Since Sept. 11, 2001, the landscape for service members, veterans and their families has changed dramatically. More than 2.1 million service members have deployed since October 2001 (Negrusa, Negrusa, & Hosek, 2013). When they returned home, they often faced reintegration challenges, and as they joined the growing veteran population, they often did so having experienced visible and invisible wounds of war. All of these issues impact those they love.
Communities sought to support these men, women, and their families in meaningful ways, but didn’t always know how. Recognizing this, the Department of Defense (DOD), USDA, the Military Family Research Institute at Purdue University and the National Military Family Association joined together to create “How to Help Military and Veteran Families,” resources that will put information in the hands of those want to make a difference for service members, veterans and their families.
These publications provide a wealth of information for medical and legal professionals, neighbors, faith-based organizations, teachers, and others looking for ways to help. They are filled with evidence-based guidance. Now, we are partnering with eXtension and planning a series of “How to Help” webinars to help Extension educators and others learn more about the series, and how best to use it to help military and veteran families. Our first webinar is October 7 at 2:00 PM EDT. Connection information can be found here: https://learn.extension.org/events/1237.
As Director of the Military Family Research Institute, I am looking forward to participating in the first webinar, which is designed to help answer some of your questions about the publications. I’m honored to be joined at the virtual podium by a panel of leaders who are working every day on behalf of military and veteran families: Brent Elrod, National Program Leader – Rural and Community Development for USDA/NIFA; Eddy Mentzer, Senior Policy and Management Analyst with the Office of the Secretary of Defense; and Joyce Raezer, Executive Director of the National Military Family Association. These folks, and their respective organizations, are taking great steps on behalf of military and veteran families.
We hope you will take time out of your day to join us for this inaugural webinar. We’ve also scheduled time for your questions about the series. We look forward to this joint endeavor to make a difference in military and veteran families. We thank you for all that you are doing on their behalf.
Please share this information with community leaders and others who may find this information helpful.
Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth, Ph.D., is Professor of Human Development and Family Studies,
Director of Purdue University’s Center for Families, and Director of the Military Family Research Institute at Purdue University.
Negrusa, S., Negrusa, B., & Hosek, J. (2013). Gone to war: Have deployments increased divorces? Journal of Economic Population. doi:10.1007/s00148-013-0485-5