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‘Devil’ brigade sponsors spouse resiliency skills weekend

By Staff Sgt. Bernhard Lashleyleidner | 1ST ABCT PUBLIC AFFAIRS | August 04, 2014

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.”

The brigade’s 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 Spartan Shield.

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, said.

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. 

Tag Family   Tag resiliency