|Military Family Network News · April, 2009
| A MESSAGE FROM YOUR MFN TEAM
April Fool’s Day! The Military Family Network newsletter is very, very short this month. April Fool’s! Ok, this was pretty lame, but it still makes the point to keep on your toes and watch out for those pranksters – and, you all know who you are!
Uh-oh…Taxes Due. And, no, this isn’t an April Fool’s joke. Well, it could be – let us know how the IRS takes it. After all, you are entitled to one phone call!
Experts from the Field! Spring is a time for new beginnings so it is with great pleasure that The Military Family Network introduces several professionals who are offering trusted advice, services, resources and guidance to you, our military community.
Relocation specialists, Beverly and Amy Roman, from BR Anchor Publishing are on hand to provide trusted advice on how to make all your PCSing successful and stress free.
A former Marine and founder of MilitaryRideShare.com, Jennifer McGillis, offers a free service and friendly tips for military-to-military ride sharing and carpooling.
A Marine spouse and provider of an online support group for spouses, families and friends, Julie Jones, helps individuals create friendships through shared experiences while boosting morale and coping skills.
A military parent and author, Judy L. Smith, writes a lighthearted book called Reporting for Doodie about how she stepped in as sole caregiver to her grandchild when both her daughter and son-in-law were simultaneously deployed. She also provides real life solutions to those who may be undergoing similar experiences.
Welcome Beverly, Amy, Jennifer, Julie and Judy!
Please take advantage of what these wonderful individuals have to offer. You will be glad you did.
Happy Easter! Happy Passover!
Until Next Month (or you can email us if you just can’t wait!), Megan, Luis and Darrell
| NEWS YOU CAN USE
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Celebrate Your Service Member Commissary Style: Let Them Eat Cake!
Did you know that your friendly commissary might be able to help you celebrate special moments with your service member like birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions? And, if you call ahead to the store director they might even have services like delivering a cake on base and taking a picture even though you may be miles away? So, if you’ve got a special day coming up, here’s how you can do it:
- Visit this link for a listing of commissary locations, store directors and contact information.
- Call the store manager and let them know what you have in mind and ask if they can provide this service. (Note: Due to differences in resources, some stores may not be able to fulfill your request. However, you won’t know unless you call!)
- Pay for orders by credit card directly over the phone.
- Remember, with this service, not all commissaries are the same. You need to call in advance to see if the store can accommodate your request or has alternatives for you. In our experience, the store managers have been very happy to help.
Your commissary is one of the best benefits of your military service and DeCA works hard to meet your needs. All you have to do is let them know what’s on your mind.
Pentagon Plans Sexual Assault Prevention Campaign
Just as the armed forces paved the way for integration more than 60 years ago, the Defense Department is working to prevent sexual assault, not only in the military, but also throughout the nation, the department’s top prevention expert said here today. Full Story.
Petraeus Praises Medics, Corpsmen at 'Angels of Battlefield' Gala
The commander of U.S. Central Command last night praised the Army medics and Navy corpsmen whose courage on the battlefield protects the lives of fellow servicemembers. More Here.
Education, One-on-one Contact Key to Cutting Suicide Rate, Army Personnel Leader Says
Ending a policy where citizen-soldiers were excused monthly drills for 90 days after deployment helped the Army Guard better take care of its troops, the Army's deputy chief of staff for personnel said Monday. Read More…
Postal Rates to Increase – Again!
The Governors of the U.S. Postal Service have approved new prices for mailing services, including a 2-cent increase in the price of a First-Class Mail stamp to 44 cents. Prices for mailing services are reviewed annually and adjusted each May. The new prices will go into effect Monday, May 11. Read More…
Association of the US Army Family Programs Newsletter: Great Opportunity to Stay Abreast of News that Matters to YOU!
This newsletter is published bi-monthly by the AUSA Family Programs Directorate, Sylvia Kidd. Here’s a peak at a few of this month’s highlights:
- Obama Calls for 2.9% Pay Raise in 2010
- Military Families Get Help Selling Homes When PCSing
- Economic Recovery Payment for Disabled and Retirees
- Proposed Bill to Boost Job Training for Vets
- Army Medicine Prepares to do Face Transplants
- CertifiChecks Ceases Operations
Read full stories and more here. If you would like to receive the Family Programs Update by e-mail, please send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org and type “subscribe” in the subject line.
| TRICARE UPDATE
TRICARE Beneficiaries Have Access to DoD Self-Service Logon
The Department of Defense (DoD) family member account to access the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) has a new name and the Web site has a new look. Read more…
Afterdeployment.org Web Site Helps Veterans
Since launching Aug. 5, 2008, Afterdeployment.org has grown to provide more information and resources for service members returning from deployment – as well as for their families. “It’s a free resource that can be very helpful for veterans transitioning back from their deployment,” said Army Maj. Gen. Elder Granger, deputy director for TRICARE Management Activity. Read more..
Choosing the MHS's Next Leader -- Your Thoughts?
As President Obama continues to fill positions throughout the government, he will need to pick a new leader for the Military Health System—someone to replace current Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Dr. S. Ward Casscells.
- We want to know what qualities you think the next leader of the MHS should possess.
- Should having clinical, patient-care experience be a requirement?
- Must he or she have experience managing a large health care system?
- Does the ASD /HA have to have military experience?
- What about finding a leader who already has a personal relationship with the Secretary of Defense and/or the President?
Click here to share your thoughts and ideas!
Medical Words: A Tutorial from the National Library of Medicine
This tutorial teaches you about medical words. You'll learn about how to put together parts of medical words. You'll also find quizzes to see what you've learned. Learn what your doctor is really saying.
Do You Know a Combat Hero?
Writer, Joe Kirschke, is developing a series of stories to celebrate service members who have performed acts of bravery on the battlefield in Iraq and Afghanistan. These stories will be published in VFW Magazine and Military Times and Joe is looking for individuals who may have gone “under the radar” so to speak. Joe is also looking at the future prospect of turning these courageous stories into a book so that others may appreciate our unsung heroes. If you or someone you know would like to share their story with Joe, please email him at Kirschkejf@yahoo.com
| RELOCATION INFORMATION
Military Family Network’s Executive Vice President, Megan Turak, outlines helpful advice for “Trailing Military Spouses” in BR Anchor Publishing’s monthly newsletter at This Link . This newsletter offers great information for successful moves and the site offers fantastic publications for relocation, both stateside and abroad. Of special note are the comprehensive worksheets, checklists and resource tools. For special discounts, please contact Amy Roman, Publisher at email@example.com or 800.735.9209 and be sure to mention you are an MFN member.
Also, don’t overlook relocation expert, Beverly Roman’s feature article entitled, “Smoothing Moves for Children: Domestically and Internationally” in this month’s April MFN newsletter celebrating “Month of the Military Child.” You can find this article under the header, “Organization in the Spotlight” or by visiting MFN’s Relocation Channel.
| VETERANS CORNER
President's 2010 Budget Request Strongly Supports VA Programs
WASHINGTON – President Obama's first proposed budget for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) expands eligibility for health care to an additional 500,000 deserving Veterans over the next five years…read more.
Obama Drops Proposal to Bill Insurance for Vets' Combat Injuries
President Barack Obama has dropped a proposal to bill veterans' private health insurance for combat-related injuries, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said yesterday. Read more…
| MFN BOOK CLUB
Reporting For Doodie
by J.L. Smith
"What would you do if you were a (suddenly) single Grandmother and both your daughter and son-in-law were deployed at the same time, leaving you as primary caregiver for your 2-year old grandson??? You'd do exactly what I did - REPORT FOR DOODIE!
...I hope you enjoy this account of how this beautiful child saved me from myself an how I used 'The Secret' to channel the inner strength my mother gave me...all compliments of the U.S. Military."
Find out more at the Reporting for Doodie website.
Your Military Family Network is Here! Order Your Copy Now!
The Military Family Network and Capital Books in Washington DC have published Your Military Family Network - the Nation's first military family resource guide! This 650-page book covers all major military support topics from enlistment to retirement! Learn how to create your own personal support network so you have what you need when you need it. Find chapters on money management, TRICARE, relocation, deployment, employment and education as well as military and veterans benefits, PTSD and much, much more. The book also features a compilation of state and local resources available to military families - for the first time in a comprehensive and easy format.
Retailing for $24.95, The Military Family Network is offering this valuable, must-have resource at $14.95+s/h. Buy it for yourself, your family, a friend or loved one – MFN guarantees best price on the web! To order your copy of Your Military Family Network or copies for your organization, please visit Your Military Family Network online or call 1-866-205-2850 for more information. Group discounts available – call or email sales@MilitaryFamilyNetwork.com for details.
| MILITARY FRIENDLY DEALS
GOING MY WAY?
Military Family Network and MilitaryRideShare.com Partner to Save You “Some Green”
Want to get home but lack the wheels? Have a car and want to save on gas? Or would you prefer to ride home with someone to help keep you awake? Then MilitaryRideShare.com is just for you. Created by a former Marine, for all branches of service to use, MilitaryRideShare.com has been designed with you in mind. Because of our strong sense of community, this one-of-a-kind service is a great way for us to help each other out. With all of the other challenges that we sometimes face, getting home doesn’t have to be one of them!
MilitaryRideShare.com, a carpooling and ridesharing service, is exclusively for military service members to help them find other service members heading in the same direction for long weekends, leave, base transfers, and more. This is available for use by active duty, retired and their dependant families.
The service is easy and free to use! In only five minutes, you can sign up for your FREE account and post your Ride Offer or your Ride Request on the Military Ride Share website. That’s all there is to it! And, the website also offers some great tips on how to make the most of your rideshare experience.
Visit MilitaryRideShare.com today!
“Helping Service Members Ride Home Together and Save Some Green”
| COMMUNITY EXTRAS
WE LOVE OUR MARINES. SACIFICE OR SACRIFICES? YOU DECIDE!
Excerpted from our Family Support page.
What do Marine Corps families have in common? WE LOVE OUR MARINES!
They are men and women of valor, unsung heroes who engage in daily heroic acts. The love of country, discipline, dedication and professionalism, the rigorous and ongoing training, the relentless work they do, the extreme commitment to others set them apart, and they are rightfully referred to as, “the few, the proud, and the brave”....
When I married my handsome southern gentleman, in a uniform, I was unaware of all the challenges awaiting me. ....We married in March of 2006. ...All our savings were gone when we finally moved to base housing, in June. My husband was deployed one week later...
This information was provided by Marine spouse Julie Jones. There is MUCH MORE to this story. Find out how Julie started
USMC Kind of Love: A Support Group for Spouses, Families and Friends - a forum and support group to help her connect with others in similar situations. Full Story Here.
Forgotten Soldier Not Forgotten At All
Especially by Greg Pittman, a patriotic 38 year old from Charlotte, North Carolina who sat down and wrote the song, “Forgotten Soldier,” as a tribute to our men and women in uniform and the families who love them. He writes, “Although I have never lost a family member serving our country, I do pray for the men and women who fight for our freedom every day. In this day and time, it saddens me that freedom is a privilege that is taken for granted by so many in our society. I wanted to show my soldiers how much I appreciate them and I wanted to tell their families the same. I hope that my song will touch someone in a positive way and bring a smile.” Greg Pittman now resides in beautiful Asheville, North Carolina.
Visit our Songs Page to hear Greg’s song, “Forgotten Soldier”.
(if you have a song that you would like to share with The Military Family Network, please contact Luis Trevino .)
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| ORGANIZATION IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Smooth Moves for Children
from BR Anchor Publishing
BR Anchor Publishing, www.branchor.com provides international and domestic books for all ages: young children, preteens, teenagers and adults. Beverly D. Roman is the author of over 30 relocation books
According to the US Census Bureau, every year between 42 and 43 million people relocate, of which approximately one-fourth are children between the ages of one and 19. Of course, military families make up a good percentage of this moving population. The frequency of relocation depending more on the employee’s position (officer or enlisted) and the type of job the person holds. However, suffice it to say that moves are numerous.
The challenge of relocating children is often compounded due to increasing numbers of single parents, dual career families and deployment. With increased responsibilities, parents do not always have the time to prepare children for the transition experience, nor do they always have the expertise to do so effectively. In addition, children in these situations often have more than the average emotional challenges. When children move, they leave familiar neighborhoods, schools and friends—basically what they consider “their world.” The experience can range anywhere from wonderful to devastating. Therefore, children are sometimes the “fallout” in the relocation process. But, they don’t have to be!
Children will worry less, and be more excited about, a transition if they know something about their future location. Taking the unknowns out of the equation will smooth any transition. Children only see what they are leaving—what they are giving up. Parents need to “paint a picture” so to speak, so children will better understand what they are going to experience.
To read the rest of this article, and other steps you can take to help make your move with children a smooth on, use this link.
| BUSINESS FEATURE
K¹² Life at Home
Is homeschooling the right choice for my child? Are my children getting what they need to succeed at home? When my child graduates, will he be accepted into a college?
If you've ever asked yourself these questions, you'll be glad to meet two K¹² students who are quickly approaching the homeschool "finish line".
Max and Sophie Severance are 16-year-old twins currently living in Alaska. Born in California, they have moved several times and lived in seven different states. After one semester of public school kindergarten, it was clear to their parents that their own family values were not being supported by their public school experience. So, despite a meager family income, Max and Sophie have been homeschooled since then. They are now seniors and will graduate from high school one year early. Both of them have been accepted to prestigious private four year colleges of their choice, and will receive full academic scholarships.
Max and Sophie have flourished as homeschoolers academically, and without the pressure of accepting moral and social norms that adversely affect many of their public and private school peers. Perhaps one of the most surprising outcomes of their homeschool education has been their ability to achieve strong social relationships, allowing them to mature into functional citizens at a very young age. During their junior and senior years, they were selected to work with the Alaska State Legislature where they wrote, debated, and introduced legislation to their state senators and representatives.
There is much more to Max and Sophie’s story. To read the full article, use this link.
K¹² is a leader in providing individualized, one-to-one learning solutions to students from kindergarten through high school across the country, as well as a content provider for MFN. Find out more about K¹²'s programs for Students, Teachers, Parents, and Administrators at their website. Find some of their expert content on our Kids and Education page.
| THIS MONTH'S FOCUS
April is Month of the Military Child
This month celebrates the important role that children play in the military community. It is an earnest and heartfelt acknowledgement that military children serve our nation, too, and The Military Family Network pauses to honor them and their families for their sacrifices.
Despite deployments, separations, relocations, disruptions in schools, friendships and even greater losses such as a wounded parent or a parent who doesn’t come home at all, military children display a heroic resiliency for adapting, coping, meeting and overcoming the challenges of military life.
Former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger established the Defense Department commemoration in 1986. Now in its 23 rd year, The Month of the Military Child is still revered as an essential reminder that we must not take our military children for granted and that we must always strive to provide quality services and support to help them succeed in the mobile and uncertain military lifestyle.
Let’s Celebrate Kids!!
Military Teens and Kids On The Move!
This site was designed with you in mind. Maybe you’ve had to relocate a zillion times. So, grab a soda, get yourself comfortable and start clicking your way to your new home, your new school and your new life. http://www.defenselink.mil/mtom/index.htm
Military Kidz Installation
Explore your military installation…but remember, to get past the guard you will need to sign up for your Military Kidz ID Card, before you can start having fun! http://www.militarykidz.com/
Find links to government and other kids' sites -- just use the navigation bar above to browse through our site. Explore, learn, and have fun! http://www.kids.gov/
Learn about veterans, who they are, cool facts, games and more! http://www.va.gov/kids/
Military Child Education Coalition
MCEC’s work is focused on ensuring quality educational opportunities for all military children affected by mobility, family separation, and transition. Visit http://www.militarychild.org/ to find information for parents, educators, and child and student programs.
| FAMILY SUPPORT
Reunion Training Helps Soldiers, Families Reconnect
Spouses of soldiers in the 18th Airborne Corps have a better idea of how to reconnect with their other halves upon redeployment, thanks to the Army’s Battlemind reunion training. “ Reunion is not always easy, is it?” Army Chaplain ( Col. ) Larry McCarty, a Task Force Bragg chaplain, asked at the beginning of the training, which began here March 4. Read more...
Military Teens Try Their Hand at Policy Making
Like adolescents around the world, U.S. military dependents in Europe crave more independence. They want to explore and study in the countries surrounding their base, learn to drive cars and have more flexible accommodations between the United States and their family’s quarters. Full story...
Angel Food Ministries Can Add Value to Your Monthly Food Budget!
Who is Angel Food Ministries?
Angel Food Ministries is a non-profit, non-denominational organization dedicated to providing grocery relief and financial support to communities throughout the United States.
How Does Angel Food Help?
Angel Food is available in a quantity that can fit into a medium-sized box at $30 per unit. Each month's menu is different than the previous month and consists of both fresh and frozen items with an average retail value of approximately $60. Comparison shopping has been done across the country in various communities using a wide range of retail grocery stores and has resulted in the same food items costing from between $42 and $78.
Generally, one unit of food assists in feeding a family of four for about one week or a single senior citizen for almost a month. The food is all the same high quality one could purchase at a grocery store. There are no second-hand items, no damaged or out-dated goods, no dented cans without labels, no day-old breads and no produce that is almost too ripe.
Also offered are specialty boxes such as steaks, chicken and pork. Many participants in this bonus program appreciate the expanded choices. Additionally, there is no limit to the number of units or bonus foods an individual can receive, and there are no applications to complete or qualifications to which participants must adhere. Angel Food Ministries also participates in the U.S. Food Stamp program, using the Off-Line Food Stamp Voucher system.
How Does it Work?
There are no qualifications, minimums, income restrictions, or applications.
Orders and distribution are handled by church host sites. Orders are collected by the host sites during the first part of each month and then the orders are filled on Distribution Day.
Visit Angel Food Ministries for more information. To find a host site near you, click here.
| MONEY, EDUCATION & EMPLOYMENT
Military Families, Stretching Your Dollars? States May Have Your Money!
When you join the military, you travel and move frequently. Relocation just becomes a fact of life. So, do you think it just might be possible that you may have forgotten a thing or two? Like updating a forwarding address?
If this happens, and a company, organization or government agency can’t locate you, but they have cash that belong to you, by law, they just can’t keep it. They must, after a certain period of time, transfer the assets to the State of your last known address. As a result, all 50 States have gobs of funds just sitting in their ‘unclaimed property’ accounts. And, they are anxious to return it to the rightful owner, for free. That owner might just be you!
These monies can come from housing or utility deposits, bank or credit union accounts, wages, gift certificates, insurance payments, company dividends and more. A lot of times the monies can originate from the estate of a deceased relative, so don’t forget to do a search for their names, too. Now, go to our Money Page to learn how to search and file claims for your money. And don’t forget to tell your friends and relatives to look, too!
'Military Saves Week' to Help Troops Cross Financial Hurdles
U.S. military members are affected by the global economic downturn, and the Defense Department is providing information and services to help troops and their families develop “good financial stewardship,” a senior Pentagon official said today. Read more…
Servicemembers More Realistic About Retirement than Civilians, Survey Shows
Servicemembers are more practical about their retirement needs than their civilian counterparts, according to a survey conducted by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or FINRA, Investor Education Foundation, in cooperation with the Employee Benefit Research Institute. Read more...
More Troops, Families Likely to Qualify for New GI Bill Benefits
Troops nearing retirement eligibility may be able to tap into the transferability benefits provided in the new Post-9/11 GI Bill, even if they're unable to serve four more years of duty due to service policies. Read more…
President's Budget Proposal Includes 2.9 Percent Pay Raise for Troops
President Barack Obama’s fiscal 2010 budget proposal includes a 2.9 percent pay increase for U.S. servicemembers. The figure is lower than pay raises requested the past two years, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said yesterday. Read more…
Task Group Reviews Education Activity's Literacy Programs
The Department of Defense Education Activity has suspended the use of the Reading Recovery program in its European schools for the school year that begins in the fall. Read more...
Thrift Savings Plan Provides Retirement Nest Eggs
About 614,000 servicemembers are saving for retirement in the federal Thrift Savings Program, which was opened to military members in 2002, a senior Pentagon official said here today.
The TSP, explained Chuck Witschonke, assistant director of military compensation for economic analysis, is a U.S. government-managed, 401(k)-type payroll-deduction program designed to provide tax-deferred retirement nest eggs for servicemembers and federal civilian employees. Read more…
Tax Time If you haven’t already filed your tax returns for 2008, check out these resources:
Five Important Tax Changes – Learn about a few key changes, including an increase in the standard deduction; or check out a complete list of tax changes for individuals.
IRS Answers “What Ifs” of an Economic Downturn – The IRS describes the tax impact of several life events that may occur in difficult financial times.
Taxes: Federal and State – Visit USA.gov for a range of helpful tax links.
Declaración de impuestos federales 2008
Pennsylvania’s 14th Quartermaster Company Deploys to Farewell Wishes from Family and Friends
Unbelievably, Dorothy Benyacko Carbisiero, the Unit Administrator of the 14th Quartermaster Company, took a few minutes from her busy schedule to share with The Military Family Network how the Unit’s military families and surrounding Greensburg, Pennsylvania community bid farewell to their beloved troops.
In the weeks prior to the St. Patrick’s Day departure, Dorothy and several volunteers were busier than Santa’s elves. In addition to pumping out more than 450 newsletters filled with timely information for families and activities for little ones, Dorothy and volunteers Paul Carbisiero, Barb McClintock, Jo Hartzell, Dwayne and Sharon Brentzel, George and Louise Shelleby, Holly Fink, Tom Caldwell, Barb Janoscrat, Kayla Diller, John & Norma Regalla, Kerrie Rindt and Betty Sleppy still found time to arrange a troop send off that included a visit, pictures and autographed “Terrible Towels” from former Steeler Rocky Bleier, a four-time Super Bowl champion; posted road side flags and yellow ribbons along the troops’ departure route; ordered specially designed mascot t-shirts; and, prepared a deployment ceremony program and more.
On the day of departure, Dorothy wrote this to MFN:
“They are on the road....what an incredible send off they received!
Giannilli's, a local restaurants donated an entire meal for the soldiers and their families the night before they left and even came to set up and serve chicken, rigatoni, meatballs, salad, rolls & drinks. The owner also offered to serve them breakfast the next morning to over 125 people!!!
The departure ceremony went well at the school. Each soldier was given a yellow rose as they entered the auditorium and the student body filled a box with notes and cards. They were also presented with flags and proclamations.
Our FRG purchased T-shirts for the soldiers and their families that had their own design on the front and the soldiers’ names on the back. We made up gift bags for the families that had a blue star service banner as well as a "Take Care of My Soldier" magnet, and an assortment of other items such as “Blue Star Service Banner” and “Support Our Troops” pins.
Each child received a gift, too: a journal, hero pin, helmet, flag, writing kit, teddy bear, and deployment countdown calendar, etc., etc.
The Pennsylvania State Police escorted them to the Ohio border along with Patriot Guard, Rolling Thunder, and Legion Riders. We tied yellow ribbons and flags along six miles of their route and people lined the streets with flags and signs wishing them well.
It was truly incredible. I followed the bus to experience what they were seeing and I could just feel the tears streaming down my face...such love and support from the community!”
The Military Family Network would like to take a moment to recognize Dorothy, her FRG volunteers and the Greensburg Community for their heartfelt dedication, care and support of America’s soldiers and families. God Speed and God Bless the 14 th Quartermaster Company and their families.
(If you have a story that you’d like to share with The Military Family Network, please contact Megan Turak.)