National Guard Family Academies Help Servicemembers' Families

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

The Illinois National Guard has made it a priority to help servicemembers when they return from a mobilization or deployment. While the Illinois National Guard continues to reach out to returning veterans with the "Tying the Yellow Ribbon" campaign, the program also focuses on families of troops who are deployed.

The Illinois Army National Guard will conduct four Reintegration Family Academies in February and March.

Although the free academy is open to any family that has a deployed servicemember in any branch of the military, the focus of these events is to reach out to families of Illinois National Guard members that have deployed or who are currently deployed. Approximately 1,000 members of the Illinois National Guard are deployed to Afghanistan, Iraq and Egypt.

The intent of the academy is to ensure families receive information and know the resources available to them while their Soldier is deployed.

"Reintegration is not just a program for Soldiers after a deployment. It's something his or her entire family must also undergo as everyone readjusts to changes that have happened during the course of the Soldier's deployment," said 2nd Lt. Justin Anweiler of Lincoln, reintegration program coordinator. "This is one way the Illinois National Guard is trying to help families of our deployed men and women who are sometimes fighting their own battles at home while their servicemember is fighting a war overseas."

Representatives from several different agencies will be available for family members. Some agencies attending include TRICARE (medical and dental insurance), Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs, Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, Internal Revenue Service and Veteran's Health Administration. There will also be several workshops for families to attend providing guidance and information on issues like marriage after deployment, finances, challenges troops face reuniting with their children and using college education benefits. Counselors will also be available for private consultations.

Illinois National Guard Family Academies

Date Location Time

February 5 Blackhawk Community College; 6600 34th Ave., Moline 10 a.m.- 4 p.m.

February 27 Kaskaskia College; 2310 W. Fillmore, Vandalia 10 a.m.- 4 p.m.

March 12 Blackhawk Community College; 26230 Black Hawk Road, Galva 10 a.m.- 4 p.m.

March 13 Devry University; 18624 West Creek Drive, Tinley Park 10 a.m.- 4 p.m.

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