Helping Soldiers and Families Readjust after Reuniting - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

08/06/06

Helping Soldiers and Families Readjust after Reuniting

A happy couple exchanges a kiss after renewing their vows on Sunday. A happy couple exchanges a kiss after renewing their vows on Sunday.

They've taken time away from their jobs and their families to serve their country, now the military is giving something back to it's service members and their families. Dozens of military couples renewed their vows at the Savannah Riverfront Marriott on Sunday. They're among more than 200 military couples and single service members who attended a special conference held by chaplains with the Georgia Army National Guard this weekend.

The "Strong Bonds" married and single soldier retreat program is put on through the U.S. Army Reserve Chaplain and Regional Readiness Command Chaplain's Office. It's designed to help couples and single soldiers readjust to their lives and their families after returning to civilian life, something that can be especially difficult when they're finally back together after going off to war, or even after just living apart.

The Womacks understand this firsthand. Staff Sergeant Tommie Womack and his wife Sergeant First Class Veronica Womack both work as recruiters for the Georgia Army National Guard, but their jobs require them to live in separate places. Although the couple spends weekends together, things don't always go as planned.

"Because we have these different expectations and we're not even talking about it, we tend to disappoint each other and then it can lead to an argument, so there goes the weekend," explained Sergeant First Class Veronica Womack.

She said the seminar has helped.

"Now we know we need to come together, listen to each other, talk to each other more about what our expectations are and then communicate if our expectations aren't being met," she said.

Georgia Army National Guard Chaplain Colonel John Owings said the conference is about building strong relationships.

"We realize that military families have a particular hard time in their relationships because of what the nation requires them to do and we put a lot of responsibility on them and their families," Colonel Owings explained. "This is to give them back a little bit, saying, we appreciated you. What can we do to help you in your relationship, particularly, if you're married, if you're dating if you're single. We've had people, who are divorced, who say, "I'm now a single soldier. I want to understand what it takes to build a strong relationship because the last one was not strong."

Military families who would like to sign up for an upcoming retreat should contact their respective Regional Readiness Command or organizational chaplain's office. In Georgia and South Carolina, call (205) 795-1699. Retired and discharged soldiers should call (314) 592-0356.

Reported by: Liz Flynn, lflynn@wtoc.com

 

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