By Staff Sgt. Paige BehringerDecember 12, 2018
SACKETS HARBOR, New York - - Half of the Commando brigade's families are missing loved ones this holiday season with around 2,000 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division Soldiers currently deployed to Kosovo and Afghanistan.
Volunteers from the United Services Organization took notice of the brigade's deployment timeline and planned a special event to boost holiday cheer.
On December 5, USO volunteers welcomed around 160 family members of deployed 2BCT Soldiers to a holiday party in Sackets Harbor, New York, of the brigade's partnered communities.
"Their Soldier(s) just left in the October timeframe, and it's a very stressful and sad time to be alone during the holidays," said Laura Wallace, USO Fort Drum Center operations and programs. "I wanted to give them a night where they didn't have to cook, they could let their children run loose in a safe environment and listen to some good music."
Lights and garlands adorned the Sackets Harbor Ballroom entrance where Commando family members waited in line for a chance to see St. Nick.
Meghan Eiermann, spouse of deployed 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment Soldier, said the USO party meant bringing families together to create a support system.
"I know from experience how hard it is to sit at home with no friends or family around to talk to," Eiermann added. "Having support from organizations that fully understand what you are going through can be such a life saver for many. Having something to look forward to, or to have someone to talk with can make the deployment that much easier for the families."
Throughout the night, Commando spouses and children did holiday themed crafts, ate snacks and danced.
The musical guest, Rick Monroe, a recurring USO supporter, drove with his band from Nashville to play a special concert for the families. Wallace credits the party's success to community support and sponsors like Monroe.
"Personally, as a military spouse myself, I felt that not enough emphasis is placed on the spouses and children that are left behind in a deployment," Wallace said. "The USO does a spectacular job in entertaining and caring for our Soldiers, and this year we wanted to put a little more effort into the children and spouses of 2BCT."
The USO hopes to make holiday parties for deployed Soldiers' families a tradition in the future.
"I so appreciate all that the Fort Drum community does for our families, especially the ones with deployed Soldiers," Eiermann said.