March 7th at 6pm at the Armed Forces Reserve Center (AFRC) in Bangor. All are welcome and encouraged to attend! We are currently collecting pictures of/from deployed soldiers and flat daddy sightings to put in a slideshow at the homecoming celebration. If interested please send your pictures to me, preferably via email. This FRG is not a FRG without you. We welcome your help and ideas in order to make this FRG the best it can be. I hope to meet you all soon. A special thanks to Michelle Darveau and all her hard work and to Amanda Peacock for stepping up to the plate and putting a lot of time and effort into helping our families. Thank you both. See you all soon. -Megan

A Note of Appreciation and Gratitude To all 169th MP Co 2nd Platoon their family & friends, I don't know how to begin to thank you all for your kind words and generosity. This has been quite overwhelming the outpour of support from all of you. I have realized through all of this what quite a large family I have acquired since joining the Army. My Sister and I have lost a wonderful person in our lives. Knowing we have so many other wonderful people in our lives to help us through this makes it a little easier. I am leaving back to Iraq on the 17th knowing all will be well here. I have a job to do and need to complete it so we can all come home to all of you. Again, thank you all so much. I will always remember my Army family and there kindness through all of this. Thank You, God Bless, SPC David Richardson

262ND Engineer Company – Westbrook/Belfast Lynn Lewis – Family Readiness Group Leader, lynnlewis74@yahoo.com

NEW Family Readiness Group Underway. Interested families contact Lynn.

Hopefully you all had a great Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year. I am pleased to announce that Lynn Lewis has stepped forward to help get the 262nd Family Readiness Group Program up and running. We had a viable program in the past and we have a lot of individuals that are willing to volunteer to make things happen, we just need to re-engage the program under the new 262nd Engineer Company leadership. We will be developing a calling tree over the next couple of months and will be looking for any individuals that are interested in being part of this. Please let your Soldier know and they can, in turn, let the Chain of Command know. These calling tree members help us get the word out quickly to the families of our Soldiers whether on Annual Training or during deployment. The time to build a strong Family Program is when we are back home and things are less stressful. Too many units attempt to build a program once they learn that they are deploying. With all of the other things we need to take care of, having a strong Family Program will help us get through the stressful times as a team. We will also be working on a Summer Party and a Christmas Party over the coming months so please let us know if you are interested in participating. It can be a lot of work for a few, but a little work for many and we welcome your help. -CPT Scott Lewis Families Are The Heart of The Maine National Guard Family Assistance Center, Serving All Military Branches with Services Available 24/7 Toll Free 1-888-365-9287

Family Readiness Group UNIT SPOTLIGHTS
C Co 1-126 MEDIVAC/Aviation Unit - Bangor Paige Dennison-Family Readiness Group Leader, paigekevin@hotmail.com NEW Bangor Region Activities Committee for the 126th FRG. See activities below. Hello to the families of C/Co 126th MEDIVAC. Hope this all finds everyone well as we are all dealing with our soldiers’ deployment. All are still at Fort Sill, Oklahoma and are training hard to be prepared for what is ahead. On January 26th, we held a Family Readiness Group gathering at the 126th Armory. It was well attended, and a good time was had. We were able to get our “flat soldiers” and the kids had fun with coloring activities and a bounce house. If you wish to have a flat soldier, please contact me, and I’ll see what can be done. Our next meeting will be in April sometime, so keep an eye on the website, and you can always contact your regional rep. Here are some upcoming events in the Bangor area that all are welcome to attend: Abby, Jodi and Stephanie are getting activities going for our family group. They are calling themselves, "The Bangor Region Activities Committee for the 126th." Here’s what they have planned so far: 1. Crafters Night will be on the First Monday of each month from 6-8 at the 126th armory in Bangor. All crafters are invited to attend, please contact Jodi Venzeziano at jodi@nazmail.com to RSVP or for more info. 2. Military Family Time for the 126th Bangor area division will be on the second Saturday of every month. (All unit families are welcomed to attend) It will be held at the 126th armory in Bangor from ll-2. For March 8th, we will be doing a Birthday kids for all children with birthday's in March. We’ll be supplying pizza and games. Each month we'd like to do something a little different, so if anyone has any suggestions we'd love to hear them. Please contact Stephanie Campbell at stebo11@roadrunner.com or Abby Chadborne at smcajc@uninets.net to RSVP and/or for more information. 3. Wives Night Out; Sandi Danielle is the contact for the wives night out that will happen on every second Friday of each month. Each month she will organize something different to do. Please contact Sandi at sndydaniel@aol.com I am looking forward to seeing everyone at upcoming events. We will make the best or our situation, and have a fun time doing it. Everyone take care and remember that we are here for each other. -Paige NOTE: Families, who would like to be a part of the 126th MEDIVAC Prayer Vine and/or gathering for a woman’s prayer time, may contact Lisa Kervin at 207.223.5252. Embedded Training Team Unit – Augusta Jeannie Delaware-Family Readiness Group Leader, wannabewahine@hotmail.com Tiffany Merrill-Family Readiness Group Co-leader, tiffanymmerrill@cs.com

NEW Family Readiness Group Underway

Families of the Embedded Training Team soldier, our most recent group to deploy to Afghanistan, gathered January 22nd at the Augusta Armory to put together their flat daddies. Since the ETT guys left for Fort Riley, Kansas, Jeannie Delaware and Tiffany Merrill have begun planning outings for the families. They planned a "play date" at the Children's Discovery Museum for March 2nd where several families met to share in some family fun. The appearance of the Cat in the Hat was an additional treat! Currently, a Spa Retreat is in the works for early April to give the spouses a chance to relax as they begin to adjust to their soldiers being in theater. Recently, some of our families have been interviewed for the Australian based magazine, Marie Claire. The magazine did an article on the flat soldiers and how they help families during times of deployment. The stories will be in the May addition of the magazine. Also, Tiffany is working on getting soldier dolls made for the young children of the soldiers deployed. She has been in contact with 9 year old Mikayla Vandergriff of Windsor, MO, whose dad is soon returning from Iraq. Mikayla has been making soldier dolls "to bring joy to families of deployed soldiers with her handmade dolls". Tiffany saw her story in the January edition of the GX the Guard Experience magazine and immediately contacted her to find out how to get dolls made for her own little girls. Tiffany has asked her husband, Chris Merrill, to get full body pictures of the ETT guys while at Fort Riley so we can send Mikayla an order! Mikayla only accepts donations, and the dolls cost $5 to make. In addition, Mikayla writes a personalized letter to each child she makes a doll for. If anyone would like to order a doll, you can email a picture to mikaylasoldierdolls@yahoo.com or send donations to Mikayla's Soldier Dolls 212 Olive Windsor, MO 65360. Mikayla's mom, Melissa, just reported that her husband is returning home soon and Mikayla is anxious to continue her project with her dad in making soldier dolls for kids. Well, that's it for updates for now! Jeannie and Tiffany hope to plan monthly outings for the families. If anyone has any suggestions for activities, please contact Jeannie at wannabewahine@hotmail.com or Tiffany at TiffanyMMerrill@cs.com! We'd love to hear your ideas! Also, please check out the Family Readiness Program website for dates and times of future activities!

1136 Transportation Company - Bangor Dottie Pinkham-Family Readiness Group Leader, dottpinkh4@aol.com

Next FRG Meeting: March 9, AFRC, Bangor

Hello 1136th of Bangor, I want to start off with THANKING everyone for baking and helping out with the bake sale. And thanks for all the support for the Family Program. We raised enough for admittance to the Discovery Museum, but I do need a head count. The date is April 20th at 1 pm and we plan to meet at the AFRC by 12:15. We will have our next meeting March 9th to iron out further details and answer any questions you might have. Please come and join us to add your input on what you would like to see happen. Your ideas are greatly appreciated. March 7th is a spaghetti dinner. Our raffle for a 1 night stay for 2 at Samoset is going on until March 9th when we will be drawing the winner. Moneys raised will be for the bouncy house, giveaways and activities for Family Day. Thanks again and see you at drill. -Dottie- FRG Leader (207-234-2086) or Deb (207-327-1695) Families Are The Heart of The Maine National Guard Family Assistance Center, Serving All Military Branches with Services Available 24/7 Toll Free 1-888-365-9287

DVEM Attn: Family Program Office State House Station #33 Augusta, ME 04333-0033

MILITARY ONE SOURCE Military OneSource is a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week, toll free information and referral telephone service available worldwide to active duty, Reserve, and National Guard military members and their families, and deployed civilians and their families. Military OneSource provides information ranging from every day concerns to deployment /reintegration issues. Additionally, if there is a need for face-to-face counseling Military OneSource can provide a referral for six sessions per issue with professional civilian counselors at no cost to the military or family member (please note in-person counseling is only available in the United States and Puerto Rico). Overseas, Military OneSource can help access those existing services provided through the Medical Treatment Facilities. In addition, Military OneSource offers a web-site at www.militaryonesource.com (user id: military; password: OneSource) for information on a variety of topics and issues. Users may use the Website to order educational materials (booklets, cds, etc.) at no charge and access consultants on-line on a 24/7 basis. Stateside: 1-800-342-9647 Overseas only: access code,*800-3429-6477 Overseas deployed or in remote areas can call Collect: 1-484-530-5908 *Use access code before dialing the toll free Number. Access codes can be found at “Contact us” www.militaryonesource.com User ID: military Password: OneSource En español llame al 1-877-888-0727 TTY/TDD accessible 1-866-607-679

Comments or suggestions for upcoming newsletter features may be directed to: Michelle Darveau Family Readiness Assistant Michelle.Darveau@us.army.mil 1-800-581-9989 or 430-2132. DVEM, Attn: DPA-FP State House Station #33 Augusta, Maine 04333-0033


				
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