Heather Stockdale, whose husband will deploy to Afghanistan next month with the 81st Civil Affairs Battalion, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, knows she’s not alone in caring for their 2-month-old daughter.

“There’s a lot of times when your husband’s gone and the kids are going crazy and you just want to sit down and cry and you think, ‘No one understands me,’” Stockdale said Thursday during an Operation Baby Shower event at the Killeen Arts and Activities Center. “This is a room full of women who know exactly what’s going on.”

The St. Louis, Mo.,-based nonprofit came to Fort Hood for the second time to hold its 26th shower for women who recently gave birth or will have a baby during their husband’s deployment. The group invited about 40 wives of soldiers in either the 62nd Signal Battalion or the 81st Civil Affairs Battalion.

Amy Belle Isle, chief event planner for Operation Baby Shower, said the organization gets many requests from installations around the country and hosts about eight to 10 showers annually.

“There’s such a huge need here at Fort Hood with such a large community,” she said. “We like to get to Fort Hood as often as we can.”

Each mother received a “shower in a box,” which are typically valued between $500 and $700 worth of items such as bottles, bibs, books, toys, blankets, diaper bags and diapers.

Tamma Ruth, wife of Col. Leo J. Ruth, commander for the 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, reached out to Operation Baby Shower to host the event.

“Families are sometimes forgotten,” said Ruth, who has been a military spouse for 23 years. “The soldier deploys and a lot of attention is on the soldier when they’re deploying and come home and the spouse does everything while they’re gone.”

Ruth said although military wives don’t look for appreciation, it means the world to them when they’re recognized, which is why she wanted to host the event.

“It’s the satisfaction of knowing that I’m able to help a military spouse,” she said.

The support and camaraderie Stockdale receives from other Army wives is overwhelming.

“It’s amazing and a blessing,” she said.

For more information about Operation Baby Shower or to donate, go to www.operationshower.org.

Contact Sarah Rafique at srafique@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7549. Follow her on Twitter at KDHreporter.

I'm the education reporter at the Killeen Daily Herald. Follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SarahRafique

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