In the fall I sent several carefully worded letters to our local chapters of the American Red Cross asking them to consider including Flat Daddies in their funding proposals for the upcoming year. I got a few responses thanking me for the info but didn’t hear anything more about it.
Until last night, when I saw on the news that our local chapter was passing out information about their new Flat Daddy program on the local Air Force base! It’s not everywhere and it certainly wasn’t just because I wrote a couple letters, but everyone who wrote and asked them to consider Flat Daddies should be proud. Yes, your one little voice really can make a difference! Hundreds of families at the local AF base have deployments of 3 to 6 months every year and now they too can have a little extra comfort from a Flat Mommy or Daddy. Way to go everybody! Didn’t get a chance to write last year? Not to fret, you’ll have another chance…
Ultimately I’d really like to see more attention brought to the families in our position. Many Guard families are in uncharted territory when their loved one deploys. Sometimes they’re far from military bases, sometimes they’re near a base but it’s a different branch of service. Every branch has their own lingo and routines and if you’re used to something else it can be tough bridging the gap. Sometimes they haven’t had any real interaction with Active Duty military and have no idea what’s going on. Suddenly they’re throw into an Active Duty situation with no adjustment time to cushion the blow. It’s a scary and confusing time for everyone, and it can be a lot harder when your whole world is suddenly turned upside down with pay cuts and health care changes, etc. We’re so far from RJ’s unit that I see the real gaps in the system firsthand, and someday I hope to be able to make some changes in that.
Reach out to those around you, military or civilian. There may be friends or family who have lost jobs or are losing homes, or people who are just feeling a little lonely and scared, and a kind word from you can help to ease their fears. Let’s take care of each other, and be safe out there!!