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Program Preps Families For Soldier's Return

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Sure, it was arts and crafts, but for the kids, it's so much more. Sure, it was arts and crafts, but for the kids, it's so much more.
The program is geared towards helping returning soldiers readjust to civilian life. The program is geared towards helping returning soldiers readjust to civilian life.

By Jeffrey Smith, News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Thousands of Green Country soldiers are defending this country overseas, but here at home, their loved ones are fighting their own battle. A new federal program is teaching family members how to prepare for a soldier's return to civilian life.

It doesn't matter if it's a first deployment or a fifth, when soldiers come back from fighting in war, there's a big adjustment period getting used to regular life.

A Tulsa Reintegration workshop on Saturday brought out more than 200 people and many of them say the program is a lifesaver.

Sure, it was arts and crafts, but for the kids, it's so much more. Kids make posters and the adults listen to lectures. It's all part of the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Workshop.

The program is geared towards helping returning soldiers readjust to civilian life. That can be a challenge, everything from grocery shopping to banking is a new experience.

"When I came home from Afghanistan, my family had been to one of these, and they kind of knew what I had been through. They didn't actually understand, but they knew not to ask certain questions. They know, hey, he's going to want some extra down time to kind of relax. It was just a whole lot of help," said Spc. Jesse Mitchell.

Reagan Henderson is a brand new mommy and a new wife.

"It does make me feel a little bit better that I'm not the only one going through this," said Henderson.

Her husband comes back from Iraq next month. And she's learning from those who've walked in those shoes before her.

"It'll be nice to read sort of about what to expect. I don't know what to expect when my husband comes home for a year in a combat zone. I don't know how that will have affected his mood. How that will affected his thoughts. And maybe they'll have some insight in this book, but if they don't, they'll tell me where I can go to find out about that and that's what I need," said Henderson.

For young and old, it's a way to prepare together.

More Yellow Ribbon events are scheduled to take place across the state through early October. For more information call the Reintegration hotline at 1-866-649-6031.

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