Soldiers and Families with the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team "Raiders" attended a unit predeployment fair April 4 at the William "Bill" Reed Special Events Center to receive information and gain necessary resources for a successful nine-month deployment to Afghanistan in support of the 4th Infantry Division.
The purpose of the fair is to help prepare Soldiers and their Families for an extended period of time apart by offering a multitude of resources located in one area.
"The predeployment fair brings together agencies and resources from across Fort Carson and the surrounding areas into one spot, which makes it easy for Soldiers and their Families to get the knowledge and resources they need to help get through this upcoming deployment," said 1st Lt. John Eagen, 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 1st SBCT, 4th Inf. Div. "A Soldier who knows that everything is taken care of at home is focused on the task at hand."
The 1st SBCT will replace 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, which is currently deployed to Afghanistan.
The Families had the chance to visit a variety of agencies during the event to gather resources for when their loved ones are deployed, said 1st Lt. Mikal Koss, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st SBCT.
"The big focus of this is support and resiliency," said Eagen. "Just preparing the Families as a unit to deal with things that come up back home. (Preparing the Families) helps mitigate stress in the family as a whole."
Soldiers who have been in the military for a long time can remember a time when these resources were not so readily available.
"When I started (in the military) 18 years ago, I wasn't aware of the resources the installation had to offer," said 1st Sgt. Matthew Olson, 1st Bn., 38th Inf. Reg., 1st SBCT. "I think this is a good opportunity for spouses to see all the activities and resources available to them while their spouse is deployed. This event gives the young Soldiers and their Families a sense of community."
Until this event, many of Olson's Soldiers did not understand how valuable the information would be.
Many of the spouses attending the event said they were grateful to have the Army support programs to help while their loved ones are away.
"I feel that this has gone very well," said Jennifer Larson, Family readiness group leader for Company B, 4th Bn., 9th Inf. Reg., 1st SBCT. "We have had a great turn-out, and it has been very beneficial to the Soldiers and their Families."
Soldiers are excited about the upcoming deployment, knowing their Families will have support while they are gone.
"I am glad that my wife will have all the resources available to her," said Simon Dechenne, HHC, 1st SBCT. "It brings peace of mind while I get ready for my first deployment."