Fort Riley, Kansas



CARE groups offer support needed by families of deceased

By Kalene Lozick | 1ST INF. DIV. POST | October 06, 2017

     Fort Riley’s Army Com­munity Service provides Ca­sualty Response Teams to units that want to assist fami­lies when a Soldier or family member dies.

      A CARE Team provides emotional support and optional assistance to family members of injured and fallen Soldiers, said Sonya Brown, ACS Outreach Program coordinator.

      Members of a CARE Team are volunteers who are trained to provide short-term sup­port, about 48 to 72 hours, to an affected family until ad­ditional family members or friends arrive to take over and assist them.

     “The ideal part about the CARE Team is to have individuals trained before there is an incident,” Brown said. “A CARE Team is primarily activated when a Soldier is deceased.”

     When Jen Betty stepped in as the senior spouse adviser for 5th Squadron, 4th Calvary Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team. 1st Infantry Division, she found herself a part of an activated CARE Team.

     In a letter written by Betty, she said the CARE Team training was successful during a real-life scenario when a Soldier from 5th Sqdn., 4th Cav. Regt., 2nd ABCT, 1st Inf. Div. died.

     “Sunday evening, Feb. 11, 2017, our new CARE Team leader and I assisted the Troop Command Team at their re­call formation as the troop commander personally noti­fied the troop of the loss,” Betty said. “I vividly remem­ber standing in my husband’s office with the realization of knowing we had no way to adequately prepare for what laid ahead of us.”

     Betty added the knowledge from the capstone event of CARE Team training, which was mock activation training, made success possible. The capstone training simulated a real-world situation the team could be called in to assist a family or individual.

     “Thanks to the capstone event and all we have learned, researched and prepared since, (the CARE Team was) as ready as (they) could possibly be,” she said.

     When activated, a CARE Team contacts family mem­bers on behalf of the survi­vors, assists in child care, meal support, house sitting and more. The teams are available only as an option to provide support. Teams are not a man­datory tool to families, Brown said.

     “CARE Teams are created to give structure and support from the community in a more organized way,” Brown said.

     The letter from Betty is a way to know and gain feed­back on the success of the CARE Team.

     “Most of the time we don’t receive any feedback,” Brown said.

     Betty said her team did experience some hiccups along the way, but overall with the help of the training, they knew how to properly debrief and make the needed adjustments.

     “The things we did right were most definitely from what we learned from the cap­stone event,” Betty said. “The capstone event was set to be the culmination of our CARE Team training. It was, and I can now say from personal experience, this training event also set up our unit to succeed in a real-world scenario.”

     For more information about CARE Teams or to set up a capstone training event, call ACS at 785-239-9435 or email


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