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Show your support to military families

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By Kay Kennedy

Veterans make up 10.4 percent of Kentucky’s population according to the 2008 figures from the U.S. Census Bureau.
We have military members, including active duty, National Guard and Reserve, who are called up and deployed as the state and country need their help.
Deployment may be sudden or expected. When a deployment happens, it leaves a large hole in the heart and in the family’s daily habits, tasks and activities. 
Sometimes even neighbors don’t realize the person is away on duty, but the families must cope with the absence the best way they can, which often puts added stress on children and spouses.
Not all deployments are combat related, but if the person serves in combat, some issues can come up which affect a family’s well-being when they return.
For returning military personnel, nightmares, sensitivity to sudden noises and physical ailments are common. To cope, many military families need ongoing support to help them get back to normal, peaceful living.
Caring neighbors and community groups can make a positive difference in the lives of deployed and returned military members.
Volunteer with Operation Send Christmas which is sending care packages to deployed troops. Military Missions in  Lexington, is collecting donations through November. Their telephone number is 859-221-9477 and the Web site is www.opsend.org.
 Acceptable donations include personal care items, cards, puzzles, books, new magazines, drink mixes, hard candy, postage, Nerf balls, gift wrap and ribbons. Items NOT accepted are razors, bar soap, Halloween candy and anything flammable.
Get involved with Kentucky’s Operation Military Kids grant, which strives to foster understanding of the unique issues facing children of military members. OMK offers trainings such as “Ready, Set, Go” and “Speak Out for Military Kids” to increase awareness of the needs of military families to community members who want to reach out to them. They also have educational resources you can borrow to learn more about working with military families and fun, hands-on activities and games you can use to host a program such as a military family fun day or a military youth lock-in. OMK also has a mobile technology lab containing equipment like laptops, printers and camcorders that you can borrow  to use with programs you are doing with or for military families, such as photo printing on pillowcases to send to a deployed family member or letter writing to thank a military child or service member. You can even become a partner with OMK by participating in one of their regional support networks across Kentucky.
Go to http://www.operationmilitarykids.org/public/statePOCHome.aspx?state=Kent... for more information about these and more programs and resources available through Kentucky’s Operation Military Kids.