|Military Family Network News · November, 2009
| A MESSAGE FROM YOUR MFN TEAM
November is a month of Thanksgiving and a great time to show your appreciation especially as we celebrate Veteran's Day and Military Family Month.
On November 11, we celebrate to mark the anniversary of the end of World War I, and to honor all Americans who've served their country in war. President Barak Obama reminds us that our Nation's servicemen and women "deserve our deepest appreciation and respect" and that we must "reaffirm our commitment to provide them and their families with the essential support they were promised and have earned." But, our caring must be more than gratitude. The President proclaims:
It is an obligation to our fellow citizens who have risked their lives to defend our freedom. This selflessness binds our fates with theirs, and recognizing those who were willing to give their last full measure of devotion for us is a debt of honor for every American.
We must support our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen and honor those we have lost. It is "these men and women who possess an unwavering belief in the idea of America: no matter where you come from, what you look like, or who your parents are, this is a place where anything is possible. Our veterans continue to stand up for those timeless American ideals of liberty, self-determination, and equal opportunity."
So while Veterans Day is observed with a ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns in our nation's capital, you are urged to recognize "the valor and sacrifice of our veterans" through public ceremonies and private prayer, to display the flag and to participate in patriotic activities in your community and to "support this day with commemorative expressions and programs."
Learn more by visiting the Department of Veterans Affairs here or USA.gov's Veterans page. For Spanish, visit this link.
November is Military Family Month, a subject close to our hearts!
"As sons and daughters, husbands and wives, and mothers and fathers are deployed, military families endure with exceptional resilience and courage. They provide our troops with invaluable encouragement and love, and serve our Nation in their own right. During Military Family Month, we honor the families of our Armed Forces and thank them for their dedication to our country." - President Barak Obama
Every day, The Military Family Network touches upon the lives of military families. And each day, we are more and more in awe of their strength, determination, commitment, resourcefulness, creativity and charity - especially towards one another. While we know stories of hardships and challenges, greater still are the stories we know of courage, perseverance, kindness and love. Our families are the backbone of our nation's military and the core of our country's strength. So, this month, take a moment to think about how you might help, how you might return the favor from your family to ours.
The Military Family Network is proud to serve our nation's military families and we are committed to their success.
Talking About Recognition, Hey Soldiers!
Take a moment to recognize an Army veteran, a spouse, a parent or an employer using the U.S. Army Freedom Team Salute program.
It's so easy to do, it takes only a moment and yet, to a loved one or steadfast Army supporter, can mean a world of difference. The program is meant to recognize "the essential bond between Soldiers, family and community; celebrates the sacrifices made by all those who support our Soldiers; and honors the millions of Soldier Veterans who have served and who remain as our living connection to generations of duty, honor, and patriotism."
Honorees receive an official Commendation package that includes a certificate of appreciation and a personalized letter signed by the Secretary of the Army and Army Chief of Staff thanking them for their support of today's Army as well as an official U.S. Army lapel pin and two Army decals. There is no cost to participate so visit to honor and thank all the Army Supporters you know.
Kudos to MFN!
The Military Family Network () just recently exhibited at the Association of the US Army Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington, DC where we were recognized by AUSA's Family Program Director, Ms. Sylvia Kidd, for our support of military families. We also had the distinct pleasure of meeting Mrs. Laura Stultz, the wife of Lt. Gen. Jack C. Stultz, Commanding General, U.S.Army Reserve Command; the newly appointed Secretary of the Army, John McHugh; Army Chief of Staff, General George W. Casey; and Sergeant Major of the Army, Kenneth O. Preston.
Reserve and Guard Just Want to Say Thanks!
While we're on the subject of gratitude, how about nominating your employer for the 2010 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award? Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a Department of Defense agency, invites nominations for the 2010 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, the highest recognition given by the U.S. Government to employers for outstanding support of their employees who serve in the National Guard and Reserve.
National Guard and Reserve members and their families are eligible, and encouraged, to nominate their employers now through January 18th, 2010 here.
Happy Thanksgiving...Gobble, Gobble, Gobble!
Until Next Month (or you can email us at connections@MilitaryFamilyNetwork.com if you just can't wait!),
Megan, Luis and Darrell
| NEWS YOU CAN USE
NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Invites You to Send Your Name to the Red Planet
Source: Carnegie Science Center
Scheduled to launch in the fall of 2011, Mars Science Laboratory is part of NASA's Mars Exploration Program, a long-term effort of robotic exploration of the red planet. Mars Science Laboratory is a rover that will assess whether Mars ever was, or is still today, an environment able to support microbial life. In other words, its mission is to determine the planet's "habitability."
And NASA invites you to participate in the Mars Science Laboratory by sending your name to the Red Planet! It will be included on a microchip that will be onboard the rover. Once you "Send Your Name to Mars," you will also be able to print a colorful certificate of participation - so be sure to register on a computer with an available printer! You won't want to miss your place in history - or prove to friends that you're listed in the "Red Pages!" Visit http://marsprogram.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/participate/sendyourname/ so the next time someone says to you, "Earth calling <enter your name>," they might just mean it!
By the way, as this mission develops, more unique ways to participate will be added, especially when the rover gets to Mars! So don't forget to bookmark the site and visit again in the future.
Bringing the Holidays to Military Men and Women
Recommended Mailing Dates to APO/FPO Addresses
For military service members stationed around the globe, holiday gifts are a big morale boost. To help the families and friends of U.S. military personnel, the Postal Service offers a discount on its largest Ppriority Mail Flat Rate box. The recommended mailing date for the most economical postage to overseas military installations, including Iraq and Afghanistan, is November 13. Read more at this link.
And...For More Information about Military Mail
Ever wonder what APO or FPO means? Or how military mail is processed, how to address your package and what it migt cost? Well, wonder no more! Just visit the US Postal Service's "Frequently Asked Questions" page and check out facts just for you.
Pass the Mashed Potatoes!
Wherever you are this Thanksgiving, we hope you have the opportunity to spend time with dear ones, enjoy a hearty meal, and reflect on the good things in your life.
Find some helpful holiday resources on USA.gov's Thanksgiving page, including:
| TRICARE UPDATE
Vaccinations for the First Family (H1N1)
We've been asked about whether the President, Mrs. Obama, and Sasha and Malia have received their H1N1 and seasonal flu vaccines. Read More...
Defense Department Receives First H1N1 Vaccine Shipments
The Defense Department has started receiving H1N1 vaccines and will begin distributing doses in the coming weeks. Read More...
New Contract Brings Positive Changes for TRICARE Overseas Beneficiaries
International SOS Assistance, Inc., Trevose, Pa., has been selected by TRICARE Management Activity (TMA) as the contractor for the TRICARE Overseas Program (TOP) in locations outside the 50 United States and the District of Columbia. Read More...
First Lady Michelle Obama Highlights Breast Cancer Awareness
See Video here.
| RELOCATION INFORMATION
Don't Get Stranded this Holiday Season - Check Out Travelers Aid International
Travelers Aid International is the association for Travelers Aid agencies and programs in the United States (including Puerto Rico), Canada, and Australia. Travelers Aid served more than 6.5 million people last year in forty-eight communities, and at thirty-six transportation centers (airports, bus and train stations). Travelers Aid also provided casework services to 200,000 (including homeless persons, and individuals and families in crisis). Each member of the Network is independently managed and provides programs and services that meet the needs of its community.
Learn more about this essential organization by visiting http://www.travelersaid.org/ .
| VETERANS CORNER
Obama Signs Veterans Health Care Legislation
President Barack Obama signed new legislation today that creates predictable funding for veterans' health care. Read More...
Gift From Within Offers Free Podcasts and other PTSD Resources for Survivors and Caregivers
Gift From Within (www.giftfromwithin.org) offers valuable insights into PTSD and hope for survivors of trauma by providing peer support services and articles and podcasts that have in depth information for anyone who is in need of more understanding about PTSD.
"Transition From Military To Civilian Life "
In this webcast, Dr. Frank Ochberg discusses the veteran's transition from military life to civilian life. It presents guidelines for families and loved ones on how to gauge the normal transition period. It's free so come with us and listen in: http://www.giftfromwithin.org/html/webcast2ram.html
About Gift from Within.org : Gift from Within is a non-profit organization dedicated to those who suffer post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), those at risk for PTSD, and those who care for traumatized individuals; develops and disseminates educational material, including videotapes, articles, books, and other resources through its website; maintains a roster of survivors who are willing to participate in an international network of peer support; is designated by the Internal Revenue Service as 501(c)(3) public charity, eligible to receive tax-exempt grants, gifts, and donations.
Play it Again, Dot Mil Docs!
Dot Mil Docs is the product of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, Military Health System and is the official podcast of the Military Health System. America's Military Health System (MHS) is a unique partnership of medical educators, medical researchers, and healthcare providers and their support personnel worldwide. This DoD enterprise consists of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs; the medical departments of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Joint Chiefs of Staff; the Combatant Command surgeons; and TRICARE providers (including private sector healthcare providers, hospitals and pharmacies).
On DotMilDocs, military doctors and health care experts discuss a new topic each week. You can find more information here or the main web page for MHS at www.health.mil.
This month, MFN showcases DotMilDoc's most recent episode. Check it out and while you are there, take a few minutes to look around. You'll be pleasantly surprised by the information that is available and amazed by what you can learn in a few short minutes. Episode 83: Women and Heart Disease
Veterans Homecoming Week - November 5-11, 2009
"American Tribute to ALL Veterans"
Our Theme for 2009: Branson Doesn't Forget Our Military and their Families
America's largest Veterans Day celebration, "Veterans Homecoming Week", takes place in Branson, Missouri, November 5-11. This seven-day tribute includes many special events, many of which are free and all of which present patriotic salutes to veterans. Words are inadequate to describe the many moving moments as Branson entertainers and community members, young and old, pay tribute to America's heroes. For locations, times, activities and more, visit this link .
| MFN BOOK CLUB
|You and Your Military Hero Authors Offer Tribute to Military Families and Healthy Tips for Kids
November is Military Family Month. We honor our military families and are grateful for their sacrifices such as being separated from their families during deployment. Deployment can be stressful for the whole family and may be especially difficult for the child who does not have adequate coping skills to deal with this stress. Children that become overly stressed will need adults to teach them specific coping strategies and help them practice these skills on a regular basis.
Skills such as relaxation, visualization, and positive thinking are practical strategies for building resilience in children.
Helping Children Choose Positive Thoughts
Teach your child that many thoughts are valuable and worth keeping ("I did it!" or"I did my chores today.") However, some thoughts are not valuable and need to be ‘thrown away' ("I can't do it!" or"I'm horrible in baseball!")
During the next few weeks try this: Each time you or your child has a negative thought, write it on a piece of paper. Have your child wad it up and throw it away in the wastebasket! It's a nice visual way to show that negative thoughts are not worth keeping.
Also, post your child's positive thoughts on a mirror or wall that will be seen each day. Your child will soon learn that choosing positive thoughts creates good feelings. When kids FEEL better...kids DO better.
Minnesota authors, Sara Jensen-Fritz, Paula Jones-Johnson and Thea L. Zitzow, received the Gold Medal Award from the Military Writers Society of America (MWSA) for their children's activity book,"You and Your Military Hero: Building Positive Thinking Skills During Your Hero's Deployment." Their website is www.uflipp.com
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| ORGANIZATION IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Nominate Your Employer for the 2010 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award
It is only possible for our National Guard and Reserve members to perform at their best with the support of loved ones, friends, neighbors and, particularly, employers. Thousands of employers across the nation employ National Guard and Reserve members, fully aware that at any moment they may be called to serve. And when this happens, both the employee and employer face challenges. We are grateful for the many employers who remain patriotically steadfast in support of their military employees, both financially and emotionally, going well beyond the law. Supportive employers allow service members to perform their duties while alleviating concerns about their jobs and loved ones back home.
Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a Department of Defense agency, invites nominations for the 2010 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, the highest recognition given by the U.S. Government to employers for outstanding support of their employees who serve in the National Guard and Reserve. National Guard and Reserve members and their families are eligible, and encouraged, to nominate their employers now through January 18th, 2010 at .
Freedom Award recipients support their Guard and Reserve employees and their families in important ways, both large and small. Past recipients have provided differential pay during deployments, continued insurance benefits and sent comfort items in care packages. Some of the most valued assistance has been the support extended to deployed service members' families. When one National Guard member was deployed, his employer filled his seat at his sons' sports games. After another service member's family hit hard times during a deployment, his employer stacked gifts under the family's Christmas tree. And during the deployment of a single father, his employer sent his daughters off to school each morning with a wake up phone call. These seemingly small acts have a significant impact on the lives of National Guard and Reserve members and their families.
Any employer supportive of its National Guard and Reserve employees or their families is eligible for Freedom Award nomination. Past recipients of the award have ranged from a small family-owned farm in Iowa to large corporations, including Chrysler and Microsoft, to public sector employers including the City of Austin, Texas.
The 2010 recipients will be announced in the spring and honored in September at the 15th annual Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award ceremony in Washington, D.C. Recipients of the 2009 award met with President Barack Obama and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and received their awards at a ceremony with the keynote given by Dr. Jill Biden.
Click here to submit a nomination.
MFN Helps Businesses Reach the Military Market
We all know how the Military Family Network serves service members, veterans, and military families by provicding resources, information and trusted expert and community advice to help them navigate through military life.
But did you know that MFN also helps businesses reach this market? By introducing the military community to trusted businesses, MFN can help your business tap into a market that is traditionally harder to reach. And with our new website nearly ready to go, we will offer even more possibilities, both for businesses and the community we serve.
There are numerous new features, including improved and simplified navigation, enhanced forums, the ability to add your own blog, and a dedicated server giving us much more bandwidth and processing power, which provides you with a greatly improved user experience.
You've already seen the ever increasing number of experts in various fields who are coming on board with MFN to provide you with the information you need. Enhanced search and tagging capabilities will make it easier for you to find this information.
And there is so much more. How many times have you read one of our news articles and wanted to respond? Or perhaps you read an informational piece on our site, and had additional information you would like to contribute. Well, now you will be able to! You will be able to leave comments, discuss topics with you fellow community members, easily syndicate the content to your RSS feeds, and much much more.
| THIS MONTH'S FOCUS
MFN's Darrell Shue Talks it Up for Military Families!
Darrell Shue, Vice President of MFN, talks with Mr. Dad, Armin Brott, renowned author and Fatherhood expert, about challenges facing military families and how MFN helps connect families with the support they need. Listen Here.
Topic: Military Families
Issues: Special concerns of families facing deployment; the challenges of staying in touch across time and distance; resources that can help support deployed servicemembers and their families; special concerns of reservists and Guard troops.
| FAMILY SUPPORT
President Proclaims Military Family Month
President Barack Obama pledged his support of military members and their families and said Americans have a "solemn obligation" to preserve their well-being in his proclamation declaring November as Military Family Month. Read the full proclamation here.
The Finest Military in the History of the World
I also want to thank all your outstanding local leaders for welcoming me here today: Admiral Tim Alexander; your CO, Captain Jack Scorby; and your Command Master Chief, Jeff Hudson. Read More...
National Adoption Month, too?!
The theme of this year’s National Adoption Month is "you don’t have to be perfect to be a perfect parent."
If you are considering adopting a child, visit USA.gov’s Adoptive Parents page for resources, including USA.gov’s overviews on Domestic Adoption and International Adoption.
| MONEY, EDUCATION & EMPLOYMENT
Army Reduces 'Stop Loss' As Pentagon Begins Payments
As the Defense Department begins to compensate military members forced to serve beyond the expiration of their contracts, the number of those still serving under "Stop Loss" has been greatly reduced, a Pentagon official said. Read More...
Black Friday, Here I Come! Holiday Shopping: Tips from the FTC
If you’ve ever heard the advice, "Never go to the grocery store without a list or when you’re hungry," chances are you know why: you’re likely to buy more than you need and spend more, too. The same advice applies when you’re shopping for the holidays. Whether you’re shopping at the mall, online, or by phone or mail, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, says that a little planning and know-how can help you deliver a holiday season that’s on budget and maybe even a little less stressful. Read More...
Professional Anglers Host Fishing Tournament
Service members and civilians gathered at Slayer Lake, in the shadow of Victory over Iran palace, to try and reel in the big one during the second annual Operation Catch Fish competition, March 7. Read More...
|MISSION CRITICAL INFO
Advertising and Sponsorship Opportunities Available!
National Military Resource Book!
Contact Megan Turak at sales@MilitaryFamilyNetwork.com for more details.
*Military Community Submissions:
If you have a story, song or photo that you would like to share with The Military Family Network, please contact Luis Trevino.
Get Seen! Get Heard! Join MFN's Referral Network!
The Military Family Network has connected and worked with media outfits of all kinds including ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC, Montel Williams, Dr. Phil Show, Sesame Street, AARP, Newsweek, Army Times, U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, Social Security, Department of Labor, Military OneSource, Reader's Digest, VFW, United Press International, Lifetime, etc. and countless newspapers around the world. These organizations contact MFN for a variety of reasons, but in each case, they want to hear from the military community.
If you are a service member, military family member or veteran and would like to be included in MFN's referral network for media opportunities, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your interest and contact information and Lou will be glad to include you for future opportunities.
Privacy Notice: The Military Family Network is committed to ensuring the privacy of our military community according to the Department of Defense and MFN does not release or sell information about individuals. In the event that you participate in MFN's referral network, you will be contacted by MFN about the opportunity first and if you are interested, you will be given the choice to provide MFN with permission to release your contact information (name, email or phone only) or be given the contact information to make the connection yourself. If you are an active member of the Armed Forces, it is always advisable to contact PAO for guidelines, permission, etc., before participating in public media opportunities.
| MILITARY FRIENDLY DEALS
Heading to Eglin AFB or Duke Field? Get in on a great deal!
This Florida home near Eglin AFB is currently FOR SALE by a staff volunteer of the Military Family Network who had to move to South Carolina because of her husband’s employment. The house was initially purchased for about $400,000+ and is only a few years old. However, because of the economy, they have been unable to sell the property and the price has come down, down, down. They realize that they will be taking a big loss on the home so before listing with an agent, they thought that perhaps their troubles could be another family’s opportunity. They are willing to negotiate and work with any interested buyer. So, check out this all brick beauty in a gated golf course community: We’ll leave the light on for you.
|ASK MFN'S MILITARY FAMILY EXPERT
If you didn’t happen to catch Robin’s newsletter debut in October, Robin is MFN’s Military Family Specialist. She is a regular feature to our monthly newsletter to help connect you with solutions to challenges in your military life. So, please meet Robin, a soldier of eighteen years and a family programs specialist. She will be your guide to keeping informed, being prepared and, well, mopping up messes if that’s what it takes! You can reach her by emailing email@example.com for some good old Q&A or you can sit back and keep reading as we introduce some of her fine work right here in MFN’s monthly newsletter. So, as they say, "On with the show!"
This month, Sandi writes:
To Whom It May Concern: How do you write the troops? I use the public library and am there about once a week. God Bless Our Troops!!"
And, Robin replies:
A once a week visit to the library is a great opportunity to write letters to service members. The best website I have found is called www.anysoldier.com. This website also includes other valuable information on what to send and to whom you can send items to. It will also give you links to other Services if you want to email a Soldier, Sailor, Marine or Air Force member. It's pretty self-explanatory on how to register.
In addition, internet is the best way to initially connect with a service member, if you don’t already know one. This is because the military will not deliver letters to service members that are not personally addressed, because of security concerns. So, to send a letter by mail, you must know the service member and his or her address. By following these guidelines, you can develop friendships online and then continue them later by mail.
Here are some tips on how to begin your letter:
1. Write a positive letter, showing your support for the soldiers who are putting their lives at risk. Perhaps you can tell the soldier something about yourself, but nothing too personal. Focus the letter on your appreciation for what the soldier is doing and on general topics that would likely be of interest. Perhaps write about sports or current events. Write in a conversational tone as if you were writing to an old friend.
2. Include your email address in the letter if you would like to hear back from the soldier. Many soldiers will respond in that manner. Include your address in the letter as envelopes tend to be tossed in the trash.
3. You may also want to include a self addressed envelope. This will make it easier for the service member to respond since some are in remote places.
4. Good luck in your journey in gaining a new pen pal. We hope you make a lot of new friends!
Peace out, Robin
| MFN BOOK CLUB
Your Military Family Network is Here! Order Your Copy Now!
"Your Military Family Network reference book is the most complete source of information for the active military, veterans and their families that I have seen. At first I just skimmed through it, but when I read the contents and your instructions on how to use this book, I realize this book was worth much more than the purchase price. Thank you for providing a helping hand for our military who have sacrificed so much for our freedom. Your book it is a treasure for me and for all military personnel." - Curt M., WWII veteran