By Tina Ray, ParaglideAugust 17, 2009
If Soldiers or their Families sometimes feel overwhelmed by arriving on a new installation, Fort Bragg offers a newcomers' orientation to help facilitate the transition.
Sponsored by Army Community Service, the class is available every Wednesday in the Soldier Support Center on Normandy Drive, said Mary-ann Nunns, relocation specialist with Morale, Welfare and Recreation.
As a military spouse, Nunns' arrival to Fort Bragg came in 1991. A native of Grenada, Mary-ann met her husband, Terry, when the U.S. invaded the country, she said. Terry is an U.S. Army Special Forces veteran.
Mary-ann had a lot to learn about the military and life on Fort Bragg. Her job now is to make it easier for Soldiers and their Families to do the same.
"When one relocates or moves from one place to another, it's a challenge and it can be stressful," Mary-ann said. "So what we like to do is provide Soldiers and their Families with information about the services that we have at Fort Bragg."
And so it was that at the newcomers' orientation held Aug. 5, Mary-ann lined up a list of guest speakers representing programs including the Financial Readiness Program, Tricare, American Red Cross, Family readiness group, Exceptional Family Member Program, Army Family Team Building and Family Advocacy Program. Spokespersons from Troy University, Fayetteville Technical Community College, and Child Youth Services were also available.
Mary-ann coordinated with the 82nd Airborne Division War Memorial; JFK Special Warfare; Airborne and Special Operations; and Fascinate-U Children's museums to disseminate information to the Families.
The class also offered information about other attractions such as the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, N.C., area wineries, Jambbas Ranch and the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro, N.C.
Stephanie Eilert, 23, and husband, Capt. Wojciech Zajac, of 3rd Battalion, 1st Special Warfare Training Group, have been married nearly a year. Eilert said that she just arrived on Fort Bragg from Brazil in July and found the orientation very helpful.
"I really enjoyed it," Eilert said. "It was really helpful for me."
She said that she plans to visit different sites around Fayetteville.
Eilert is not alone in those plans.
Kate Jensen also arrived on Fort Bragg in July. Her husband, Pvt. Kyle Jensen, is a member of the 108th Military Police Company, 16th MP Brigade. Kate said she has stayed home a lot, not sure of what to do on the post or around Fayetteville.
"I appreciate being told that there were things to do around Fayetteville other than sit around my house," Jensen said.
She said she also enjoyed learning about area colleges and athletic programs.
Jensen exchanged telephone numbers with Kelly Henson, another Family member and the two plan to keep in touch.
"I made a friend," said Henson, who moved to Fort Bragg from Texas a few weeks ago.
Zajac said the class provides a wealth of information for newcomers.
"It's a good starting point for my wife to be introduced to services that the Department of Defense provides to Families," he said.
For more information about newcomers' orientation, call 907-3499.