Lynda MacFarland

Over the years, my husband has been gone quite a bit and we miss each other a lot, even after 32 years of marriage. Or maybe because of that fact and because this is our eighth deployment!

The really amazing thing about our Army families is that, even when we are separated by an ocean — or a continent or two — we are never really very far apart. And that’s because, for most of us, we are still connected at the heart. I do believe that “distance between two hearts is not an obstacle, rather a beautiful reminder of just how strong love can be.” — Anonymous.

And, while that is certainly true for my soldier and me, I have a sneaking suspicion that it is also the case for many of the Army spouses who are reading this. I hope so, anyway! If your soldier is home right now, that’s fabulous. But there have been, and probably will be, times when they will be away again. And you have to remember that ‘heart connection.’

Time and distance shouldn’t matter when the love and commitment are there.

But I know first hand that life is hard sometimes, whether we are in the midst of deployment or our soldier is home, when things happen and we find ourselves struggling. Remember that there are chaplains and behavioral health professionals within our units and in the greater Fort Hood community who stand ready and willing to help when life is too challenging to handle on our own.

Soldiers should know how to get the help they need from their units. Spouses, in addition to those unit assets, the garrison chaplains’ office, Army Community Services (ACS) staff or Military Family Life Counselors are available to assist you with life’s more difficult situations. Don’t hesitate to use one of these resources to get the help you need.

There are classes for dads and for moms, too, in New Parent Support. If you want to volunteer some time to a worthwhile cause, there’s a Volunteer Corps office to help you find the perfect organization or place to suit your interests on and off post. If you want to learn more about resiliency, the Mobilization and Deployment office has free resiliency classes.

And speaking of resilience, Fort Hood’s Resiliency campus offers nutrition classes as well as health assessments to set up a physical fitness program for each soldier and family member. Check it out.

Another amazing resources is Military OneSource. They offer counseling 24/7, face-to-face if you have Skype on your phone or computer. They also have education and employment links. Of particular interest to Army spouses is the Department of Defense Spouse Education and Career Opportunities program, or SECO. There are career counselors waiting to assist you for free.

You can also dial 2-1-1 when you don’t know who to call. There is information on an impressive number of area and statewide resources for just about any challenge you or a family member may face.

Army families are diverse in their makeup and in their interests and beliefs. But some things we hold in common is our love of our country that our soldiers defend and a love for our families, as well. If you find you need help, don’t be afraid to ask.

We are about selfless service and we are about living for something beyond ourselves. Be proud of who you are, but also humble enough to know that there is always room for improvement, in lots of places — including in our own lives and in the lives of others.

Here are links and phone numbers for the resources I mentioned:

Army Community Services — hoodmwr.com/acs/

Resiliency Campus — 254-553-6196

www.militaryonesource.mil or 800-342-9647

24/7 Chaplain’s office — 254-287-CHAP (2427)

24/7 Domestic Violence and Abuse — 254-CARE (2273)

Information — www.211Texas.org or dial 2-1-1

Please feel free to share with others you care about, too. We want others to know about the opportunities as well!

Lynda Macfarland is the wife of the III Corps and Fort Hood commanding general. She is a proud Army wife, mom and advocate for military families.

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