Faith-Based Groups – Vignette

Steve’s Story

After Steve Robinson completed a 6-year enlistment in the Air Force, his family returned to their home state of New Hampshire, enrolled their kids in school, and joined a local church. Steve continued his military service in the Air National Guard. After a year, Steve left on a 3-month deployment as part of a refueling crew. Shortly after, the family’s youngest child became ill and Mrs. Robinson missed work to care for him. The older child missed his father and acted out in school. Home maintenance, bills, and other demands kept piling up, and the family was struggling.

Mrs. Robinson was exhausted, lonely, and depressed. She started withdrawing from the community. It was all she could do to get through the day. The family stopped going to church and did not participate in neighborhood activities. Mrs. Robinson had weathered many deployments when Steve was in the Air Force, but the family had lived on base, where there was a lot of camaraderie and support among families who were in it together. In their new community, many neighbors didn’t know Steve served in the Air Guard and that he had just left for a few months. This included their church community. When they first joined the congregation, they never mentioned that Steve served in the Air National Guard, so the leaders and members of the church community did not immediately notice when the Robinsons stopped appearing at services.  Then Mrs. Robinson ran into another member of the church at the supermarket and mentioned that Steve was deployed and things were pretty hectic at home.

The church member let the church leadership know and a group of people from the church came together to support the family. They offered babysitting services, helped with yard work, and offered camaraderie and support to Mrs. Robinson so she didn’t feel like she was “going it alone” with her husband away. This made all the difference, bringing the Robinsons back into the fold and surrounding them with people who cared. Based on this experience, the church leadership decided to always ask new members if they serve in the military so they can be clued in to the family’s challenges and, as a congregation, provide fellowship and support.

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Select your profession to see how:

By asking “Have you or a family member ever served in the military?” senior services professionals can:

  1. Help older veterans feel understood and respected for their military service
  2. Make effective referrals to Veteran-specific programs and resources
  3. Help military widows access survivor benefits
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By asking “Have you or a family member ever served in the military?” children’s services professionals can:

  1. Help a student thrive when a parent is deployed
  2. Support families facing deployment and reintegration
  3. Improve peer sensitivity to military children
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By asking “Have you or a family member ever served in the military?” employment and vocational services professionals can:

  1. Identify a warrior’s transferable skills
  2. Connect Veterans to military-friendly employers
  3. Help a returning Service Member access veteran job training programs
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By asking “Have you or a family member ever served in the military?” faith-based professionals can:

  1. Identify families in need of extra help during deployment
  2. Motivate communities to come together on behalf of those who serve
  3. Connect military families to the supports and services they need
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By asking “Have you or a family member ever served in the military?” healthcare and medical professionals can:

  1. Build critical rapport with a reluctant patient
  2. Understand the relationship between military experiences and medical symptoms
  3. Provide effective referrals and resources
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By asking “Have you or a family member ever served in the military?” higher education professionals can:

  1. Help a warrior acclimate to a civilian learning environment
  2. Improve peer sensitivity to veteran classmates
  3. Effectively accommodate service-connected disabilities
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By asking “Have you or a family member ever served in the military?” housing services professionals can:

  1. Identify families that qualify for Veteran-specific housing programs
  2. Address service-related barriers to stable housing
  3. Provide effective referrals and resources
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By asking “Have you or a family member ever served in the military?” law enforcement professionals can:

  1. Keep veterans and their families safe
  2. Build trust and rapport in difficult situations
  3. Partner with providers who help Veterans in crisis
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By asking “Have you or a family member ever served in the military?” legal services professionals can:

  1. Support justice-involved veterans
  2. Identify legal challenges related to military service
  3. Link to effective resources
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By asking “Have you or a family member ever served in the military?” mental health professionals can:

  1. Build critical rapport with a reluctant client
  2. Understand the impact of military stressors on mental health and substance use
  3. Help a family understand the emotional effects of deployment on the whole family
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By asking “Have you or a family member ever served in the military?” social services professionals can:

  1. Engage reluctant Veteran clients
  2. Meet a military family’s unique needs
  3. Coordinate services between veteran and civilian providers
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By asking “Have you or a family member ever served in the military?” women’s services professionals can:

  1. Partner with veteran service providers in crisis situations
  2. Identify deployment-related triggers and risk factors
  3. Identify individuals affected by Military Sexual Trauma (MST)
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