“YOU are the front line of defense for your warrior,” said the Family Readiness officer at the reintegration brief prior to my husband’s return from a year-long tour in Afghanistan.
This combat veteran who successfully battled Post Traumatic Stress told the group of assembled spouses and family members that spouses were the front line of defense-- because we know our warriors better than anyone else.
I knew that was true. We spouses know our servicemembers prior to combat, prior to TDY, prior to months and months of deployment.
We spouses may live on that front line of defense for our warriors and our family members, but we are not alone. We are not confined to searching for answers online late. We are surrounded by real people.
That’s why the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) puts together the Warrior Family Symposium every year in the DC Metro area.
We know that military spouses are among the busiest people on the planet. So wehave come up with 5 reasons why YOU should be at the 2013 Warrior Family Symposium because an important factor in its success just can’t be substituted – it’s YOU!
1. Knowledge is power! This is an opportunity to receive the correct information on policies and programs that impact OUR community, OUR families, and OUR warriors (see point 4 -- YOU are essential to the conversation). Also, learn about the innovative and creative ways the Department of Defense (DoD) and Veterans Administration (VA) are tackling the mental health challenges facing our veterans, warriors, and their families.
2. It will provide you an opportunity to ask questions and raise concerns directly with the “powers that be” — the folks making the policies, developing the program, and providing care to our communities.
3. The agenda includes a great mix of local and national celebrities, congressional representatives, senior government and military leaders. Be entertained, engaged and most of all - informed. This year's theme is “Mental Health: Linking Warriors and their Families, Government, and Society.”
4. Let’s be honest - you can’t have a “Warrior-Family Symposium” without family members in attendance. Your voice is essential to the conversation.
And, if that isn’t enough ...
5. It’s FREE -- and a continental breakfast and lunch are included. A full day of learning, sharing, and networking right in the heart of DC. This year’s location is at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C.
I hope you will join me at the Warrior Family Symposium on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013 from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C.
This year's WFS will focus on the theme “Mental Health: Linking Warriors and their Families, Government, and Society,” and is co-hosted by the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) and the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA.)
I'll save a seat for you!
Karen Golden serves as a Deputy Director, Government Relations (Military Family Issues) at the Military Officers Association of America. Karen is a Social Worker, Marine Corps Spouse, and mother of three.