Manage Your Subscription :   Subscribe to this newsletter ·  Unsubscribe from this Newsletter                                         March 2009        

A Message from Your MFN Team

March 20: First Day of Spring!

"Spring is here! Soon we will all see the beautiful flowers blooming up to the sky. Let's say goodbye to the winter and welcome the spring with open arms."

The photo and tagline above are from Lou Trevino of your MFN team. Can you tell he lives in Pittsburgh? Lou and Megan Turak of the team live there in the Keystone state, and deal with the cold weather daily (while fellow team member Darrell Shue basks in Savannah and complains when the mercury drops below 40!) Is it any wonder that Lou's note and photo are full of forward looking optimism?

We all look forward to the rebirth of Spring - not just the warmer weather and freshening of the scenery, but also the attitude of newness that is associated with it. Take some time to get out and listen to birds sing, or enjoy the flowers breaking through the ground, and have a wonderful start to Spring!

Your MFN Team

News You Can Use

Google NewsGet The Military Family Network News delivered right to your email with Google News Alerts: Click here to subscribe

Looking to Upgrade Your Cell Phone? What the FTC Wants You to Know

If you own a cell phone, at some point you’re likely to upgrade to a newer model. But what should you do with your old phone? Read More

7 Practices for Computer Security

With awareness as your safety net, you can minimize the chance of an Internet mishap. Being on guard online helps you protect your information, your computer, and your money. To be safer and more secure online, make these seven practices part of your online routine. Learn 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:

  • Senate Proposes Military Homeowner Relief
  • Legislation to Freeze TRICARE Fees for Retirees
  • "Of Soldiers, By Soldiers" Photo Contest
  • Dwell Time May Increase to 30 Months by 2011
  • Personnel and Weapons Programs May Take Budget Hit
  • VA to Settle for $20 Million for Data Theft
  • Military Fatherhood Award
  • TRICARE Travel Guidelines

If you would like to receive the Family Programs Update by e-mail, please send a message to and type “subscribe” in the subject line.


Mission Critical Information


L.I.N.K.S. ready for next step

Eleven Marine spouses graduated from L.I.N.K.S for Spouses Jan. 16 during a ceremony at the Marine Corps Family Team Building house. One of five L.I.N.K.S programs, this class is designed by spouses for spouses to assist Marine’s husbands and wives in coping with life in the military. Read Story

386th Sexual Assault Response Coordinator to Airmen: Don't Step Aside, Step Up! Bystander Intervention Key to Preventing Sexual Assaults

There were 565 reports of sexual assault in the Air Force in 2007, 1.6 for every 1,000 Airmen, and those were just the ones brave enough to step forward and report them. In July, Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania called sexual assaults in the military a "scourge" that needed to be eliminated, and Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley has called them, "blue-on-blue violence and we cannot accept it." Read More

Project Sanctuary Provides Retreat for Military Families

Project Sanctuary will give the military families a five-night, all-expenses-paid, therapeutic retreat in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. More info

Who Cares for Our Caregivers?

Though it is normal for chaplains to be a caregiver of others, the thought of who cares for their needs when they have problems is often neglected or unseen.

“As a chaplain, we sometimes wonder who cares about the chaplain,” said Lt. Col. Wilbert Harrison, a Belleglade, Fla., native and 3rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) chaplain. Read more

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 for more information or to find if a host site is near you, click


Unemployed and Looking for Work? Avoid Scams by Learning about Your Options

If you're looking for a job, you may come across ads for firms that promise results. Although many of these firms may be legitimate and helpful, others may misrepresent their services, promote out-dated or fictitious job offerings, or charge high up-front fees for services that may not lead to a job. Read More…

Work-From-Home Offers Not Always What They Appear To Be

You can find ads like this everywhere - from the street light and telephone pole on your corner to your newspaper and PC. While you may find these ads appealing, especially if you can't work outside your home, proceed with caution. Not all work-at-home opportunities deliver on their promises. Learn More

eJournal USA: Choosing A Career

The Bureau of International Information Programs

Whether you call it choosing a career, making a living, or just getting a job, everybody would like to find a way to be amped-up about their work and still pay the bills. What’s the secret? No magic words, no mysterious spells will do it for you, but we’ve managed to pin down some advice that might give you some direction. Read more about the Journal here

Learn How to Get a Job with the Federal Government

If you are looking for a job, don’t overlook the Federal Government. Not only are there jobs to meet every talent and skill set, but these jobs are all around the globe. In addition, Veterans and military spouses may also receive preferences that recognize the economic loss suffered by citizens who have served their country. Read more

Protect Yourself: What You Should Know About Credit Counseling

Reputable credit counseling organizations employ counselors who are certified and trained in consumer credit, money and debt management, and budgeting. Those organizations that are nonprofit have a legal obligation to provide education and counseling. But not all credit counseling organizations provide these services. Some charge high fees, not all of which are disclosed, or urge you to make “voluntary” contributions that can cause you to fall deeper into debt. Read story

New GI Bill Carries Different Eligibility, Benefits

A series of educational assistance programs administered by the Veterans Affairs Department, commonly called the GI Bill, have helped servicemembers pursue post-secondary learning for decades. More info

Electronic Warfare Offers New Jobs for Tech-savvy Professionals

A new career field makes room for 1,600 full-time electronic warfare professionals for the active-duty Army, the Army Reserve and the Army National Guard, a senior officer said yesterday during a Defense Department Bloggers Roundtable conference call. Read more

Looking For Bargains Online? See These FAQ’s about the Safety of Using Payment Cards

These FAQ’s are intended to educate consumers about the online use of credit and debit cards. Learn More

An Employee's Guide to Health Benefits under COBRA: The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986

The recent stimulus bill before Congress provides for changes to COBRA. To understand how these changes could affect you, learn what COBRA is and how it currently works. Read More

Are there government benefit programs available to help you? will help you answer that question. Our online screening tool is free, easy-to-use, and completely confidential. We do not require your name, phone number, Social Security number, or any other information that could be used to identify you. You answer a series of questions about yourself, and then returns a list of government benefit programs you may be eligible to receive along with information about how you can apply.

Military Families, Stretching Your Dollars? States May Have Your Money!

The Military Family Network has compiled a complete list of “Unclaimed Property” departments for all 50 States and their web addresses. On the State website, you will find an online search feature where you only need to enter your name. (Some of the searches allow you to get more detailed if, for instance, you have specific knowledge about a lost asset.) If you happen to be one of the lucky recipients, the State’s website will direct you further on how to submit your claim. Read More

Community Connections Update

Official Thanks Military Blood Donors

As Armed Services Blood Program officials join with the rest of the nation in observing National Blood Donor Month, the program’s director expressed gratitude for the more than 165,000 donations from Defense Department military, civilians and their families in 2008. Read More

Service Support Organizations

There are many ways to support the military. Some choose to show their support by putting a magnet on the back of their car or flying a flag in the front yard. Others choose to support the Indiana National Guard through service support organizations. Read full story


Organization in the Spotlight

VFW Post 9482 Rallies NY Community around Care Package Project for Troops

Over the holidays, soldiers and Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan received some comforts from home thanks to VFW Post 9482 of Copiague, New York and a few of its angels, the 9th and 11th District Knights of Columbus in Suffolk County, New York, Boy Scout Troops 557 and 284, Cub Scout Packs 397 and 154, the Copiague Kadets of America and a nonprofit organization, On Sight Support.

Troops received 85 care packages, weighing in at a hefty 35 pounds each from VFW Post 9482’s Military Assistance Program (MAP). The boxes and postage alone cost $850.00. Although made up of only 42 members, the Post has shipped more than 40,000 pounds of donated goods to deployed service members since the program’s inception six years ago.

The membership numbers, however, do not define the spirit of the individuals involved in this charitable undertaking. Despite being the youngest member of the Post at 55 years of age, De Franco has performed eleven terms as Commander motivating the Post’s members in the time-honored tradition of selfless service started over 50 years ago.

“As long as the conflict continues and the donations keep coming in, we will continue to support our troops for as long as we can,” DeFranco recently told his members thanking them for their ongoing support and hard work.

But the care packages aren’t the whole story. The Post also sent Christmas trees and decorations to liven up the desert sands with a festive, holiday spirit.

“I couldn’t do this alone,” De Franco admitted. “I’m thankful that I have the help of a great right hand man, Quartermaster Jerry Posner.”

Retired Master Sergeant Posner spent 36 years in the Army serving four tours in Vietnam and just recently returned from two years in Iraq where he worked as an Instructor.

“Now he works with me serving with Post 9482,” said De Franco. “The Army’s had him long enough,” he added with a smile.

To make a donation to VFW Post 9482’s Military Assistance Program, please make checks payable to Military Assistance VFW Post 9482 and send to Copiague VFW, 270 Trouville Rd., Copiague, N.Y. 11726. For more information, please contact Commander Jerry De Franco at (631) 598-0300.


Business Feature

K - 12 offers leading online curriculum and programs

K-12's mission since the beginning has been to provide any child the curriculum and tools to maximize success in life, regardless of geographic, financial, or demographic circumstance.

Find out more about K-12's programs for Students, Teachers, Parents, and Administrators at their website.

K-12 is also providing expert content on the MFN website - see this article about Online Education opportunities on our Kids and Education page.

MFN Book Club

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 for details.


This Month's Focus

March is Women’s History Month!
Information from the National Women’s History Project

Before the 1970’s, the topic of women’s history was largely missing from general public consciousness. To address this situation, the Education Task Force of the Sonoma County (California) Commission on the Status of Women initiated a “Women’s History Week” celebration in 1978 and chose the week of March 8 to coincide with International Women’s Day.

The celebration was met with positive response, and schools began to host their own Women’s History Week programs. The next year, leaders from the California group shared their project at a Women’s History Institute at Sarah Lawrence College. Other participants not only became determined to begin their own local Women’s History Week projects but also agreed to support an effort to have Congress declare a national Women’s History Week.

In 1981, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Rep. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) cosponsored the first Joint Congressional Resolution proclaiming a “Women’s History Week.”

In 1987, the National Women’s History Project petitioned Congress to expand the celebration to the entire month of March. Since then, the National Women’s History Month Resolution has been approved every year with bipartisan support in both the House and Senate.

For more information and to test your knowledge of women’s historic achievements, visit the National Women’s History Project at and the Library of Congress’ Women’s History Month at

March is Music In Our Schools Month! Theme? Music! Just Imagine…

March has been officially designated by MENC: The National Association for Music Education for the observance of Music In Our Schools Month (MIOSM®), the time of year when music education becomes the focus of schools across the nation. The purpose of MIOSM is to raise awareness of the importance of music education for all children – and to remind citizens that school is where all children should have access to music. MIOSM is an opportunity for music teachers to bring their music programs to the attention of the school and the community and to display the benefits school music brings to students of all ages. Read more about MENC’s “Music In Our Schools Month” Activities and Contests (Win a Wii!!) by visiting this link

On Mar. 3, 1931, The Star-Spangled Banner, written by Francis Scott Key, officially became the National Anthem

In 1814, Francis Scott Key wrote new words for a well-known drinking song, "To Anacreon in Heaven," to celebrate America's recent victory over the British. However, only in 1931, following a twenty-year effort during which more than forty bills and joint resolutions were introduced in Congress, was a law finally signed proclaiming "The Star Spangled Banner" to be the national anthem of the United States.

The present copy, one of only five known to have been made by Key, is the earliest of four dating from the period 1840-1842 near the end of his life.

Visit the Library of Congress here to see this remarkable document in Key’s own hand.

Mar. 17: St. Patrick’s Day

Originally a religious holiday to honor St. Patrick, who introduced Christianity to Ireland in the fifth century, St. Patrick ’s Day, has evolved into a celebration for all things Irish. The world’s first St. Patrick’s Day parade occurred on March 17, 1762, in New York City, featuring Irish soldiers serving in the English military. President Truman attended the parade in 1948, a proud moment for the many Irish whose ancestors had to fight stereotypes and prejudice to find acceptance in America. Congress proclaimed March as Irish-American Heritage Month in 1995, and the president issues a proclamation each year.

So, whether you are Irish or not, find a parade and some green festivities and have a good time! Visit this link to see the action in your state.

MFN Military Friendly Deals

Disney Parks offers free five-day admission to military personnel in 2009

As Disney Parks ask "What Will You Celebrate?" and invite guests to turn their personal milestones into magical family vacations in 2009, America's military personnel will have one more reason to celebrate: Free multi-day admission to Disney's U.S. theme parks.

With the “Disney’s Armed Forces Salute” offer, active and retired U.S. military personnel,including active and retired members of the United States Coast Guard and activated members of the National Guard or Reservists, can enjoy complimentary, multi-day admission into Disney’s U.S. theme parks, great rates at select Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort hotels, and additional special ticket offers for family members and friends. For More Details, click here.


Health Care Update

TRICARE Trains Civilian Providers on Military Behavioral Health

TRICARE Management Activity (TMA) is offering a pilot program that delivers post traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury (PTSD/TBI) education to civilian behavioral health providers in a convenient….more

New DoD Center Helps with Psychological Health & Traumatic Brain Injury

A new 24-hour outreach center now provides information and referrals to military service members, veterans, their families and others with questions about psychological health and traumatic brain injury.

Operated by the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE), which falls under TRICARE Management Activity, staff at the center are available around the clock, 365 days a year, by phone at 866-966-1020 and by e-mail at Read More

TRICARE Grants Additional Extension for Overseas Claims Filing

TRICARE Management Activity (TMA) has extended its “timely filing waiver” for dates of service prior to Dec. 31, 2007, to allow providers, beneficiaries, and others living overseas additional time to submit overdue claims for reimbursement. The original deadline was Dec. 31, 2008 for services received prior to Dec. 31, 2007.

Since the December deadline was announced, nearly 4,500 claims have been received and approved for processing and payment.

The late filings from overseas occurred because some countries give host nation healthcare professionals as long as three years to file claims for reimbursement. TRICARE required beneficiaries to file claims within one-year from the date of service or inpatient discharge.

The extension to March 31, 2009 also provides an opportunity for TRICARE area offices to continue educating providers, beneficiaries, and others about TRICARE claims filing policy. Read More

"Contact Us" Page a Handy Resource on

TRICARE continues to improve ways to provide information to its 9.2 million beneficiaries. To care for this number of beneficiaries, TRICARE uses several different contractors to administer healthcare, pharmacy and dental benefits around the world – and their contact information can all be found on one page at Read More...

TRICARE Launches Beneficiary Bulletin Podcast

A new five minute TRICARE Beneficiary Bulletin will appear on the TRICARE web site every Thursday at To be alerted when there is a new podcast and to sign up for other beneficiary news go to and click on “e-mail updates” in the press room section of the front page. Read More

FREE Online Webcasts Help Troops and Military Families Cope with PTSD

With the Department of Defense’s recent announcement that 17,000 more US troops are set to deploy to Afghanistan and the Rand Corporation’s Study that more than 300,000 returned service members currently suffer from PTSD, depression and/or combat stress, Gift From Within, a nonprofit organization specializing in the care and support of survivors of trauma, is providing free webcasts focused on helping service members, veterans, and their families. Read More

Veterans Corner

VA Implementing National Safety "Step-Up"

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is calling for a special training campaign on safety – called a “Step-Up” – from March 8 to 14 at all medical centers and outpatient clinics to ensure VA staff follow the highest standards for patient safety. Read More

Suicide Prevention Hotline Saves Veterans' Lives

Nearly 100,000 veterans, family members or friends of veterans have reached out for help by calling the Department of Veterans Affairs suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-TALK. The hotline was launched July 2007. More info

Peake: Payments "Tangible Evidence" of Nation's Commitment

One million veterans are in line to share $319.8 million in annual insurance dividends during 2009, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Read more

In Recognition of Women’s History Month The Veterans History Project Celebrates “Women at War”

“Women at War” covers four wars, beginning with World War II, the first conflict in which American women appeared in uniform in all branches of the armed forces. The collection of stories includes nurses like Frances Liberty, who served in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, and Jeanne Urbin Markle, who served with her husband in Vietnam. Other stories feature civilian codebreakers, a flight surgeon, and two history makers. Full story


© 2009, The Military Family Network
The Military Family Network - P.O. Box 16366 - Pittsburgh , PA 15242
Email: - Web:
Phone: 866-205-2850 or 412-531-1970 | Fax: 866-226-2859 or 412-531-1978

We welcome and appreciate forwarding of our newsletters in their entirety or in part with proper attribution. If you are currently not subscribed to our newsletter and would like to, click here. If you are a member of the media and would like to receive timely updates from The Military Family Network or help with a current story, please send an email to Luis Trevino , Vice President of Media and Communications at