FORT SILL, Okla., June 29, 2017 -- The second annual Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) Art Gallery Night was held at the Patriot Club the evening of June 22. The reception featured hors d'oeurves and classy music from the 77th Army Band's Scrap Metal Brass Band.

Jennifer Aguirre, EFMP manager, said last year's show was a huge success. "Our families love the Painting and Juice Box events." (A family version of Painting and Wine.) "At the end of the classes we have the art gallery so they can show off their artwork."

The young artists brought their families, grandparents, caregivers, and friends to the gallery.

Art teacher Amanda Truelove taught the participants to model their work on three themes: an elephant, the peace sign, and a fanciful monster. The works were executed in tempera paint using vivid colors by students ranging in age from 3 to 19, with a few parents also creating masterpieces.

Truelove's own samples, made to inspire the students' interpretations, were also displayed.

Cathy Wilson, systems navigator for the EFMP, said she appreciated the subject of the peace sign "because of what we are going through in America." She provides non-medical case management to link family members with community resources.

The painting of an elephant with a bird perched on its trunk was chosen as the event poster. The artist Kalynn McDonough, age 10, said she had seen a video of elephants with bird friends, and that inspired her to paint her elephant with its own friend.

The EFMP program helps family members with physical, emotional, developmental, or intellectual disorders obtain specialized services. It coordinates with agencies in the local community to provide housing, medical, educational, and personnel services beyond what is available on post.

"The Exceptional Family Member Program is designed so that if a Soldier is going to a new duty station, that services are available for family members: medical, psychological, special education," said Aguirre. " If they need any kind of specialty care we want to make sure they're enrolled so they don't PCS (permanent change of station) to a location where they don't have services."

Participants in the EFMP can be children, spouses, adult dependents such as aging parents and/or incapacitated children over the age of 21, of whom the Soldier has court-appointed guardianship.

"We're very honored to be able to provide an event like this," said Aguirre. "Our director, Brenda Spencer-Ragland, has been fantastic and supportive, as well as Jean Mills, Army Community Services (ACS) director. We want a special thank you to go to out to the thrift store because they paid for the hors d'oeurves for the event."

For more information on the EFMP, call ACS at 580-442-4916.