Family Life Chaplain (Maj.) Mark Jacobs speaks with participants at the garrison's Casualty Response Team training. The Fort Meade Mobilization and Deployment Office at Army Community Service established the CARE team of volunteers to help military families deal with death, serious illness, injury or other tragic events by assisting with ordinary tasks that may become an afterthought during a time of crisis.

FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. (July 12, 2012) -- A casualty is a tragedy.

For any family, the death of a loved one can be among the most difficult challenges they can face. It also can be a very stressful and draining ordeal.

One of the great things about the Army is a strong desire among Soldiers and their families to help others. Perhaps this impulse comes naturally to an organization of volunteers dedicated to selfless service.

It is also why a loss to any military family is really a loss to us all, and why there is no one more deserving of our care and support.

Fort Meade's Mobilization and Deployment Office at Army Community Service is establishing a Casualty Response Team of volunteers to help our military families in times of crisis.

The National Capital Region will now have coverage through two CARE Teams between Fort Belvoir, Va., and Fort Meade.

The CARE team is responsible for helping families deal with a death, serious illness or injury, or other tragic event by assisting with simple, ordinary tasks that may become an afterthought during a time of crisis.

The CARE Team exists as another family resource to the established services that include casualty assistance, chaplain services and Survivor Outreach Services. At no time does the CARE team duplicate or replace any part of these services.

In addition, a family always has the option to accept or to decline a CARE Team's services.

Some examples of what a CARE Team does includes:

* Answering phones, screening calls and visitors

* Arranging help with household matters, rescheduling appointments, running errands and providing meal support

* Baby-sitting or making temporary child care arrangements

* Maintaining a log of questions for the casualty assistance officer or unit commander/rear detachment commander

* Assisting visiting family members and friends with installation access and/or lodging

The time frame for the CARE Team is very specific, 24 to 72 hours.

A CARE Team does not make funeral arrangements or provide information about benefits/entitlements or offer any type of counseling.

CARE Team volunteers are not trained as grief counselors, but rather to provide assistance and comfort.

CARE Team services are available to active-duty service members and their families on Fort Meade and within a 25-mile radius outside the gate, and to deployed DoD civilians and their families, as well as the family members of service members.

Garrison Commander Col. Edward C. Rothstein reserves the right to make exceptions to the existing parameters of the Fort Meade CARE Team.

Volunteer recruitment and training are conducted by Army Community Service.

Pia Morales, Mobilization and Deployment Program manager, is the point of contact for the Fort Meade CARE Team.

Volunteers undergo a day of training to prepare them for dealing with a crisis. The team will meet regularly for workshops and to expand its training.

Units or organizations that would like to put an in-house CARE Team in place, should contact Morales to discuss their needs.

Applications for the CARE Team are now being accepted.

If you have similar experience in crisis support or would like to be trained as a part of the Fort Meade CARE Team, email Pia Morales at pia.s.morales.civ@mail.mil or call her at 301-677-4110.

Page last updated Wed July 11th, 2012 at 16:11