Fort Bragg Survivor Outreach Service opens doors to Families
SOS02 Surviving spouse, Teresa Priestner, speaks at the grand opening ceremony for the Survivor Outreach Services building on Feb. 1. Her husband, Chief Warrant Officer John R. Priestner, was killed when his AH-64D Apache helicopter crashed in Balad, Iraq, Nov. 6, 2006.

FORT BRAGG, N.C. - The Army Community Service held a grand opening ceremony for the Survivor Outreach Services Center Feb. 2.

The office is located in Building 2-1361 at the corner of Knox and Macomb Streets and provides various services to the Families of deceased Soldiers.

"We are here to dedicate this building, although we wish we never had to open it," said Chaplain (Col.) Chester Egert, XVIII Airborne Corps chaplain. "We pray that the survivors can come here and find hope and encouragement."

Also in attendance were: Lt. Gen. Frank Helmick, commander of XVIII Abn. Corps; Maj. Gen. Michael S. Repass, commander of U.S. Army Special Forces Command; Brig. Gen. Katherine P. Kasun. deputy commanding general of U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command; and Col. Stephen J. Sicinski, Fort Bragg garrison commander.

According to the Stand-To! Web site, by expanding and improving services to Families of the fallen, S.O.S ensures a holistic and multi-agency approach that provides comprehensive and consistent levels of service at the installation level and across all components to reach geographically dispersed Families.

S.O.S. will provide extended financial counseling assistance and long-term support to surviving Family members, ensuring that surviving Families' concerns are addressed expeditiously and to the full extent of the covenant with the Army Family.

"This is so important to (the survivors)," said Teresa Priestner, whose husband was killed in action on Nov. 6, 2006. "It is more important than I could ever explain. Widowhood is not something we asked for, and trying to explain it is like trying to explain how water tastes."

Priestner acknowledged the Vietnam widows in the crowd as the catalysts for getting the program up and running. She said the "new generation of survivors" wanted to expand and improve what was already in place.

"We are always a part of the Army Family, but where do we fit in'" Priestner asked. "We now a have a building - a place where we can go to get our questions answered and help when we need it."

In the coming months, the S.O.S will host support groups for parents and spouses, career support seminars, mental health classes, debt classes, Tricare seminars and benefits classes. For more information, call 396-0384.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16