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Outreach To Survivor Households – FMWRC – US Army – 100811
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Image by familymwr
PHOTO CAPTION: Getting Ready- Redstone Arsenal’s Survivor Outreach Solutions coordinator Emily McFall puts some finishing touches on wall art from Shel Silverstein’s &quotThe Giving Tree.&quot The wall art decorates the children’s area in the new SOS headquarters at Army Neighborhood Service. With her is Sue Paddock, director of ACS, which is the organization within Family members and Morale Welfare and Recreation that is overseeing the SOS plan. A ribbon cutting and open house for the new SOS headquarters will take location in about a month. (Photo by Kari Hawkins, USAG Redstone)

Outreach To Survivor Families

Aug 11, 2010
By Kari Hawkins, USAG Redstone

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. — When it comes to the households of fallen Soldiers, the Army is standing up to a duty to watch more than these survivors of war’s devastation as lengthy as help is required.

That is no different at Redstone Arsenal, where current staff and facility additions will make a distinction in the level of support Army Community Service can provide family members members coping with their loss while hoping for a far better future.

Locally, the ACS plan – known Armywide as Survivor Outreach Solutions or SOS – is headed by an individual whose heart has seasoned its personal loss of a beloved Soldier. The coordinator is Emily McFall, the widow of Employees Sgt. Tom McFall, who died in Iraq in 2007 from wounds sustained from an improvised explosive device detonated during a dismounted patrol.

It is a job McFall cherishes simply because of what it stands for – the Army wrapping its arms about family members members living with their loss and supplying them with the assistance they need to go on with their lives, the chance for her to personally impact constructive alter in the lives of mourning families, and the potential to supply these households with a safe haven to function out their concerns and face their challenges.

&quotWe want to give them a location where they can share their stories,&quot McFall stated of the surviving families. &quotWe want to give them a place exactly where they know they are accepted and they know they will be understood. This is a location where they can relate to other people who know what they are going by way of. This is extremely rewarding to me. I require to put my efforts into something like this that enables me to reach out to other families.&quot

McFall is unique to the Army’s SOS plan due to the fact of her personal encounter with the loss of her Soldier husband. Most of the Army’s SOS coordinators are plan or human resource managers or counselors who haven’t seasoned a direct loss. McFall’s encounter brings a private point of view to Redstone’s SOS plan whilst also relying on her management expertise as a former Soldier to construct the program.

&quotThis is about assisting widows and widowers, and their kids and their extended families locate a group that will help them through all the issues that happen when you lose your Soldier. This is about giving them a place exactly where people aren’t scared to speak to them,&quot McFall stated.

She has experienced that worry. She has seen it in the eyes of other military wives who be concerned about losing their own husbands to war. And, surprisingly, she has noticed that worry in the eyes of some of the new buddies she has created in Hartselle because moving there a handful of years ago.

&quotI am their worst nightmare. I represent a person they could be,&quot McFall mentioned. &quotThere was one lady at my church who was not very nice to me and seemed distant. I finally asked her what the issue was. She told me her husband is a police officer and stated ‘You are my greatest worry.’ So, even in this new place that is not attached to a large Soldier base, I can be someone’s nightmare. It was sort of eye opening.&quot

Survivor Outreach Solutions is a joint effort among the Installation Management Command and its Household and Morale Welfare and Recreation and Army Neighborhood Service, and the Human Resources Command’s Casualty and Mortuary Affairs Operation Center. It is represented at all significant Army installations and at some smaller sized installations. Nationally, it can be reached through the Army OneSource site at (select Family Programs, then Surviving Families). Locally, SOS can be reached by calling 876-5397.

The Redstone SOS plan offers assistance to households in Madison, Morgan, Limestone, Lauderdale, Marshall, Jackson, Cullman, Franklin, Lawrence, DeKalb and Colbert counties, but also reaches into other counties that are closer to Redstone than the sister SOS plan at Fort Rucker.

In late August or early September, ACS will open its SOS headquarters facility, attached to its creating on Redeye Road. It is hoped this facility will turn into a second property to surviving loved ones members who require access to help, information and solutions, who want to belong to survivor support groups and who want possibilities to bring their household with each other with other survivor families.

In a way, McFall’s association as the local SOS coordinator stems from a help group started in 2008 at Bicentennial Chapel. The survivor group – identified as My Soldier, My Fallen Hero – nevertheless comes with each other on Tuesday mornings at ten a.m. to talk about their experiences and to lend support to every other. The group was started by three widows: McFall, Tiffany Small and Jenna Henderson.

&quotWe know there are 22 other widows out there who could want our assistance. We suspect there are even much more in our region,&quot McFall said. &quotWe want to reach out to these widows and their households. We want them to know we are right here when they want our support.&quot

Reaching out to these families is hard. Some don’t want to be discovered. Some never want to talk about their loss. Some do not want to be linked with a survivor group or with the military. The point is not to force these survivors, but to be there when those &quotdon’ts&quot turn into &quotwants&quot and &quothave tos.&quot

&quotEverybody grieves in their own way and in their own time,&quot McFall stated. &quotWe want to make certain they know about us when they do want us.&quot

McFall has observed that inside her personal kids – Austin, now a rising college student Elizabeth, a fifth-grader and Matthew, a 1st-grader.

&quotThey are performing great,&quot McFall mentioned. &quotThis is the busiest summer we’ve ever had. We’ve been going to buddies at other posts. Both Austin and Elizabeth are fairly quiet about their dad. But Matthew talks about him all the time. When he hears a particular song on the radio, generally a nation song, he will say ‘I miss dad’ or ‘That song reminds me of dad.’

&quotThey are pleased. But I can see the hurt in their eyes when other dads are about or when we are with other military families. They want to do factors with their dad – they want to wrestle with him and be with him. We are blessed, although, simply because we know households and Soldiers who do attempt to assist them and be there for them.&quot

McFall talks with her children a lot about their dad. She stays in make contact with with her in-laws. She likes to talk about Tom McFall to any person who wants to hear about him.

&quotI attempt to reinforce the memories with my little ones. I want to preserve him alive,&quot mentioned McFall, who met Tom McFall when they both served in the Army.

&quotIn our society, it is sort of taboo to speak about the deceased. But I really like talking about him. I nonetheless want men and women to know about him and to know who he was, and about the sort of items he did and even the dumb things he did. He was a great particular person and I want others to know about him. That keeps him alive for me. The much more I speak about him, the much better it is for me.&quot

The McFall loved ones also remembers their beloved Soldier in other techniques. The initials mTm – for Thomas Michael McFall – are now tattooed to the inside of McFall’s correct wrist. Her son Austin has also gotten a tattoo – an eagle on the back of his shoulder – to remind him of his dad.

Apart from growing their widow support group, McFall would also like to see SOS offer you assistance groups for siblings and other family members. The SOS headquarters will have a Hall of Remembrance, a play area for youngsters, an office for meetings and assistance counseling, and a comfy living location for hanging out and relaxing, and for group meetings. Social events for surviving households are becoming planned for the subsequent year as the SOS system ramps up, with a ribbon cutting and open residence set for the SOS facility opening, and a family picnic set for late September at the Col. Carroll Hudson Recreation Location. Any individual wanting to donate components and supplies for the SOS headquarters can get in touch with ACS at 876-5397.

The SOS system is sending out letters to surviving households telling them about its services and activities. Letters about SOS are also becoming sent to churches in the 11 county region.

&quotWe are hoping surviving households will join us,&quot McFall mentioned. &quotThey are generally hesitant about that. When we contact them they ask us issues like ‘What do you want from me?’ and ‘Why haven’t you been right here sooner?’ They can be anxious about their association with us. Some go all the way back to 2001 and they are carried out with the grieving, they’ve worked to put it all away and they don’t want to revisit it. So, all we can do is make them conscious of the plan and then hope they will get in touch with us when they need assistance.

&quotOur door is open to these families. Now we’ve got to get the word out so they know about us.&quot

An additional view of the Flatiron Developing
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Image by Ed Yourdon
This photo of the Flatiron Developing (on 23rd Street, at the junction of Fifth Avenue and Broadway) was taken in a snowstorm, with some type of multi-exposure setting on my small pocket camera — which helps clarify all of the strange &quotghost&quot vestiges at the bottom of the frame..

As I mentioned in some other photo of the creating in my Flickr archives (which you can see at… ), you can study a lot more information on the Wikipedia web page for the Flatiron Constructing, but right here are the salient information: when it was first constructed in 1902, it was one of the taller buildings in NYC, and it was one particular of only two skyscrapers north of 14th Street. The name &quotFlatiron&quot derives from the building’s resemblance to a cast-iron garments iron — a device which the younger generation believes to have disappeared along with buggy whips and rotary phones.

The renowned futurist, H.G. Wells, wrote in a 1906 book called The Future in America: A Search Following Realities (which, dear Flickr visitor, I am sure you have read and memorized as portion of your classical education), &quotI found myself agape, admiring a sky-scraper the prow of the Flatiron Creating, to be specific, ploughing up by means of the site visitors of Broadway and Fifth Avenue in the afternoon light.&quot

And Alfred Stieglitz remarked that it &quotappeared to be moving toward [him] like the bow of a monster ocean steamer — a image of a new America still in the generating.&quot

Note: There are two or 3 other versions of this view of the Flatiron Building, scattered about in my Flickr archives this was just one of the exciting-but-not-unique 3-star &quotcandidate&quot images that I snapped although on my late-January photo stroll. But one particular of my loyal Flickr fans decided to &quotfave&quot it, so I’ve made it public…


This set of images is based on a extremely simple notion: walk every single block of Manhattan with a camera, and see what happens. To stay away from missing something, walk both sides of the street.

That is all there is to it …

Of course, if you wanted to be more ambitious, you could also walk the streets of Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and the Bronx. But that’s a lot more than I am willing to commit to at this point, and I’ll leave the remaining boroughs of New York City to other, more adventurous photographers.

Oh, in fact, there’s one particular a lot more tiny detail: leave the photographs alone for a month — unedited, untouched, and unviewed. By the time I really concentrate on the first of these &quotevery-block&quot pictures, I will have taken much more than eight,000 pictures on the nearby streets of the Upper West Side — plus another many thousand in Rome, Coney Island, and the different spots in NYC where I traditionally take images. So I do not count on to be emotionally attached to any of the &quotevery-block&quot photos, and hope that I’ll be capable to make an objective selection of the ones worth hunting at.

As for the criteria that I’ve utilised to choose the tiny subset of each-block images that get uploaded to Flickr: there are three. 1st, I will upload any photo that I believe is &quotgreat,&quot and where I hope the reaction of my Flickr-close friends will be, &quotI have no idea when or where that photo was taken, but it really is genuinely a terrific picture!&quot

A second criterion has to do with place, and the third includes time. I am hoping that I’ll take some pictures that clearly say, &quotThis is New York!&quot to anyone who looks at it. Clearly, specific landscape icons like the Empire State Creating or the Statue of Liberty would satisfy that criterion but I’m hoping that I’ll find other, much more unexpected examples. I hope that I will be in a position to take some shots that will make a &quotlocal&quot viewer say, &quotWell, even if that is not recognizable to an individual from one more component of the country, or another part of the planet, I know that that’s New York!&quot And there may well be some photos where a &quotnon-neighborhood&quot viewer may possibly say, &quotI had no idea that there was anyplace in New York City that was so exciting/stunning/ugly/spectacular.&quot

As for the sense of time: I keep in mind wandering about my neighborhood in 2005, photographing different shops, stores, restaurants, and company establishments — and then casually looking at the images about 5 years later, and being stunned by how considerably had changed. Little by small, retailer by retailer, day by day, factors alter … and when you have been about as lengthy as I have, it’s even far more amazing to go back and look at the images you took thirty or forty years ago, and ask oneself, &quotWas it truly like that back then? Seriously, did folks truly put on bell-bottom jeans?&quot

So, with the expectation that I will be looking at these each-block photos 5 or ten years from now (and perhaps you will be, too), I am going to be doing my greatest to capture scenes that convey the sense that they have been taken in the year 2013 … or at least sometime in the decade of the 2010’s (I have no thought what we’re calling this decade yet). Or maybe they will just say to us, &quotThis is what it was like a dozen years following 9-11&quot.

Movie posters are a trivial example of such a time-certain image I’ve currently taken a bunch, and I do not know if I will ultimately make a decision that they are worth uploading. Women’s style/styles are an additional obvious instance of a time-specific phenomenon and even even though I’m undoubtedly not a fashion specialist, I suspected that I will be able to appear at some images ten years from now and mutter to myself, &quotDid we truly put on shirts like that? Did females really wear those weird skirts that are quick in the front, and extended in the back? Did every person in New York have a tattoo?&quot

An additional instance: I’m fascinated by the interactions that individuals have with their cellphones out on the street. It appears that every person has 1, which definitely wasn’t true a decade ago and it seems that every person walks down the street with their eyes and their whole conscious attention riveted on this little box-like gadget, utterly oblivious about anything else that may well be going on (amongst other factors, that tends to make it quite straightforward for me to photograph them without their even noticing, particularly if they’ve also got earphones so they can listen to music or carry on a telephone conversation). But I can not support asking yourself whether this sort of social behavior will look bizarre a decade from now … particularly if our cellphones have turn into so miniaturized that they’re incorporated into the glasses we wear, or implanted directly into our eyeballs.

Oh, one last issue: I’ve developed a customized Google Map to show the precise details of each day’s photo-stroll. I will be updating it each day, and the most current part of my every single-block journey will be marked in red, to differentiate it from all of the older segments of the journey, which will be shown in blue. You can see the map, and peek at it each and every day to see where I’ve been, by clicking on this link

URL hyperlink to Ed’s each and every-block progress by means of Manhattan

If you have any suggestions about locations that I ought to certainly visit to get some excellent photographs, or if you’d like me to photograph you in your little corner of New York City, please let me know. You can send me a Flickr-mail message, or you can e-mail me straight at ed-at-yourdon-dot-com

Stay tuned as the photo-stroll continues, block by block …