Support For Military Families

Just a week after two Nebraska soldiers were killed in Iraq, local families with loved ones serving overseas came together Sunday. A picnic was held at the Miller-Long VFW post here in Lincoln, giving military families a chance to share the afternoon with others who understand their situation. The local Red Cross support group for military families has been meeting regularly since the war in Iraq began. They say they will keep supporting each other until every soldier comes home.

Specalist Tyler Weers returned to Lincoln earlier this month after 14 months in Kuwait. He says his mother was a member of the support group for the entire time he was overseas…and he is grateful for what they have done for her and others like her. “It really helps them out to be with others who are in the same position they're in to have someone serving overseas.”

According to Red Cross officials, events like Sunday's picnic are especially important to parents of soldiers, who often don't get as much support as spouses and children. Today, one mother shared this video with the group. Her son, Private First Class Rick Wagner, sent it to her from Iraq as a present for Mother's Day. Jerry Christen understands what it's like to have a son overseas. His son spent 11 months in Iraq, and is now in Germany. He says the recent deaths of Seargent 1st Class Linda Tarango Griess and Seargent Jeremy Fischer hit close to home for the families in the group. “It's drastic and it's tragic and it's happening more and more and they're still over there.”

And that's why VFW Post Commander Alan Budt says support for the troops, and their families, is so important.  “We need to support our troops. Whether the war is right or wrong, we support our troops.”  Red Cross Officials say anyone with a family member serving in the military is welcome to join the support group. They especially encourage parents of soldiers to participate. For more information on the group or to get involved, you can call (402) 441-7997.