Service Member Benefits Highlighted at "Yellow Ribbon" Seminar

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Rich Murphy
  • 185th PA
The 185th Air Refueling Wing (ARW) Family Readiness Program hosted the "Yellow Ribbon Pre/Post Deployment Seminar" for several military members and their families at the Stoney Creek Inn in Sioux City, Iowa.

The seminar, organized by 185th ARW Family Programs Coordinator Lori Risdal, is part of a government appropriations bill that pushes to ensure all veterans going on deployments or returning from deployments understand the various benefits and services available to them and their family members.

"We want to make sure that our service men and women know what resources they have available to them. This event pulls together Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs (VA) programs," said Risdal.

Some of the programs that were discussed at the seminar included TRICARE, the G.I. Bill program, American Red Cross, Veterans Affairs, and Military OneSource. Representatives from these programs provided short briefings about the services provided and set up booths where attendees could seek further information.

The seminar also included briefings on behavioral health, stress management, and financial preparedness.

Counselors from the Sioux City Vet Center, a federal VA program that provides confidential and private counseling and support for combat veterans, also attended the seminar.

Michele Kuhlmann, one of the Vet Center counselors, said, "We have some excellent services that we provide many of the veterans returning from deployments. Unfortunately, many military members are unaware of the services they have earned."

In addition to the benefits available to service members, the seminar also focused on military family concerns. Risdal said, "It is really the family that has to deal with many of the stresses of the deployment, so we really encouraged family members to attend."

David Brown, a Military and Family Life Consultant, also attended the seminar to discuss several resources family members have access to. He said, "We try to offer resources that help family members through the stresses that come with deployments."

One of these resources that Brown promoted was Military OneSource (MOS). MOS provides up to 12 free counseling sessions, DVDs, books, and educational materials to help family member through the deployment.

Tech. Sgt. Greg Patten, a member of the 185th ARW Security Forces, was one of the servicemen in attendance. "This [seminar] is really helpful. We learned about the new G.I. Bill and other things I did not know we had available to us."

Patten is preparing for his fifth deployment with the 185th ARW Security forces. "Even though I have done this before and I already know some of this stuff, it is nice to learn about the benefits."

The Yellow Ribbon Pre/Post Deployment Seminar will be offered four times a year to serve the many men and women who continue to serve in deployments around the globe. For more information about this seminar or what services or benefits are available, contact Lori Risdal at or contact the Family Readiness program at (712) 233-0817.

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