Megan Lulay. Presentation:

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1 Megan Lulay Spouse to CPT Adam Lulay, Oregon Army National Guard Soldier of 8 years, mother of Abigail (4), and William (11 months old). Has been a past Family Readiness Group Coordinator Volunteer for husband s unit; Charlie Company 7/158 Aviation Medivac for 3 years. Experienced 3 years worth of separation due to husband s military trainings and schools, as well as an additional year of separation while husband was deployed to Iraq in Currently is a Family Readiness Support Assistant, a contractor with Military Personnel Services Corporation since Assigned to 41 Infantry Brigade Combat Team located at Camp Withycombe in Clackamas, Oregon. Presentation: Let me first introduce myself to everyone. My name is Megan Lulay. I am the spouse of CPT Adam Lulay of the Oregon Army National Guard and a mother of 2. Our daughter Abigail is 4 ½ years old and our son William will be turning 1 at the end of July. For the past 8 years since my husband and I have been together, we have experienced collectively 3 years separated due to his requirements of the military for trainings, school, drills, annual training, & now State Partnerships with other Countries. We have also experienced separation from his deployment to Iraq in with his former unit Charlie Company 7/158 Aviation Medivac. Before my husband was deployed to Iraq, our daughter was born 3 weeks after his departure to FT Sill, Oklahoma to finalize their training. We were extremely lucky that his Company Commander signed off on a 4 day pass to come and see our daughter be born (with 3 hours to spare) when I went into labor. While my husband was with Charlie Company 7/158 Aviation Medivac, I volunteered to be the Family Readiness Group Coordinator. From the end of 2007 till after the unit returned home from their deployment from Iraq at the end of January 2010, I enjoyed my time volunteering for the unit s Family

2 Program. I was very lucky that 11 additional volunteers came forward to help keep family members constantly informed of the status of the unit, send out monthly newsletters, and help with FRG events to bring those family members together during the time of separation. When Adam was deployed, we took advantage of modern technology (when it worked on his side) to Skype, , and also enjoy the rare times he was able to call home. To help our daughter Abigail learn how to recognize her daddy from afar, we printed many pictures of daddy for her to look at and had them in frames throughout our house. A daddy doll with his face on the front for her to snuggle up to, and we had a family member that printed a full length stand up of Adam that we were able to take him along family events (weddings, BBQs, and the fall family camping trip) so that he was always with us! Adam had an amazing chance at the main base he was stationed at in Iraq. The USO had a building that soldiers who had children could come in once a week (if they had time to) to pick out a story for their child, and have the ability to record on a mini DVD the soldier reading the story to their child. The USO then sent the story book and DVD at no charge to the soldier or to the family that special care package. The year that Adam was deployed, he was able to send 7 stories home to Abigail, which was another great tool for our daughter to know her daddy. We also sent home made movies back to Adam even though he was not with us, I didn t want him to miss and of Abigail s special milestones. Such as her crawling, taking her first steps, her first words of da-da spoken on Adam s birthday and the deep belly laugh that makes you laugh hard yourself. However, like most family members experiencing a deployment, what could go wrong did go wrong! Between the invasion of the sugar ants, outside irrigation pipes breaking and leaking water throughout the yard, and finally our roof leaking throughout our entire second story of our home! But the most difficult situation that our family went through, was receiving the 3 am phone call from my sister in law stating that Adam s mother, who at the time was battling breast cancer, was in the hospital and that her doctor strongly recommended that all immediate family be present as her battle against cancer was quickly loosing. Shortly after receiving that phone call, I made the Emergency Red Cross to bring Adam home so he could make it in time to say goodbye to her. It was the most stressful and emotional moment in our deployment aside from saying goodbye to him as he boarded the plane to leave for Iraq. After my husband Adam came home from Iraq in 2010, I decided to go back to work and applied for the Family Readiness Support Assistant (or FRSA), a contractor with Military Personnel Services Corporation. Assigned to 41 Infantry Brigade Combat Team at Camp Withycombe, Clackamas Oregon. I cover 1 st Battalion 186 th Infantry, 2 nd Battalion 162 nd Infantry, and 1 st Squadron 82 nd Cavalry, to assist the Commanders in the execution of Family readiness command responsibilities (per Army Regulation ) throughout all phases of the deployment cycle. The FRSAs mission statement is; to empower commanders in their duty to deliver the Total Army Family Program so that Soldiers and Families are entitled, informed, educated, assisted, and made ready for the unique demands of military life before, during, and after deployment. FRSAs typically do not provide

3 direct services to Soldiers and Families. This is typically the role of the Family Assistance Specialist, or FRG. Philosophies The following philosophies serve as foundations for the FRSAs program. You can use these to guide the execution of the FRSA Mission, and in the day-to-day performance of your duties. A Family Philosophy Providing programming that impacts Soldiers and Families is a special opportunity and requires a special mindset. For most in this line of work, it is much more than just a job. Families are often seen as the basic unit of society. As the family goes, so goes the community, state, and even nation. Much has been discovered in social science research to back this up. When it comes to Army Families, the breakdown of the family unit will lead to the breakdown of the Military Unit resulting in reduced retention, poorer mission readiness, and decreased mission accomplishment. If Army Families are well taken care of, the Command and Soldiers have a greater chance of mission success, retention and morale is high, and the Army and Nation as a whole are better off. FRSAs provide the command with eyes and ear on how families are impacted by military life, which in turn helps commands make decisions that create the best possible quality of life for the families. It s about Families. A Military Philosophy We need to recognize that we are part of a very busy and involved military. Soldiers vow to support and defend the constitution and in doing such their mission and duty are important and necessary in serving our Nation. If a Soldier is called to State Active Duty or an extended deployment, the Soldier must answer that call, which will, with no doubt, have an impact on their Family. FRSAs are in the position to minimize that impact. It s about Mission. The combination of these two philosophies creates an oft heard motto, Mission First, Families Always. This balance can and will be struck with the help of the FRSA Program. A Readiness Philosophy The key to the success of this program will be an emphasis on Family Readiness vs. Family Support. Several years ago, the Army changed the name of Family Support Groups to Family Readiness Groups to reframe the mentality of carrying, holding up, or propping up (synonyms of the word support ) Army Families to empowering them to become prepared, set, and equipped (synonyms of the word ready ). The title Family Readiness Support Assistant contains this emphasis. (However don t be confused. The word Support in the title does not refer to Family Support it refers to Support to the Commander.) FRSAs are an Assistant (to the Commander) that provides Support to the Readiness of the unit s Families. It might be easy to confuse the title as Family Readiness and Support Assistant. Don t make that mistake FRSAs are to focus on Family Readiness, not Family Support. Every action that FRSAs take should contribute to the Readiness of Soldiers and Families. It s about Readiness. To help prepare Soldiers and Families when time comes for the before, during and after a deployment, the Oregon Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program has created multiple events to help educate on the

4 organizations, resources, services, and also of the Soldiers and Families benefits they are entitled to during the different stages of a deployment. Before They Leave Events Service Members and their Families can attend 2 events prior to the Mobilization of the service member. The first event is the days prior to mobilization which is called Pre-Deployment. During this event the Yellow Ribbon Program recommends that soldiers and family members are educated on Family Communication and Operation Security (OPSEC), Tri-Care, Dental, FRG/FAS Outreach, Financial Planning, Military Family Life Consultant, Legal Readiness, etc days prior to mobilization is the next event called Before they Leave. This is where Marriage Enrichment programs become a priority to deploying soldiers and their significant other, additional Financial Planning classes, Child and Youth services, American Red Cross, ESGR, Military OneSource, etc. During Deployment Events days after the arrival in theatre, Family members are invited to attend While they are gone Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program event. During this event, family members can learn about Respite Day Care, handle Tri-Care issues, Unit Command Issues and Concerns, Rumor Control, Chaplain and Family Life Consultants to speak with, Community/Employer Support, etc. 30 days prior to Demobilization of the service member, Family members are welcome to attend Before the Welcome Home event. During this event, briefings or personnel are there to help families address Expectations of their service member coming home, Tri-Care Medical and Dental benefits, Youth reintegration, marriage enrichment programs coming up, the Demobilization process, and commander and Rear Det commander s priorities. Post Deployment Events Once the service member has arrived home, they are required to attend 3 post deployment events. 30/60/90 Post Deployment Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program events. Family members are invited to attend the 30/60 day post deployment events. During the post deployment 30 day event service members and Families will expect Management/Resolution Focused briefings and personnel. Some topics that are covered on are; connecting with children, relationship challenges, adjustment challenges, substance abuse issues, benefit issues and Tri-Care. During the post deployment 60 day event, service members and Families will expect a Resource focused event. Family Programs/JFSAP, Veterans Services, Psychological/relationships, Financial and ESGR. Finally the 90 day post deployment event. This is the only event where the service member will be attending the event, Family members cannot. The reason that this event is focused solely on the service

5 member is that this event is the Post Deployment Health Risk Assessment. Service members will be talking with a VA representative on their benefits, issues, handle Tri-Care issues and benefit changes, ESGR and Stress Management tips and course of actions to take. Questions???

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