By Mrs. Melissa Buckley (Leonard Wood)June 4, 2015
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (June 4, 2015) -- Caring for loved ones, especially wounded warriors, can sometimes feel overwhelming, which is why USO representatives were on Fort Leonard Wood May 28 to host the 2015 Spring USO Caregivers Seminar at Pershing Community Center.
This is the first time the USO has hosted the seminar on Fort Leonard Wood.
Conducted by USO Warrior and Family Programs, and in collaboration with USO Missouri, the seminar was open to spouses and caregivers of wounded, ill and injured service members, health care support staff and other community advocates from the surrounding area.
During the conference, special guest presenters shared their expertise during a range of sessions. Some of those sessions included sessions on strategies for addressing challenging behaviors and laughter as medicine -- staying hopeful.
According to Susan Thomas, USO Warrior and Family Programs vice president, the USO Caregivers Seminar is an opportunity for military caregivers to connect with other caregivers in their community and to receive practical advice from field experts with information about resources and organizations available to support them as military caregivers.
"Military caregivers often tend to be spouses or other Family members of wounded, ill or injured troops who are not medical professionals and do not get a break from the daily challenges of caregiving," Thomas said.
Some of the information the caregivers received was about resources and tools for improving their own lives.
"They received tips from field experts on living healthier, taking time out for self, coping with compassion, fatigue, among many of the other common obstacles faced by military caregivers," Thomas said.
Kimberly Hulett, Warrior Transition Unit Family Readiness Support assistant, attended the seminar.
"I have a professional and personal reason for being here. I work a lot with the WTU Soldiers and Families who care for them, and I care for my husband, as well," Hulett said. "I have learned, that as a caregiver, I need to take care of myself first before I can take care of someone else."
The USO invited organizations with a long-standing history of supporting troops and their Families to join the seminar.
"In the past, presenters have included representatives from the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, Easter Seals, Stronger Families and Comfort Crew for Military Kids," Thomas said.
The day long seminar was free to military caregivers and included child care assistance.
"We recognize that the needs of our military and their Families are ever-changing, and this is why the USO continues to assess the landscape and ensure we are developing and updating our programs to reflect these changes. This is why we are proud to continue to support our nation's caregivers with customized programs in a smaller setting where they can learn from one another as much as they learn from those who are presenting throughout the day," Thomas said.
In the past, the USO hosted seminars biannually, but in 2015 they are hosting four seminars. In addition to the one at Fort Leonard Wood, they are hosting seminars in Colorado, Washington and Texas.
For more information or for questions related to childcare, program content and exhibitor questions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 703.908.6472.