By Sgt. 1st Class Christopher DeHartOctober 2, 2012
FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas (Oct. 2, 2012) -- Post leaders cut the ribbon for the newly remodeled Survivor Outreach Services office, Sept. 29, to officially open the facility and to honor Gold Star Mothers and families.
More than 100 survivors, family, friends and community members attended the ceremony at the Fort Sam Houston Theater, which hosted the event for the outreach facility dedicated to those who have lost service members.
"To our Gold Star Mothers and family members here today: Thank you for making the trip," said Maj. Gen. Adolph McQueen Sr., deputy commanding general for support, U.S. Army North. "Whether it was a few blocks or many hours of travel, we are glad you could be here."
McQueen followed on the heels of Debbie Agnew, a Gold Star Mother and keynote speaker for the event. Agnew's son, Staff Sgt. Clint Newman, was killed by insurgents during an improvised-explosive device attack while serving in Afghanistan, Feb. 13, 2006. He was assigned to the 321st Civil Affairs Brigade here.
Agnew said of all the things she learned from her experiences and ordeal, there was one thing that made the biggest impact in her life and it was because of the help she received from Survivor Outreach Services, or SOS.
"No matter how horrible the situation we may find ourselves in, there is always something to be positive about," said Agnew. "It's not about the storms we must weather but about learning to dance in the rain. I would love to say I learned all this on my own, but I had many people who were there for me along the way."
And while it was a lesson she learned over time, she knew that she was not along following the death of her son Clint.
"I began to understand what the term 'Army family' truly meant," she said. "The help we receive is not just to honor the lives of our fallen loved ones but to help us accept the situation and the reality of what has happened and to be able to move on from that. I thought that was harsh at first, but I see now how important it was."
Agnew said she was very glad to have what SOS offered and that she felt the new facility would expand on the support for the families.
It will be a place to be proud of -- as well as appreciated, she added, and having a facility such as this is important.
"We share the same loss; we understand each other, and we know there is no need for excuses," Agnew said, in talking about the bond Gold Star Mothers and families share with one another.
It is important, added McQueen, that the military community maintain its close ties and strong support for its military family members.
"SOS was born out of the recognizable need to never stop supporting our Gold Star families in our community," he said. "When we are far away from home, our families are something to be cherished eternally. You will never be left out in the cold -- you will always be a part of our family."
For more information on SOS and what it can do for you if you need their assistance, contact the SOS staff at 210-221-0275/9500 or 210-466-1168.