By Cheryl Harrison, Army Community ServiceJanuary 22, 2010
FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- Survivor Outreach Services ensures Families of Soldiers who lost their lives in the defense of our country do not go unnoticed.
And more importantly, it is a commitment to deceased Soldiers' survivors that they will not be forgotten.
The program is a joint effort with collaboration from the Installation Management Command, Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command, Casualty and Mortuary Affairs Operation Center, the Army National Guard and Army Reserve.
SOS standardizes casualty services and policies across the Army and provides additional staffing at Casualty Assistance Centers and Active Component and Reserve Component Family Programs.
SOS responds to the need for specialized staff at Casualty Assistance Centers to help casualty assistance officers support survivors, as well as adding additional staff who have the sole mission of providing continuing support to survivors.
A relatively new Department of the Army program, SOS demonstrates the Army's commitment to fulfilling the Army Family Covenant by providing support to active, reserve, and Army National Guard surviving Families for as long as they desire.
After a loved one is lost, unresolved issues or questions that may surface months or even years later.
SOS provides support through benefit coordinators, financial counselors and support coordinators with individualized attention.
Benefits coordinators provide expertise on local, state and federal benefits. They also work with casualty assistance officers, provide the surviving Family with assistance in order to understand and apply for benefits.
Financial counselors provide assistance to surviving Families through investment and estate planning education.
They also work closely with benefits coordinators, Army Long Term Family Case Management, and legal assistance to address the needs of surviving Families.
Support coordinators function as long-term support, facilitating support groups, providing life skills education and connecting survivors with counseling resources.
Coordinators also work closely with benefits coordinators, casualty assistance officers, and Army Long Term Family Case Management to ensure survivors receive their necessary services.
Jennifer Koranyi, Survivor Outreach Service coordinator for FSH said, "This program has been a long time coming and is needed.
"A lot of times survivors simply do not know who to turn to and we are here to connect those Family members with the people who can help find the right support."