TOPEKA, Kan. – The 1st Armored
Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, sponsored a three-day military skills
and resiliency retreat for spouses of deployed Soldiers June 27 to 29 at the
Capitol Plaza Hotel and Convention Center in Topeka, Kansas.
Chap. (Maj.) Michael McDonald,
1st ABCT, 1st Inf. Div., said the retreat was organized to provide spouses with
information that could help them and their families deal with the day-to-day
stress that comes when loved ones are deployed and help them deal with
re-integration when Soldiers return.
During the three-day event,
participants’ resiliency was strengthened by hands-on training, role-playing
and discussions on how to strengthen existing friendships while forming new ones.
“I really enjoyed the
discussions on effective communication with spouses and children and living
with a person with post-traumatic stress disorder,” Remona Crumbey, wife of Maj.
Anthony Crumbey, 1st ABCT public affairs officer, said. “The practical
exercises were awesome, but I think they would be more beneficial if my husband
had been there to participate with me.”
rear-detachment chaplain, Chap. (Capt.) Phillip Raybon, led the Strong Bonds
event for spouses coping with the difficulty of being separated from loved ones
who are on a nine-month rotational deployment to Kuwait in support of Operation
The Strong Bonds program was
created in 1997 with the goal of strengthening the marital bond, giving couples
the tools and information they need for a better relationship, according to the
Strong Bonds website.
Nine spouses and 20
children attended the three-day event that began Friday and ended Sunday.
“We provided childcare for the
spouses so they could attend the all-day workshops and for a few hours in the
evening so they could rejuvenate and absorb all the information that they
learned that day,” Staff Sgt. Gregory Gober, brigade chaplain’s assistant,
Gober said leaders wanted to
stress the importance of good communication in relationships and how to cope with
the uniqueness of being military spouses.
“I feel that attending this
retreat has provided me with some great tools and information that I will use
when my husband returns,” Crumbey said.
Raybon said the event laid
the foundation for creating support groups that will strengthen relationships
between military couples and help their families remain resilient even in times
of separation due to deployment.
“I have formed close
friendships with many of the women that attended the retreat with me, and we
have all started using the techniques that we learned,” Crumbey said.
Similar events are
scheduled for the future.