REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. - Military life brings with it a unique array of challenges and often stressful conditions that can test the resiliency of Soldiers and their families.
As a result, Army Reserve Family Programs helps educate, empower and unify Soldiers and family members with resources designed to build resilience through resources available at their local Family Program Center as well as within their local communities.
Maj. Gen. A.C. Roper, commander of the 80th Training Command, has recognized that family separation is one of the unique challenges that comes with being a Soldier. To combat this issue, Roper has made developing ready and resilient Soldiers, as well as their families, one of his top five priorities.
In an effort to inform Soldiers and families of resilience resources available to them, the 80th Training Command held a Family Readiness and Resilience Resource Fair here Sept. 10, 2016.
During his opening speech, Roper, who attended the event with his wife Edith, said, while the Army Reserve requires a lot from its Soldiers, family support is a critical component of Soldiers' success. He reminisced about emails he'd exchanged with his daughters during a past deployment that kept him informed about family issues and activities. Those types of emails can bring someone to tears, he added, but that it really speaks to the fact that family members are in the fight with us, the Soldiers.
One of the trainings provided during the fair, was Master Resilience Training. During this training, 1st Lt. Kayla Duff, a human resource officer for the 80th TC, taught a technique titled "Hunt the Good Stuff". This technique aims to improve Soldiers and families resilience by enhancing one's optimism through identifying the positives in life. A skill that can help Soldiers and their families be better equipped to bounce back from the challenging situations they may face.
"I think in life there are always going to be challenges," said Duff. "I feel "Hunt the Good Stuff" reminds us it's important to take the time to recognize some of the good when things seem bad, it allows you to appreciate where you are and to be hopeful of where you are going."
Another training provided by the 80th TC's Suicide Prevention Program Manager, Dr. Alvin Moore, dealt with Suicide Prevention. This training was designed to help Soldiers and family members recognize the stressors they experience and what to do when those stressors out-weigh their coping mechanisms.
"The topic of suicide is usually avoided because there is often an uncertainty about what to say or what to do," said Moore. "The benefit of events like this is it promotes wellness, shows we care, and allows us to provide information before a crisis occurs. Information is power!"
In addition to these trainings, more than 20 local community partners participated in the event and showed their support and thanks for the Soldiers and families in attendance. Each community partner had a table set-up where they could explain the resources they provide and to answer specific questions Soldiers and family members may have.
"I think this is a fantastic event," said Maj. Marquis Wilson, interim commander for the 4-321st Logistics Support Battalion. "Whether you are a Soldier or a family member there was something that everybody could get out of this event."
Wilson also said that that there is a very good sense of community and a love for the military in the Huntsville Ala. area, which was evident at the fair.