Care teams meet, stay ready for family crises
May 16, 2013
FORT SILL, Okla.-- Should tragedy strike a Steel Warriors' family, the 1st Battalion, 14th Field Artillery family care team wants to make sure the battalion can provide the best support possible to the family.
The family care team held its monthly meeting May 10 at Building 3423 to discuss information in case a crisis should arise.
The team is composed of civilian volunteers who received training from Fort Sill's Army Community Service and social work services counselors to help better prepare them for dealing with a family crisis if it were to happen.
Care teams are not a new concept to the Army. Early in the Global War on Terrorism, they became an important complement to the casualty notification process. Care team support could be offered to the family upon notification of a serious incident of a service member. The practice of providing military family support to spouses and family became standardized, and the family care teams continue to expand in that role.
The team is responsible for helping families deal with a loss through a deployment, accident or other tragic events, by simply helping with everyday tasks that one may let fall to the wayside in a time if crisis.
"Some of those tasks could be providing meals, shopping, picking up family members from the airport and helping with hotel arrangements ... or just anything that needs to be done at the home," said Amanda Alexander, a Gold Star Family member and 1-14th FA family care team coordinator.
Meetings happen monthly to discuss different avenues of approach and to have guest speakers come in to continue educating care team members beyond the initial one-hour training that they receive, said Alexander.
"By continuing to educate team members, we hope to give them the most up-to-date information and greatest amount of resources before they go into a grieving family's home," she said.
Team member Michelle Bassett has been part of a family care team for about 10 years now. Though fairly new to the battalion's care team, she served on a team when her husband was in the Marines.
"I believe the training you receive from ACS and social work services lets people know if this is something they can handle or not," said Bassett. "A lot of times people will go through the training and realize it is not for them."
She said it taught family care team members to control their emotions when they meet with a family in need.
Melissa Diley, another care team member, believes holding the monthly meetings gives team members insight on what it needs to prepare for if a crisis happens.
"I believe the main source that we have in our family care team is that we have a Gold Star Family member," she said. "Amanda Alexander is amazing and provides a lot of valuable information on what has worked and what has not.
"I think having Amanda on the care team makes this team a phenomenal group of people because of the wisdom she has shared," said Diley. "I am honored to be part of this family care team and very pleased with the commitment from everyone on the team."