By Alicia Lacy

Killeen Daily Herald

In an effort to pinpoint ways for parents, spouses and soldiers to cope with deployments, two faculty members from Baylor University's School of Social Work have begun a research project focusing on the three groups.

Dr. James W. Ellor, professor of social work, and Dr. Dennis R. Myers, Dorothy Barfield Kronzer professor in family studies, will host their first focus group in Killeen tonight to hear from people living through deployments.

The idea for the study came after Ellor began working with the local Veterans Affairs office. He saw what was happening with post traumatic stress disorder and talked with faculty witnessing Baylor students married to soldiers deal with the challenges of deployments.

Ellor has experience working with Holocaust survivors and the Medical Reserve Corps in McLennan County, which allowed him to work with individuals who have dealt with crisis and stress. Ellor said much of the PTSD research comes from the Holocaust.

There were two master of social work candidates in the spring semester who are married to soldiers. One was about to deploy and the other had already gone through multiple deployments, Myers stated in a release.

After doing some research, Ellor learned that there was not much information available for parents and grandparents of troops who are so far out of reach from their family members.

Ellor and Myers have been working with three other Baylor faculty members and Lt. Col. Sharon Reese, research coordinator and chief nurse scientist at Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center.

Ellor said the purpose of the study is to learn more about stress and how people cope with it. Ellor said he wants to hear people's stories and focus on pre-deployment and deployment issues.

Since the inception of the study, Ellor said there have been a few dozen participants. Focus group data will be analyzed and given to the Blue Star Mothers organization and Darnall to be used as source of information, he added.

The focus group starts at 7 p.m. today at First Presbyterian Church, 4705 E. Rancier Ave. in Killeen.

Child care is provided and gift cards are available to compensate for time and travel.

For more information or to be a part of the study, contact Ellor at or (254) 710-4439.

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