CHERRY HILL, N.J -- An Army Reserve unit in Ashley, Pennsylvania, is ensuring connections between family members through its family readiness group.
The 361st Military Police Company's volunteer-run FRG is designed to support individuals and families through all stages of the unit's deployment. The company is scheduled to deploy, so its FRG is beginning to develop.
"Just having the program and identifying key leaders is a good start," said Sgt. 1st Class Robert Ingram, the training and operations noncommissioned officer in change for the 361st MP Co.
The unit's Soldiers and family members learned about what their FRG offers during a predeployment Yellow Ribbon event July 11-13 in Cherry Hill.
"The more volunteers the FRG has, the better," said Stacy Collins, a long-time FRG volunteer with the 200th MP Command, the 361st's parent unit, told attendees. "It's unrealistic to expect one person to do everything."
The FRG acts as a military life family counselor, provides leadership opportunities and referrals to services available to military families, and serves as a support network for families during a deployment, Collins said.
Lauren Terenyi, the wife of one of the Soldiers, sought out Collins after her presentation to discuss getting involved. Terenyi's husband is a military police officer with the 361st. She said she's grateful the FRG is available for families.
An FRG provides official, accurate command information to family members with online meetings, family activities and emails, Ingram said.
"We've begun compiling an email list and have emails going out," he said.
Families can stay informed of activities such as the unit's family day via email. Because donations are essential to providing family activities like a day at the ballpark, fundraising provides one opportunity for volunteer service, Collins said.
Erika Smith, the wife of the 361st's commander, volunteers as the unit's FRG leader. She works with Ingram to call, text or email information to platoon sergeants, platoon leaders and anyone involved in logistics, Ingram said.
Ingram is part of the full-time staff at the 361st MP Co. He works with Sgt. Micheal Reaves, the human resources noncommissioned officer in charge. Reaves serves as the FRG liaison, while Ingram plans everything.
The Army FRG website, http://www.armyfrg.org, is a secure site only available to Soldiers, Department of the Army civilians and their family members. The site provides family members with a valuable tool to access documents, view photos and videos, participate in forums, and gain important information about the unit their Soldier or Department of the Army civilian belongs to 24/7 from anywhere in the world.